Summer can be a tough season in retail. Your customers are out enjoying the sun, enjoying some travelling, enjoying summer activities with their families and friends.
Don’t panic! All is not lost.
Craftily using displays, events, community involvement, and extra customer care are a few things you can do to promote your business and boost those summer sales.
Summer is a great time to start clearing out old merchandise; start clearing out winter & spring merchandise before fall arrivals, which usually begin arriving in August, to stimulate otherwise slow July revenues. Be sure to group similar items or items within the same promotion and sign them properly so customers feel compelled to buy!
Make Some Phone Calls
Make a quick call to keep your best (and most profitable) customers up-to-date on what’s happening in-store. Keeping the call friendly, invite your trusted customers to your events, tell them about your sale, or update them on future arrivals. Let your customers know they are important to you. Enjoy the chat!
Keep Customers (and pets) Refreshed
Who wouldn’t enjoy a cool, refreshing beverage on a hot summer shopping day? Offer your customers a glass of cold water – perhaps infused with lemon, lime, or cucumber. Don’t forget a bowl of water for visiting pets! Comfortable, happy shoppers are more likely to stick around longer and spend a few extra dollars.
Team Up With Others
There’s a good chance others in your area are also feeling a lull in business. Chat them up and see what you can accomplish together! You could all chip in to take out an ad or get together for a large community event. Together, you can come up with ideas to take advantage of what might already be happening in the community, too. Business is easier when you’re working as a team.
Get Involved in the Community
What events might be taking place nearby this summer? Sponsor charity or non-profit events happening in your community that might appeal to your target market. Attend these same events armed with business cards or brochures for some good old-fashioned networking!
Although, summer time can be tough for any entrepreneur, don’t forget the resources at your fingertips and to make use of the extra time that a lull in business can provide. Use the time for getting ahead on blog posts (scheduling them to post according to your editorial schedule), tweaking your website, doing guest article posts, or adding to your social media reach. The sky is the limit!
Looking for more info, articles, and interaction? Follow us on facebook, twitter, and Pinterest, too! Not enough? Get in touch with Flourish today to ensure your store is the most engaging it can be.
Well retail friends... Its that time again!
In order to compete with our large corporate counterparts the displays should have or should be going up! So, better late than never, here are a few Flourish photos to get those creative juices flowing!
Visual merchandising isn't just about selling more. It’s about inspiring the customer, giving them ideas, making them feel good, and making their lives easier.
Proper visual merchandising really is done for the customer, with the customer in mind and that’s the only way it can be truly effective.
We create displays in order to give customers a whole look, show them trends, and to create a feeling around the merchandise. We’re making their time shopping so much easier by pulling everything together for them, so be sure to layer the look right up to show options and make sure the merchandise is nearby and easy to pick up.
We’re inspiring customers to make their home an oasis, wardrobe beautiful, and gifts incredible. Placing ad-on items nearby helps them to round out their purchase and pull together the perfect package.
Keep the customer in mind when you’re merchandising your store. Remember how you’re helping them every time you set up a new display and you will be successful. After all, they’re why you’re doing what you’re doing, right?
It’s time to start formulating a plan to execute your holiday visual merchandising! Don’t forget to book your helpers to make sure they’ll all be there.
Want some visual merchandising help in your store? Contact us today!
When communicating to your customers through signage, try to ensure that the wording is positive rather than negative. Focus on the behaviour you want.
For example; instead of “Do not touch” you could have a sign that says “Please ask for assistance” or an even more fun “For your safety, we are happy to help you investigate this item further.”
Nobody likes being told what they can and can’t do and I can’t think of anyone that likes hearing the word NO. So, you really should avoid using it with your customers.
Want more? Click here to sign up and have the convenience of receiving the tip in your inbox as well as even more to learn about each tip! This week's email will include the "fun wording" version of this sign.
Looking for more info, articles, and interaction? Follow us on facebook, twitter, and Pinterest, too!
Need help in your store? Contact us today!
Pay attention to how customers shop for certain items. Do they request items by colour, end use, theme, or purpose? Merchandise those items accordingly.
For example, most customers would search for a greeting card first based on purpose (such as birthday, anniversary, wedding, etc.) and all other types of merchandising would be secondary. If you merchandise greeting cards by purpose, you may notice a bump in sales.
Candles, however, are often purchased by colour before anything else. By merchandising your candles in colour groups, you may see an uplift in sales.
Observe how your customers request items; "Do you have any birthday cards?" or "What do you have in the way of red candles?" Watch how they peruse and browse. The idea is to make their shopping experience as easy and barrier free as possible; your help should be a bonus, not a requirement.
Avoid scattering key items around the store as they can lose their impact and clutter the space. Grouping merchandise makes it stronger.
I know, it can be so tempting... and sometimes you worry that if you don't have something in a few places, your customers will miss it! The truth is if you have one here, one over there, one in the back of the store, and one at the front, customers are even more likely to miss it.
Creating a strong presentation with emphasis on key items ensures that they will have impact and be visible to customers as they are passing by.
