Sometimes in retail, we think we can do it all, but we often need to rely on our team members to help us out with all sorts of tasks, including tidying the store and basic visual merchandising.
By making a basic standards outline, each team member will be easily guided for the daily tidying up and maintaining of those standards. This basic guide will also help when new stock arrives and for restocking displays when they have sold down.
Sometimes, what’s obvious to us isn't obvious to others. A merchandising guide allows you to return from vacation or other absence without walking into a disaster. Also, with a standards guide, team members won’t waste time undoing and redoing each other’s work.
Your merchandising standards guide can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Need help making one? Contact Flourish Today! Follow us on facebook, twitter, and Pinterest, too!
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Do you have inventory that is over a year old? It could actually be costing you money. It does so by taking up space that profitable product could be using and by requiring regular movement.
Sometimes, as a shop owner, it can be difficult to let go of merchandise because we know how much it has cost and how much work we have put into selling it already. Unfortunately, the time comes where that merchandise starts costing us money. The general rule of thumb is that merchandise shouldn't hang around your store for more than a year, so you need to consider clearing out aged inventory to make room for newer, more profitable items.
How is it costing us money?
Aged inventory takes up space and ties up inventory dollars that could otherwise be spent on new, more profitable merchandise. It can also add clutter to the store or space, inhibiting sales of new product. Once you consider that, consider also how many times you've paid someone to move that product or moved it yourself. Not only is their time worth money, but so is yours! What could you have been doing to make the store money instead of moving aged merchandise?
Okay, that's great, but what are some solutions to this problem?
Remix, repackage, reintroduce, or repurpose items before having a clearance sale. Need to know more? Sign up to receive the Flourishing Retailers Tip, sent directly to your inbox, and receive answers plus a special bonus tip this week! All you have to do to sign up is click here!
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.
When purchasing for your store, make sure you have a plan. This could include a financial plan, merchandising plan, theme plan and so-on.
Another thing to think about before choosing your product is the physical space in your store. What merchandising are you planning for the next few months? Are there any specific stories or themes? What holidays and events are coming up? What exciting things are on your marketing calendar?
Good luck and happy selling... and buying!
Have you got questions for Melissa? Check us out on facebook, twitter, Pinterest, or contact us here.
Last night, while watching the Grammys, I was thinking about how music inspires us, lifts us up while we're down, and comforts us in times of need. That's when I realized I should do this blog post that I've been considering for a long time!
This is just part one, I'm sure I will think of many more as time goes on. In the meantime, here are 5 songs I consider to be very inspiring to us business starters! Plus, one bonus! Be sure to scroll all the way to the end, I've saved the best for last.
5. Journey - Don't Stop Believing
This one's a classic and you'll hear it lots! Sorry, no official video to be found.
4. Bon Jovi - It's My Life
Okay, I realize I look like a total geek right now, but this one really gets ya pumped up!
3. Alicia Keys - Girl on Fire
This one's for all the great, strong women entrepreneurs out there.
2. Marty Casey & the Lovehammers - Casualty
This is a great pick-me-up song. I love it. Sorry, couldn't find an official video.
Last, but not least...
1. Incubus - Drive
This is one of my all-time favourites. This song always keeps me going and picks me up when I need it! Enjoy!
Now, here's a bonus one! It gets a little personal, so it didn't quite make my business cut, but it's definitely a good one and Fun. was recognized quite a bit at the Grammys last night.
Fun. - Carry On
I hope you enjoy and I'd love to see some of your favourites in the comments section!
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!
I was fortunate enough to attend the WiRN (Women in Retailing Network) breakfast lecture yesterday morning with speaker Gemma Giovanazzo. The topic was the customer experience and how do we inspire our staff to deliver the best in customer service every time?
Gemma is the customer experience manager for Ford of Canada and spoke with lots of experience on how big business develops and ensures the customer experience.
After the lecture was over, I and the two lovely women at my table discussed how employee engagement can translate to small business. In my experience as a store manager, here is what I can share on employee engagement.
There are lots of big expensive steps to employee engagement and lots of large companies invest millions of dollars into ensuring it happens. That’s not always necessary. As a store owner and manager, follow these six steps and the result will likely be happy employees who treat the customers as beautifully as you treat them.
Big thanks for Kendall and Kristi for their great company and conversation yesterday!
My clients often ask me "why should I choose a specific target market?"
Imagine trying to hit a target with an arrow... If you shoot a bunch of arrows up in the air and hope you hit something, you're far less likely to hit the right target than if you take aim directly at the target you desire and fire away!
Getting your message to the people that will buy your product works the same way. If you hope to get the message out to all different people of all different age groups, with all sorts of different experiences, you're far less likely to get noticed by anyone than if you identify your target market and ensure you create a message that speaks to them directly.
If your store is already established, it pays to take a look at your most profitable customers and identify who they are. Who spends the most money in your store? Who buys at the highest margin? Do your customers live nearby or are they willing to travel to get to your store? How old are they? What inspires them to buy? What life stage are they at?
If you're a new retailer, just establishing your store, this is where it pays to do some research. Check out your city's website for census information, visit your local business link for help researching, and see who shops with your competitors to help you establish your target market.
Once you've established your target market, you can create advertising that will appeal to them, advertise in the mediums they use, and creat a store environment that will make them feel welcome. There are all sorts of things you can do to draw the right customer to you once you've established your target market!
If you need help establishing a target market or creating a store environment that will appeal to them, call us today!
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.