Trends evolve and become part of our customer’s expectation. Ignoring or fighting them is like swimming upstream against a current stronger than you. Soon exhaustions will set in from the energy you expended and you will succumb and drown. Businesses drown, in spite of good intentions, from misguided beliefs.
Energy spent on embracing trends vs fighting or ignoring them can yield great results: more fun in the business, and a sense of knowing that there are tactics and strategies you can employ that will move you to the next level.
You are in a race.
A race to capture market share…
A race for the next great line or product…
A race to innovate before your competition does…
A race to build your social media and digital presence and footprint.
Fast Fashion may be the best example of speed. A retailer can buy product on the Internet, build a website, create a social media presence and in a few weeks be in business. Imagine that, for a minute. You can open your own retail business for a minimum investment and be open in 30 days or less! Today, there are thousands of “garage store” retailers across the country.
Even if you are not in the Fast Fashion business, the concept has had a profound influence on the customer’s expectations of getting new merchandise on demand.
Even if they shop in brick and mortar, they have transferred their expectations of what they expect online to be reflected in the stores they visit.
Speed is also about how many visits your customers make to your store. Is it 4 times a year or 14 times a year? If you are not in the businesses of speed, you will bore your customers and lose them to a competitor who could be down the street or online.
Speed has changed the buying paradigm of waiting for an item to go on sale…to buying it now.
This should be at the center of every conversation you have with your staff – every day. Brainstorm everything from returns to how you can create a better experience for the customer.
I have been in store meetings around the country and we spend time brainstorming ideas, not on how great we are, but on how much better we can become.
We focus on one issue and that is how to create more convenience for the customer. What you do is expected; it is what you are not doing yet that sets you apart. Sometimes it is a combination of speed and convenience.
- How fast do you return calls?
- Do you still have a return policy?
- Can clients make an appointment, or even call you from your website?
- What services can you provide to make it easier and more convenient to shop?
- When a client comes in, is the fitting room prepped for them, based on their tastes?
- Do you create appointments?
- Do you have shop at home, wardrobing?
- And do you communicate and follow up often?
Be the first to create change. Following someone else, and letting them take the risk, is now the greater risk.
Last month, I talked about the Long Tail strategy; this is definitely a component of scarcity in your merchandising strategy.
Do you under buy to sell to extinction, as Stacey Pecor of Olive and Bettes in New York City does, to create demand and reduce markdowns?
And then, in turn, do you have a constant fresh flow of new merchandise – again bought to be sold to extinction?
The customer becomes pressed to buy, knowing that great item is not going to be on the markdown racks.
Over the last 12 months, I have been sharing these trends with retailers one on one, and in seminars I delivered.
We have seen some remarkable – and frankly stunning – results by those retailers that have embraced these trends. And a big part is their enthusiasm to having adapted to these trends, and having created long-awaited changes to their own strategies.
Onwards and upwards!
CEO and President
And Retail ORBIT®
CHARTING PROFITABLE TRENDS – FEBRUARY 2018 THROUGH FEBRUARY 2019
The graph below represents monthly sales increases, year to date, based on our clients
who have comparable data from last year’s sales as Management One clients.