I hear a lot of people say that it works in their store; that their customers are different. If that's you, just try grouping a key item and making it the focal point of a display for a few weeks. You may find that it works even better for you.
Well, here at Flourish, we've been busy bringing spring to Edmonton (indoors, not out, we're not miracle workers). Since we've been so busy, we've let the tip of the week slide, so this week you get two tips!
When setting up a trade show or craft booth, a little planning can go a long way. Take the time to lay it out first, before set up day.
You don't need to be a pro at drafting in order to create a quick and easy trade show booth floor plan. You can use simple graph paper or a table with squares in excel in order to create a simplified floor plan.
Aisles should always have enough room to allow people to pass comfortably. The last thing you want is for a customer to feel crowded or claustrophobic.
Try to ensure at least three feet of space in aisle areas. Customers need room for strollers, wheelchairs, walkers, bags, packages, and to pass one another! If you can spare even more than three feet, go for it! If you absolutely must, two and half feet is the absolute bare minimum.
What happens if you don't follow this rule? Well, you'll not only see frustrated and even angry customers, but also likely lose sales.
Need help planning a layout or opening up your aisles? Get in touch with us today!
Take all the posters, stickers, and homemade signage off of your windows so that customers can see into the store or your displays.
Sometimes it might seem like those signs and stickers bring people in the door, but are they properly representing your brand? Do they contribute to the look and feel of your facade? They can lower a customer's percieved value of your store and the product you sell, so make sure that they're up for a reason if you're going to keep them there!
If you really want to keep your signs and stickers up, consider designating one specific area where they're allowed to go and keeping them to that area. Then, be sure to remove them when they're old or tattered!
Have you got questions for Melissa? Check us out on facebook, twitter, Pinterest, or contact us here.
An awesome colleague cohort, and client of mine recently emailed me this great question and I just had to share it with all of you!
I, myself, haven’t read a whole lot of research. In fact, I don’t think there’s a whole lot out there. But I do think that the study you read is among the most accurate.
If you choose music that your target market or core customer likes the best, they will linger longer. It’s also important to have music that doesn’t drive you or your staff members crazy! If you’re on edge, your customers will sense it.
The truth is a happy customer and a customer who is in tune with the environment buys more, so don’t worry about what the malls are doing because your customers don’t shop there all that much. The reason we see malls choosing the music they do is that they’re generally trying use top 40 type music to appeal to the masses. There are also often loads of stores in the malls that appeal to teens and young adults and that is the music that they like best.
If you really want to focus on choosing music that your customers like best; you could try creating a survey monkey survey (or use a similar software or system) and invite them to complete it or complete it with them at the till! It could be fun and customers get to feel involved. Also, I’m sure most branding gurus would say that the music you choose needs to fit with your brand. If your brand isn’t a super young, high octane brand... I wouldn’t worry about pushing the high speed music.
Last, but not least, we come to holiday music... I know it's not everyone's favourite, but it’s an absolute must. That’s where most of the retail studies pertaining to music have been done and it’s proven to drive sales up quite a bit! Usually, the chain stores start weaving in the odd quiet holiday song about November first, then after Remembrance day, you’ll hear it every 2nd or 3rd song (you may have to make custom CD’s or playlists for your store). As of December first, it should be all Holiday, all the time! You will get the odd customer that may complain about it, but even they will be more likely to pick up a couple of Christmas gifts (should that be applicable) because it’ll be top of mind.
Here are some links to research I've found!
Association for Consumer Reasearch - Using Store Music for Retail Zoning
Michael Morrison, Monash University - The Power of Music and its Influence
Live Science - 7 Holiday Marketing Tricks Retailers Use
And here's a little bit on the Shoppers Drug Mart Holiday music "controversy"
Canadian Retailer Puts Christmas Music on Pause
Shoppers Drug Mart Hits Mute on Christmas Music
I gladly welcome all of your questions and comments! If you have a question that you would like answered in the blog or would like to know more about our services, leave a comment or contact us here.
A little while ago, I was flattered to be invited as a panelist to the Capital Ideas event (for the Edmonton Journal) called "How Do I Design a Great Customer Experience?" along with Kirsten Proulx and Jason Suriano! It was an awesome experience and so much fun, so I wanted to share some of the key takeaways with you, my readers!
What's the most important thing you've learned about designing a customer experience?
Examples of a great customer experience
Dealing with "problematic customers"
Applying lessons from past to present
How do you motivate your sales staff?
The "treasure hunt" method of shopping
Measuring the effectiveness of your customer experience tactics
The takeaway - What others had to say
Want to see more? Have a look at some event photos on the Capital Ideas flickr page! You can also read all of the tweets associated with #CapitalIdeas on the Storify page! Would you like to hear more from Capital ideas and the panelists on Twitter? Follow @CapitalIdeasYEG @FlourishDesignM @Henrys_PFT and @jasonsuriano by clicking on their links!
Melissa Mainville is the owner and operator of Flourish Design & Merchandising. She has a passion for retail and tons of experience in the industry. Learn more here.