TIP: Build anticipation for a product or collection through release dates
The most common reaction to receiving new inventory is to place product out on the sales floor as soon as it arrives in your stock room. Many retailers have the idea that you must catch every sale as soon as possible. This does not create excitement for your customer, and does not drive traffic through your door.
Having weekly, monthly, or seasonal release dates gets your customers excited about coming through the door on a regular basis instead of just when they need a particular item. This also instills a sense of worth around a product or collection instead of a customer waiting for the item to go on sale at the end of the season. This strategy will maintain the margin for longer into the season and possibly even sell out of inventory before you need to lose margin with a seasonal sale.
Team up with suppliers so that your release dates align with their marketing campaigns and get double the bang. Partner with brands using co-op allowance to help build the buzz around special releases.
Nike has created lineups for their core retailers world-wide for years, by creating release date buzz around highly anticipated pro models and limited edition products.
Online businesses have a history of success, such as Canadian brand Frank and Oak or even discount retailers such as Gilt, releasing new collections monthly or at specific times of day creating a virtual line-up with customers clicking refresh on the anticipated hour to be the first to get the new collection or deal.
Subscription based businesses have done this extremely well. A good example of this is the “BARKBOX”. Not only does the dog owner anticipate the arrival, but the excitement the dog shows upon seeing the box of goodies makes the monthly expense worthwhile. Once the owner sees what toy or treat the dog loves the best, they can go online to the BARKSHOP and buy more. This business model drives traffic to the e-commerce site that it would not otherwise have.
TIP: Take advantage of a brand’s co-op allowance
Many brands don’t verbally offer co-op programs out the gate and quite likely are overspending on the big box accounts that demand it. BUT, if you don’t ask for it, you will not receive anything.
Before you pick up that phone or send out that email request to your favoured brands, there is a catch. Don’t just ask for money and use it for your traditional ads. Put some serious thought behind the campaign objectives, so that the brand knows you understand their vision and messaging for the season. Prove to them that you really want to grow their brand in your store by being creative in how you are going to bring the campaign to life. Brands will often give more than the typical co-op percentage if they feel it is going to reap rewards and improve their brand presence on the floor.
Agree to top up the product inventory the week before the campaign starts, to ensure that you will have enough stock to complete the campaign. This shows the brand that you are committed to making the campaign successful.
Once the campaign is completed, follow up with the results to ensure that you will receive more brand dollars next season.
What is showrooming?
People visiting and using a physical store as a showroom, so they can touch and feel the product, and then go away to buy on-line.
I have heard this term over and over again by independent retailers who are using it as an excuse for their declining business. In reality, more people actually research on-line first and then go to purchase in-store.
Many independent retailers are scared of the smartphone and what they think that means for them and their business. In actual fact, knowing that the smartphone is a permanent connection between the retailer and the consumer, they should be embracing it. Smartphones allow an exchange of feedback and conversation with each other.
5 Suggestions on how to use this knowledge to your advantage:
- People research product on-line first, so make sure your website is up to date with product information including features, specs and pricing.
- Since people look at dealer locators and where to buy product, make sure your website is optimized so that customers can find you in the first place.
- Have a newsletter signup bar on your website to help grow your database so that you can keep your customers informed about new arrivals and brand promotions.
- Keep your social media accounts up to date and make sure that you respond regularly to people who tweet/chat about you and their in-store experience.
- Make it easy for your customers to research product right in your store, with the use of tools such as QR codes and Blippar apps.
These are just a couple ideas that will help keep your customers coming back for more.
Check out these two articles from L2 INC for more insights:
1. Bringing Luxury Customer Service to Mobile
2. Retailers Mostly Fail at Mobile Checkout