Marketing – Planning Is The Key!

Planning is the key!

Enhancement_MeetingGood news! There are lots of people out there with money to spend on what you sell.  And marketing is the activity that connects you and your store to all those people who are spending money on the things you’re selling. Think about that very carefully…

Marketing connects your store to the money

Here’s the problem. There are a thousand different marketing options, a thousand great offers, a thousand nice ad salespeople, a thousand possible ways to market your business.  Some of those thousand possibilities would be good for your business – some might not be.
But doing a little bit of this, and a little bit of that and HOPING that some of it works is just grasping at straws.

HOPE is not a good marketing strategy!

Your Retail Marketing Road-trip

Think of your marketing like a road trip for just a minute. A road trip from, say, Seattle, Washington to Los Angeles, California.

One type of road trip is to get in your car, pull out of the driveway and HOPE you get to Los Angeles eventually. You don’t really know where you’re going; you just drive around for a while going here a little bit, there a little bit and maybe end up in Arizona until someone points you west again. You’re likely to run out of money, time, and interest before you ever get to L.A. 

Just hoping to get there – trying to get there without a plan – isn’t effective or efficient. Do you see where I’m heading here? That type of road trip is like trying to connect your store to the money without a marketing plan. 

Now a different kind of road trip would be if you knew you had to get from Seattle to Los Angeles in 5 days and you had $2000 to get there. The first thing to do would be to buy a map and plan out the shortest route between Seattle and Los Angeles. Then you’d figure out how much you had to spend on gas and that would be the first expense that would come out of the $2000.

You’d plan out how many nights you’d need a hotel room and how many meals you’d have to buy. Finally, if you had any money or time left over, you could think about doing something fun like taking the Coast Highway south along the Pacific and through Big Sur. Or maybe stop off in San Francisco.

Do you see how that changes things?

The person with the plan gets the most things done, the best things done, the right things done. They make it to Los Angeles with the least stress and have the most fun.
And that’s what a marketing plan can do for you! It’s how you get from where you are now in your business to where the money is…

The right plan leads you down the highway – smooth and fast and straight. Marketing without a plan is like driving the back roads hoping you’ll get from Seattle to Lost Angeles via Bryce Canyon, Utah. You can do it, but it’s not the easiest, fastest or the best way to get there.
If your marketing isn’t working, if you feel like you’re beating your head against the wall, you can make changes. You can create a new road-map, a new marketing plan.
When all the pieces of your marketing plan come together, good things happen.  Just remember the key words – Plan Plan Plan. 

Talk to you soon ~ Norma

When Less is More

Is Less really More?

In business, it seems that we are always focused on doing more. But sometimes the best thing you can do is less. Doing less can often result in more money, more time, more productivity, more focus, and more success. 

Could you improve the bottom line and the quality of your business by doing some, all, or any of the following?

  • Drop an unproductive vendor or line.
  • Quit spending on advertising that is only marginally successful.
  • Retrain an unproductive employee and if that doesn’t work, let him/her go.
  • Close a store that is/has been a drain on profits. Maybe it’s the wrong location or leasing costs are out of line. If it can’t make you money, don’t let it keep losing it for you.
  • Stop marketing to the segment of customers who never buy.
  • Thin out the fixtures on your floor.
  • Don’t waste time on committees or organizations that are negative or non-essential.
  • Eliminate procedures or policies that are outdated and don’t serve you well any longer.

Maybe it’s time for spring cleaning. Take a look at how you can prune the dead wood that is affecting your bottom line.

Talk to you soon.  ~Norma

Make It Easy To Buy More

Addon Sales.jpgAdd-on Sales

 “Adding on” is an essential part of the selling process. When you add on, you sell more and your customers will be happier with their purchase because you’ve either made the buying experience easier or have saved them money. What is the easiest way to add on? Create bundles.

Following are two types of bundles that are adaptable to almost all types of retail stores.

 Bundle Items That Are Commonly Sold Together

Putting together this type of bundle makes it easy for your employees to sell and easy for customers to say yes to the bundle.

One example I heard of was a company that sold kites. Did you think buying a kite was simple? Not really – at least not time-wise, and in most cases – not “expertise-wise”. After picking the kite, you have to pick a kite string (often depending on the kite size and the typical weather conditions where you’ll fly the kite, to name two considerations). After that, you still have to choose the tail and something called a “snap swivel”.

Finally, someone decided to bundle the separate pieces together. In fact, they created three bundles – good, better and best. Each bundle was given a catchy name. In the first bundle, items were chosen that would deliver the best kite flying experience while giving the store the highest profit margin. Realizing that most customers wanted to drive a Ferrari, they also knew that not all customers wanted to spend that type of money – thus the reason for creating the good and better categories. These were still wonderful products for their price point.

It’s important to note that with this type of bundle, it isn’t necessary to discount the items. And the fact that you’ve taken the guesswork out of the process has made it easier for your clerks to sell while adding value to your product for your customers.

 Bundle Multiples of the Same Item

This type of bundle works especially well for consumables or perishable items, but it can be used with all kinds of merchandise – candles, sweaters, flats of annuals, paint rollers, dog food. Think about your store’s products. I’m sure you’ll see all types of possibilities.

You will most likely want to use some type of discount with these bundles. It could be a straight % off of one or a larger percent off of multiples. Another choice is a BOGO discount (Buy one/Get one….). One store I know of uses BOGO pricing and also has a customer loyalty program. They sell high end products. Their “bundle” consists of a customer’s buying 10 of “xxx” over time. When they buy the 11th “xxx”, it’s free.

Because they use CounterPoint SQL software, it’s easy to track customers’ BOGO purchases. In addition they can award loyalty points based on all the dollars each customer spends. These loyalty points are redeemed like cash when making future purchases. And unlike Safeway, the points don’t expire in 60 days (unless, of course you want them to. If so, CounterPoint can handle that also).

Talk to you soon ~Norma