Author Archive

Supermarket Psychology – Think Like The Retail Giants

| January 23rd, 2011 | No Comments »

Shopping psychology has nothing on the big boys of the retail industry; the supermarkets. If you can copy their techniques to not only get customers off the streets and into their shops but also to spend high, then you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank! Large supermarkets employ what is known as a visual merchandise consultant. A professional whose job it is to tweak the lighting, displays, sounds and even smells of the supermarket to maximise profit. Smaller independent stores can’t compete with such professionals but we can let you in on a few of their trade secrets so that you can copy them for yourself! Smell-O-Vision: It is no secret that supermarkets often waft the smell of freshly baked bread through their air-conditioning unit to lure in hungry shoppers. In fact my local Waitrose used to pump this smell out into the car park even though they

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Making The Most Of Free Advertising

| January 22nd, 2011 | No Comments »

It seems that everyone is after your money for one thing or another and they do say that nothing is truly free in this life, everything has strings attached. Whilst that may be right, those strings may not necessarily be financial. It is possible, even today, to get your message out completely free of charge and just as effective – sometimes more – than if you had paid for it. So how is this possible? We’ll explore some of the ways you can exploit services and opportunities to advertise your shop business for free. Local Newspaper Coverage As mentioned in a previous article on What Makes A Successful Shop Promotion, newspapers won’t generally be interested in promoting your local business for you unless you either pay for advertising or have a newsworthy story. A few years ago I was doing the PR for a national parenting website whose unique idea

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Building A Successful Web Site For Your Shop

| January 21st, 2011 | No Comments »

When so much shopping is done on the internet, every business no matter how small needs a website. I was looking for a place to take the in-laws once for lunch, I knew there was a good restaurant in the neighbouring village but try as I might I couldn’t find them on the internet. What I was looking for was a telephone number, sample menu, prices and opening hours but the restaurant didn’t have a web site so I took the in-laws to one that did. These days people use the internet much as they used to use the Yellow Pages. If looking for say, a plumber or dentist, they’ll search for one on the internet and if you’re not listed then you miss out. Even if you just have a basic site with your address, phone number and opening hours you’ll be one step ahead of your competitors who

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Harnessing The Power Of Good Customer Service

| January 19th, 2011 | No Comments »

Customer service has the power to make or break a small shop business. Have you ever approached a shop counter and been completely ignored by staff? Or had to stand there waiting whilst shop staff finished their conversation on the phone? Almost everybody has had bad customer experience and knows how incredibly frustrating and annoying it can be, it may even make you decide not to shop there again. No matter how cheap your goods, bad service will drive your customers away so it’s essential that you establish a good customer service policy both for yourself and for any additional staff to adhere to.  Good customer service can even drive up your profits; take a look at the lingerie shop of Boudice, they sell expensive lingerie but their customers are willing to pay those prices because of the service they receive in return. It may be a bit of a

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Hanging Onto Your Unique Selling Points

| January 4th, 2011 | No Comments »

When thinking of starting your own shop you will have considered what would make your shop stand out from those of your competitors – what gives it its edge. And if this is something that you haven’t yet considered, then you should. Your USP will be a feature or a benefit that you alone offer. This could be lower prices, a wider range of products, a different version of products such as larger or smaller sizes or perhaps you want to give the customer a positive experience. So how do you define your USP? Well you need to offer something that your competitors do not. For small independent retailers it can be impossible to match the larger stores for price, so think of who your customer base are and why they would come to you over the cheaper department store on the outskirts. Perhaps you have free parking you could

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What Makes A Successful Shop Promotion?

| December 27th, 2010 | No Comments »

There are literally thousands of promotional ideas out there, but not all of them are suited to every individual retail outlet. When thinking of ideas for your promotions you have to bear in mind a few key points: It must be appealing to new and old customers alike. Base your promotion around a theme, for example if running a sweet shop your theme could be retro sweets. How will you advertise your promotion? How to Appeal to Old and New Customers The whole point of a promotion, you would think, is to attract new customers to your shop. But this isn’t the only point of a promotion. You don’t want to put off regular customers who may be dissuaded from entering your shop by the increased number of customers all queuing to be served. Make sure then, that you have enough resources available to ensure that customers are served quickly

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The Art of Window Dressing

| December 20th, 2010 | No Comments »

The focal point of a shop, no matter how large or small, is its windows. This is the face that the shop portrays to the outside world, this is where you reveal your identity – the very essence that makes your shop unique. It is the first thing that shoppers notice and just like a book cover, your shop will be judged upon it, so getting it right is key. Whilst many shops will employ a professional window dresser, they do come at a price so many prefer to go it alone. It is possible to create a dynamic and exciting window display by yourself as long as you remember to follow a few key pointers. Themes It is essential that your shop has a theme, such as a boutique style or olde worlde sweet shoppe and no matter what time of year it is, you must not detract too

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The Case For Shopping Baskets

| December 15th, 2010 | No Comments »

You might think that baskets are just for supermarkets – after all who wants to carry a basket around a small independent shop? But that’s where you would be horribly wrong. Imagine the scenario; a woman walks into a shop, which is a good sign, she obviously wants to buy something. But hang on, she’s already got one of her hands full – she’s carrying a handbag. Well of course she is, who do you know goes shopping without their handbag or perhaps a purchase they’ve already made? In fact we are so used to going out of the house with a bag that on the rare occasions we leave the house completely empty handed we feel as though we’ve forgotten something. Ok, so back to the woman, she’s walked into the shop and one of her hands is already taken up with her bag which leaves just one hand

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Researching Your Customer Base

| December 12th, 2010 | No Comments »

Many shops make the mistake of doing meticulous research in the early days of planning their shop and then nothing in the years that follow. Yet customer trends change not just yearly but monthly and even weekly and you cannot rely on the research you did two years ago to accurately reflect your customers’ trends now. Many outside factors will dictate and even change customer habits such as new competition or economic worries. Whilst it may take up precious time and perhaps even expense to research your customer base, it is recommended that you do so at least once a year so that you can adapt to any changes and stay ahead of the game. When doing your research there are three main customer focus areas that you should take into consideration: The customers you aim to attract into your shop. The customers who already shop with you. The customers

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Marketing and Promotion Ideas For Your Shop Business

| December 7th, 2010 | No Comments »

If your shop is very new then marketing is a means of telling the world that you have arrived – or at least your local town! It gives you the opportunity to meet your customers and for them to meet you. But marketing is not just for new shops for there is a tendency, once the newness has worn away and the first flow of customers are through the door, to think that your shop will grow organically. Unfortunately this is not the case and every shop, whether they have just have started or have been a permanent fixture of a town for the past 200 years, needs a new marketing strategy every now and then. It can be tempting to presume that you know exactly what your customers want and that your customers also know all about you and the services you offer, but towns and people change and

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