Independent Retailer Month 2012 - I needed that!
This past month I had the extreme pleasure of working with a group of independent retailers in a community. As I visited with them individually, there was a wide variety of owners. I worked with a bed and breakfast owner, a doctor, a therapist, traditional store front owners, restaurants, other service providers and a CEO (Chief Esthetic Officer).
I consider them all independent retailers as they are offering their products and services in an arena that is filled with competition that is much larger than they are.
As it was my third visit to their community, it was a thrilling experience as I was able to see the progress these businesses have made since 2010. Not that I am claiming credit, but these are business owners that have become friends and it is my pleasure to observe, talk about their success, and work with them toward their goals.
In the next week I will travel again to another community where I will be working with individual business owners. At the end of each trip I return home exhausted and renewed. These are great people who have made an investment in their community because they believe in their community. And with the conclusion of each visit I say, "Thanks. I needed that."
Every community I have ever been invited to has been different from all the rest. It is the uniqueness that adds to the flavor of the business and the community; much like adding a spice to a special food you like to prepare.
Every community is the same in that they are wonderful people to visit with and get to know. These are the people that cause a community to be great.
Our counterparts in England do a great job of celebrating Independent Retailer Month. They even have a conference to get things started.
Last year they created a month long series of articles about the event. I had the honor of being invited to write the first one. Let me invite you to follow this link to read that message. I know of a couple of situations where the article was reprinted by local newspapers.
Defining an independent retailer
If you feel as I do in the article, let me invite you to submit the article to your local paper.
If you 'tweet', the hashtag for the event is #indieretail and we hope you will add it to your postings for all of next month. The Independent Retailer Month website is full of posters you can use to promote within your community and your business.
As our newsletter is read by many in other countries, let me explain this is not a United States event; it is a world wide event. In other countries, it is their flag that is on the 'price tag'. You can click on the logo below to visit the site.
The May e-ret@iler conversations conference call featured Anne Obarski as our guest. Bill Kendy and I had the opportunity to visit with Anne as we discussed three opportunities of learning more about your business. These opportunities were:
1 Creating a focus group of customers to tell you what they think of your business and how you could earn more of their business.
2 Utilizing 'mystery shoppers' to help you learn more about your customer service. These mystery shoppers can be individuals you recruit as volunteers, individuals you hire, or a professional mystery shopping company.
3 Shopping your competition so that you can see first hand the products and services they offer, the way they present their offerings and their customer service.
If you were not a part of the call, you will definitely want to grab the recording from the Profits Plus website. There is no charge for listening or downloading.
Anne also offered a free report on customer service that you can download by following this link:
Anne Obarski's Merchandise Concepts
June e-retailer conversation conference call
8pm eastern, Thursday, June 28, 2012
This month I am excited to invite you to listen in as our special guest is Jon Schallert. Jon brings a very interesting perspective to the trade. Whether you are a business that provides products or services, Jon has developed a concept that is best described as 'creating a customer destination business or community'.
Jon's 'consumer destination' process turns any size business, community or shopping district into one that experiences increase in customer traffic and sales. Communities and shopping districts are also able to pull from greater distances.
There is a lot more I could tell you about my friend, Jon Schallert. However, let me provide a link where you can read more about Jon's knowledge and teachings by following this link:
Jon draws a crowd at events where he is teaching as well as the 'Destination Boot Camps' he hosts each year in Colorado. Let me invite you to follow this link to learn more about Jon's school:
Of course, your questions are welcome. Send them to me and I will pass them to Jon before the June e-ret@iler conversations conference call.
|Internet Tip of The Month
Gross profit - percentage or dollars?
Actually gross profit is each. When you subtract the cost of goods sold (or cost of doing business) from the gross sales (or revenue) you get a dollar amount because each of the items in the calculation is a dollar amount.
This is the amount of money you have to pay all of your operating expenses. When you take that gross profit dollar amount and divide it by your gross sales, the resulting answer is a percentage. The percentage is referred to as the gross margin. This states what percentage of the sales you have left after having paid for the inventory.
Businesses that offer services often use the phrase of 'cost of doing business' and that amount will frequently include the labor necessary to produce the sale. As an example, think about the person who works on your car. Their cost would be the parts they install as well as the labor for that installation.
Gross Profit Calculator
| The Power Promoting Idea of the Month
|Giving thanks for those that bring
you a gift - another customer
One of the greatest compliments a customer can give to your business is that of their returning to make another purchase. It says they like your business and want more of the products and services you offer.
The only compliment I can think of that is greater is when that customer makes a point to tell their friends and coworkers about your business so that the second person also decides to do business with you.
It is very common to visit with a business owner and hear them as they proudly say how a large portion of their business comes from repeat and referral customers.
Of course my next question is to ask what they do about the referrals? I am rarely hearing of how a business thanks the referring customer. That's where the power promoting idea comes into play.
Let me suggest you develop a format that all of your staff is aware of. It may be a phone call, a written thank you note, an email, or even a small gift. This thank you should demonstrate to your customer that you recognize how they have given your business the highest compliment and you sincerely appreciate it.
Experience shows that when you offer this appreciation, the repeat customer is now making even more referrals to your business. And who doesn't want some additional business?
You can find more ideas like this in our promotions books. You can order your copy by clicking on the link below; each book is only $9.95 plus postage.
Profits Plus Resource Center