There has been a lot of uncertainty and confusion about what retailers can do right now to deal with everything going on in politics, with the economy and the world in general. Consumer habits have changed for sure.
Recently I delivered my annual State of Retail in 2022 at our RETAILMavens Mastermind Retreat, sharing what you need to know about retail in 2022, so you’ll know exactly what to do differently, what will never change and what matters more than ever.
Something that never changes in retail, is that better service equals better sales – Every, single time.
So in these changing times, what’s the best service I can provide in order to get the best sales?
Great question. You need the 5 E’s of Retail Success, this is what will work right now in retail.
Hitting the Perfect Retail Note in 2022
I love music and I love giving you an easy way to remember this. So let’s think of this as the different instruments of a band, they all have to work well together in order to get the best sound.
Providing an experience in your store is like the lead guitar in the band. The lead guitar brings experience to the song. It dictates the mood, and a song without a lead guitar is just missing something extra. It won’t be very good, right?
People walking through your door, or going to your website, have to experience a wonderful, different thing than they get anywhere else. Something different from the big box stores, something different from shopping on Amazon.
So what can you do to make your customer experience better? Embrace this, embrace providing experiences in your store.
What can you do to acknowledge that your customers are truly the rock stars and make sure they are treated as such?
What kind of events can you have that they’d love to come to? What special things can you do that are unique to you? Because what I’ve seen with my clients is with better experience, comes an improved perception of service, which then leads to better sales.
Take Green Monkey, a bar and gift shop in Raleigh, North Carolina. During the holiday season, they rented out a trolley and took their raving fans on a tour of the holiday lights in the area of their store. They called it the Holly Jolly Trolley and it sold out twice!
From now on, I want you to remember that the experience is the cake, and the sale is the icing.
So define the experience and be fierce about fulfilling it every time.
To be excellent you have to be consistent. In our band, this is our bass guitar. It’s what drives the whole song. It keeps the beat, it’s the backbone. Bass players have to know when to play and when not to play.
To have excellence in marketing and merchandising means that you have to have consistency. You have to provide a consistent experience online and in store.
Excellence in marketing and merchandising means that if you feature it on social media, you also highlight it in store. That you are making sure that it’s what your customer sees when they walk in your store to make the connection with what they saw and loved online.
You also have to be consistent with your connections. That’s what marketing is – connection. So make sure that you are consistent with your posts and emails, and that you do them at a regular time, that you’re not skipping a beat with it.
Inconsistency in this area leads to feast or famine marketing. Just like that bass player, you have to have that solid, steady beat in the background, keeping the traffic going and the sales coming.
Just like the lead singer delivering that raw emotion in a song, you too need to make an emotional connection with your customer.
You have to touch your raving fans’ emotions with everything you do. With your messaging, your manifesto, your merchandising and during your team meetings.
You are here to change the world.
Share your mission, tell your raving fans why you do what you do, and include this information everywhere – because people will connect with it.
My client String Theory, a yarn store in Glen Elm, Illinois, had a mission of showing her raving fans how they can change the world with one dollar at a time.
This flows through everything she does in her store: The vendors she buys from, the local businesses she supports, her community involvement.
Recently a competitor opened up a big, monstrous store nearby. Understandably, they were a bit worried about how this would impact their sales. But not only has it NOT impacted their sales in a negative way, she actually got a text from a customer saying that even though she is closer to the new store – She will keep shopping at String Theory because she values their mission and wants to be their partner in changing the world.
So keep singing your emotion.
Like the keyboard in our band, which can be everywhere and everything in the song – You need to be everywhere your customers are.
They are on most major platforms, so you have to be too. They want to see you in their emails, on Facebook, on Instagram and in stories. They want to see you in reels and on TikTok (which is having an amazing impact on social media).
Don’t let this overwhelm you, just start. Make a plan and start showing up where your raving fans are.
The 5th E is explosive, just like the drums. Retail is more explosive than I’ve ever seen it. There is more opportunity for growth now than ever – and I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. You have so many ways to communicate with your customers, to share your passion and your mission and provide a unique experience.
This E will take care of itself – as long as you are rocking the other four, because you’ll provide the best service to your raving fans and customers. And you’ll get the best sales.