- shopping as an outlet for frustration and to relieve stress
- rebounding from sales depression
While retailers may wish more people spend their way out of depression, it's not a healthy sales model to forecast sales, buying and profits.
What can you do? Here are four world view suggestions.
- Turn info into insight - if you are collecting customer information, buying and inventory info, trying looking at all that data to spot trends and adjust your business accordingly. Don't just collect info, do something with it!
- Be flexible in your business processes - hard lines lead to hard times. We're not suggesting 'anything goes' but if you have a procedure or process that your staff or customers wants you to review, do that!
- Get social, connect yourself to customers via the media they prefer - we're not only suggesting the usual bandwagon full twitter, Facebook, etc . For example, a lingerie company, who is a Windward Software customer, recently partnered with a golf course and local woman's shelter to run a very successful charity event. Not only did the money raised help the women at the shelter, the lingerie company connected with many potentially new customers. See http://www.windwardsoftware.com/blog/2011/07/5th-annual-linked-together-2011/
- Get better and more efficient - prices can only go up so you have to reduce costs. There is no best way to reduce costs, but there are better ways! Get advice, see our previous blog about working with a CGA. http://www.windwardsoftware.com/blog/2011/08/the-benefits-of-having-a-cga/
If your retail rent keeps going up and threatens to put you under, try offering to revenue share with the owner. Some shopping mall owners have found this works really well because there is more incentive for the mall owner to help. Official partnering, and consortium's programs, are well known in the auto parts, furniture and food businesses; it's something to look into if you aren't doing that right now.
You can start your own unofficial partnering program, and increase exposures to your business, by approaching complimentary businesses and working out a deal to mutually honour each others 'club card' holders.
Yoga studios could offer a discount at a sports apparel retailer who will offer a discount on yoga classes. A cooking school, could jointly partner with specialty foods and a kitchen appliance store to offer discounts on appliances, food and cooking lessons.
You can rebound from sales depression with a little retail therapy following a few suggestions above and by forging partnerships.