In this highly competitive, rapidly changing retail climate, your store has to stand out from the crowd. And our onsite MAGIC experts are here to help. Here are 5 tips from retail expert Dan Jablons, owner of Retail Smart Guys, a retail consulting firm (who just celebrated his 40th year in retail!) on how to find success in the here and now.
1. Invest in modern marketing. Overall, you have to market to your customers where they are, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or email marketing which is still the #1 driver of sales at retail. So how do you build your list? First, make sure to add value with your campaigns so consider giving your email list a more exciting title. “No one wants to be on an email list, but everyone wants to be on a VIP list,” says Jablons. Another important tip: when building your list in-store, don’t ask your customers if they want to be on your email list, just ask for their email. Works like a charm.
2. Stop worrying about Amazon. So many retailers are terrified of the Amazon effect, but the fact is Amazon’s share of the marketplace is 8% and the fashion portion of that is even smaller. Curious about the most surefire way to compete with a mass e-tailer? Before you buy, ask your brands who they sell to, and don’t pick up brands with an Amazon or e-commerce presence.
3. Know your cool factor. As an independent retailer you are responsible for buying and selling product that is unique and exciting. That’s why people are shopping in your store. Once brands hit the department store their it-factor is gone. Stay fresh and shop for brands that make your store unlike the others.
4. Have an open to buy plan. It may sound like the most traditional, obvious piece of advice but the truth is it still holds up. A cash-flow plan is non-negotiable. While you might be intimidated by this step, think about how intimidated you’ll be when you have excess inventory and a shortage of cash. So before you come to market know what you’re going to buy, for what season, and what your margins are because guessing is a loser’s game.
5. Get rid of brands that aren’t selling profitably. As Jablons says, “Inventory is neither wine or cheese. It does not get better with age.” You must stay nimble and constantly assess what is working for your store—and what’s not.