Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated with why some individuals are more successful than others and read countless books and articles and one thing that stands out is that they are very resilient and even after failure they step back, re-think and start again. This holds true on how to succeed as a retailer and now more than ever retailers need to step back and re-think their strategy. Due to the boom in online retailing pricing has become very transparent and for a long time it has been too focused on price. Some retailers feeling unable to compete have just given up. Online retailing based on price is a hard business. High street shops have been struggling too due to reduce footfall but there is another way!
Retailers now need to focus on selling a solution or a shopping experience rather than selling products.
Toy Shop Example
If you own a toy shop you may have had moderate success for many years and kept to the same trusted formula but with the advent of technology kids can experience multiples things at a time so a toy shop needs to grab their imagination and their concentration. How about freeing up some retail space putting a couple of small sofas, a play table and allow kids to engage with the products? Set up a loyalty scheme which you can then use to advertise events like a face painting & fancy dress morning, brick/construction building competition or creative craft workshops.
Stock gift wrap, greetings cards & batteries near to the payment area so you can upsell higher margin products. Also think about stocking a small range of children’s party items which do not take up much room but can add extra margin. Think about offering a gift wrap service or gift delivery service.How about offering a toy subscription scheme where customers can buy a 3,6 or 12 mth subscription of toys as a gift. This is offering your customer a solution by solving their gift choice dilemma’s .
If you have a shop it is so important to also have a good retail website too so that customers can find you and they have the choice to buy online as well as come into your store. Don’t underestimate the power of social media. If you have a retail business you must have a Facebook business page & Instagram – you can run giveaway competitions to increase your reach and really engage with your customers and drive online business.
Ideas for Selling Solutions as a Gift Retailer
Much of what applies to the toy shop owner applies to gift retailers – look at what is working for retailers you admire. Gift retailing is so broad from Wedding, Baby, Special occasions, Interiors and collectables so there is lots of opportunity to shine. The Garden Centres have really grabbed hold of the whole experience focused retailing by keeping their customers engaged for longer in store by offering coffee shops, outdoor clothing, gifts and the core business of gardening. Some even hold gardening workshops and talks. How could you as a gift retailer offer something similar? May be pop up shops or preview evenings with drinks & nibbles, gift subscription packages, gift wrapping service, special occasion reminder service, personal shopper, wedding gift list etc. There are some great gift wrapping courses that you can attend for a low cost or watch online tutorials and then offer gift wrapping workshops. If you have the customers captive in your store for longer you are more likely to engage with them.
Some customers simply can not choose so why not help them by offering a gift basket and hamper service?
More and more floristry shops now offer gifts, greetings cards and gift wrap. I often find in my local shop whilst they prepare and wrap my flowers I end up browsing and coming out with a lot more than flowers plus its my go to place for last minute gifts so they truly are offering a solution to me which why I keep going back.
As well as Facebook, Pinterest is an invaluable marketing tool for presenting your products and gift ideas. There are lots of how to tutorials that can guide you through how to use social media to your advantage.
Ideas for Selling Solutions as a Clothing Retailer
This is a very competitive market so display is key here and a good range of different lines . Deciding who your customer is key – age range, budget etc. The supermarkets really have the edge on the price of basics so the clothing retailer now needs to look at packaging basics in a different way either as a gift set or sold as a bundle with other items. Many people need to have their imagination inspired on how to put an outfit together and its important that you are on top of current fashion trends and each season’s colours. Selling gifts alongside clothing is also a great option – small pick up items like scarves, fluffy socks, beauty products, jewelry , candles and trinkets are great lines to stock in addition. Running fashion evenings, seasonal preview evenings or how about you get a ‘Colour stylist’ in to offer a mini style workshop – they will get new leads and its adding value to your customers plus I am sure she will use your clothing as a prop to demonstrate what suits your customer – I real opportunity to sell!
If you are a children’s clothing retailer adding baby gifts, toys and baby products is a must plus looking at offering Newborn starter packs, baby gift monthly subscriptions is a great solution led sell. An comfortable sitting area and a small play area for occupying children makes it more welcoming for mum’s. One really key thing is making sure you make it pushchair accessible. So many shops go for filling every available retail space and Mum’s can’t move around with a pushchair and get frustrated and leave either buying very little or nothing at all.
Again social media is vitally important for networking with customers, increasing sales and engaging so get that Facebook page set up asap.
How does Angel ‘Solution’ Sell to you?
I started Angel Wholesale to serve the smaller independent retailer and the new start up company by offering very small pack sizes and no minimum order. We have over the years realised that we also need to offer a broader range of products so that our customers can keep refreshing their offering without having to commit to big quantities. Our customers can trial a range a products and then stock the ones that sell well in more depth. We also offer lots of advice and guidance to small businesses and have helped many small businesses to succeed. We want our customers to be successful longterm . We also give our customers lots of ways to engage with us so they can get in touch easily and find out about our products and services in a way that is convenient to them. Many of our customers are busy working Mum’s just like me and many of our staff so we understand the pressures of being a working parent.
Passive retailing does not work long term and successful businesses need to engage with their customers, understand what they are looking for and be creative by offering them product solutions and shopping experiences. Remember too that less is sometime more – a well laid out shop with space for customers to browse, sit down, a children’s play area, product demo or creative area rather than over filling the retail space will be more welcoming and your customers will stay engaged longer. The same is true of websites – they must be clearly laid out and not just be selling products and truly engage your customers.
Keep communicating with your customers – find out what they want you to stock, get to know them and engage with them in as many ways as possible!