If your candle shop is out of red candles at this time of year, you may as well tell your customer to shop elsewhere!
Read about our new series of articles designed to help us all be better, more profitable merchants! Bill Shelton has the talent and insights to lead us through these muddy retailing waters with clarity and vision.
A good merchant is now checking on all of his staples for the fourth quarter whether it’s everyday or seasonal. History should be your measuring stick. It’s so crazy that most owners don’t use the computer to track these items and yet these are the products they most often run out of when they are needed the most.
All stores survive on two things: REPEAT CUSTOMERS & BEST SELLERS. It’s the best sellers that the repeat customers come in for and usually get overlooked for all the “new items” that are really only speculation vs. tried and true best sellers.
Owners need to look at each department and reorder items the computer shows as “Best Sellers”. If a person comes in for Vanilla candles, a pen refill, or a replacement bulb for their Christmas village, and you are out, that customer is gone. That customer is angry and will not shop the store for anything else. If you have developed a customer for a certain product and they can’t get it during your busy season, they will develop new shopping habits for stores that do have what they want. This sounds so simple, but every one of us has experienced this problem and too many owners downplay its importance. Retail is detail. Pay attention to your customers or they will pay no attention to you!
I actually had this conversation with a retailer yesterday and she asked me to point out some products and areas. After 7 or 8 major areas she got the message and had some staff take some counts and order. Too many owners are scared, and by cutting back too much, they are actually chasing customers away.
P.S.: Don’t forget the front counter. This list includes, wrapping paper, tissue, tape, gift bags, gift tags, mailing supplies, packing materials, extra large shopping bags, roll wrap bags, and any “Front Desk” supplies like register tapes, pens, phone pads, credit slips, gift boxes, and wrap dispensers. See the folks at Nashville Wraps for these items and more.