7 Ideas to Help Independent Retailers Succeed
I’m a regular contributor to RetailWire, an online board of professionals involved in various aspects of the retail industry. If you haven’t checked it out before, you can check it out here.
There are many different topics that get discussed and chewed over, but today there was a question right in the heart of the strike zone for independent retailers – What steps can independent retailers take to stay competitive? It’s a question I know that many independents think about a lot. It’s certainly front and center in the thinking of my clients. But it’s not enough to be merely competitive – independent retailers must position themselves to succeed!
Well, my response to this one rolled right off my tongue (and out through my fingertips). Here’s what I wrote:
Here’s a quick checklist.
1. Lead with your passion, and pass it on to all of your employees.
2. Focus on building enduring relationships with your customers, around that animating passion. Think of yourself as building a community of interest.
3. Stay away from highly-recognizable commodities. Focus on those discretionary items that excite your customers.
4. Create a warm, distinctive, inviting store around your shared passion that engages customers in a visceral way.
5. Keep your inventories lean and your presentations clean to let your assortments breathe.
6. Maintain lean inventories with frequent deliveries to keep your assortments fresh and promote a sense of urgency to buy now with your customers.
7. Do not let yourself get out on the slippery slope of price promotions. Strive for full retails and full margins.
A key point for independents to remember is that your business model is completely different than the major nationals. Don't let all their noise confuse you. Their business model will not work for you.
This list that I offered to RetailWire readers is by no means exhaustive, nor is every one of these ideas as relevant to any given retailers as others, but in many ways it gets to the heart of the matter. These are the things I work with my clients on day in and day out. We develop strategies and plans for putting these ideas to work, and then we execute those strategies and plans. We use these ideas to reinvigorate and renew our stores.
Success requires more than merely doing what you’ve always done, only better. Customers aren’t standing still, nor are the competitive choices they are offered every day. Success requires that you are always moving forward, never sitting back on yesterday, creating today the store that you will need to be successful, tomorrow and beyond.