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Tag Archives: brick and mortar

  • How To Find Unique Products Your Customers Don't Yet Know They Want

    Attending trade shows and browsing thousands of wholesale maker websites are seemingly daunting tasks when it comes to finding new and unique products quickly and consistently.

     

     

    With a proverbial bottomless pit of options, it’s hard to know where to start and when to stop, especially when it comes to find those must-have who-knows-whats that will make you stand out above your competition. Here are a few suggestions to get you started finding unique products your customers don’t even know they want yet:

     

    Form relationships

    Even if your customers don’t know exactly what they want or know they want it, asking the right questions and taking note of which items sell and even which don’t can lead you down the right path. From there, having conversations with your vendors can open doors to new products you haven’t even thought of yet based on customer and national trends.

     

    Know your audience

    Most online retailers have a “Best Sellers” category on their product pages that are updated as frequently as every hour, so bookmark a few with products that sell well in your store or in your competitors, then check back early and often for more targeted suggestions.

     

    Take suggestions

    Similarly, websites you frequent might also have “Customers who bought this item also bought” suggestions. Go down the rabbit hole of clicking various products to figure out how other retailers and consumers are navigating the same website. The same method can be used for “Related searches” on your preferred search engine.

     

    Read between the lines

    Chances are, you’re using the same computer to search for products as you are to check your social media accounts. Put all those targeted advertisements and sponsored posts to use, and start clicking on suggested products that pop up in your feed. Your searches will only become more refined from there.

     

    Trust the experts

    For better or worse, social media influencers have sway with their audiences. Find accounts worth following that align with your business’s values and products, and use them as a starting point to figure out which new products are coming out and what is getting the most response. Social media influencers are literally paid to stay on top of and ahead of product trends, so don’t discount their sponsored suggestions.

  • What Campaigns Should You Be Running To Get People In The Door?

    Retail stores should not rely on inventory alone to get customers in the door. Think outside the proverbial packaging box, and start a campaign that is low cost but high payoff. Whether getting customers in the door for the first or hundredth time, there’s a method to match your store’s financial and time budgets. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

    Social media

    Sure, you post new product photos and share in-store promotions, but if you aren’t truly engaging with your customers on your social media accounts, you’re missing an opportunity to take your relationship to the next level. Aside from replying to questions and comments, even in the form of a direct message, run contests featuring unique hashtags that require followers to share on their own pages. The prize can be something as simple as a seasonal item that will get them in the door wanting more.

     

    Email campaigns

    Without being obtrusive, email campaigns can give those who choose to sign up extra incentive to visit your store. A monthly email to subscribers can quickly include any special events, new product highlights, a coupon, and links to social media handles without clogging inboxes. Signing up for the newsletter can easily be done on your store’s website, at the cash register, and promoted via social media.

     

    Loyalty program

    Discounts work to draw customers in, but repeat visitors will come back time and time again if they are members of a loyalty program. Money off future purchases or even access to an exclusive event in store or online can often entice customers to return for a repeat visit. Make the reward worthwhile and easy to obtain to motivate customers to reach it, such as free lifetime shipping.


    Giveaways

    Everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s from their favorite retail store. Give customers incentive not only to set foot in the store, but also to sign up for your email newsletters or follow your social media accounts by entering them to win even the smallest of trinkets. Even if they didn’t need to be present to win, they’ll have to stop by to claim their prize, and regular contests will only help to identify both loyal followers and product trends.

     

    In-store events

    Partnering with a local yoga studio or restaurant for an in-store event can be hosted after business hours without interrupting regular business operations. The same can be said for special ladies nights that bring in a local maker to teach calligraphy or even a craft beer or wine tasting. It’s a win-win-win for you, your customers, and the business with whom you’ve partnered. Engaging your customers with your products while offering expertise and advice will only make them want to come back to learn (and buy) more.

     

    Charity drives

    Take advantage of organizations that already exist and align with your store’s mission by sponsoring a local event or donating to a worthy cause that will get your company name in front of current and potential customers. Host an annual food or clothing drive, then offer a discount to customers who bring items to donate. Not only will it get traffic in the door, but it will also start a conversation worth engaging in.

  • The Risk Of Bringing In A New Product, And Why It's Important To Take That Risk

    It can be equally exciting and overwhelming when looking to update your inventory with new products. The desire to support local makers can often be overrun with seemingly endless options that may fly off the shelves or fall flat.

    AfterShokz— Bone Conduction Headphones

     

    So when and why is it important to take that risk, and better yet, how? Here are some sample scenarios and suggestions worth considering when weighing the pros and cons of ordering new products:

     

    Stay ahead of competition

    Don’t wait until you see a new product in a competitor’s store to decide whether or not to carry it. Rather, be the store worthy of emulating. By regularly freshening up your inventory with what’s new, customers will begin to think of your store as the go-to spot for unique gifts, whether browsing for themselves or for others, even if they don’t know what they want before visiting.

     

    Keep displays fresh

    The point of sale begins with foot traffic, starting with your window and sidewalk displays. Giving new products prime real estate will draw the attention of both current and potential customers alike while also making regular passersby feel like there’s always something new and exciting happening in your store, which there is and will be.

     

    Attract new customers

    Don’t think of introducing new products as replacing old ones. Fill shelving and product line gaps with a small batch of trial-runs that could diversify your inventory and, in turn, your customer base. Then, put those social media channels to good use promoting any new attention-grabbing products and lines.

     

    Increase customer loyalty

    Just like customers have brand loyalty, they will come to develop maker loyalty, so adding new products from makers you already carry will attract the eyes of your not-to-be-overlooked existing customer base. Likewise, a trusted partnership can also pay off for the retailer, maker, and distributor when it comes to learning about new products.

     

    Fill in the blanks

    Even tried-and-true products can feel stale to regular customers if not supplemented with complementary merchandise. Don’t even hesitate to pick the brains of those who are buying the staples from your merchandise to figure out what else they are buying or looking for at your store and others.

     

    Create demand

    Sites like The Grommet add new products every week, making it exciting to check back to see what makers are adding to the line. Similarly, the more often you update your inventory, the more often customers will be drawn back to see what’s new so they don’t feel like they’re missing out.

  • How Do You Become A Brand, Not Just A Retail Store?

    These days, people don’t just buy products; they buy brands. But don’t mistake brand identity for brand loyalty. Brand loyalty has become much more than just a tag or logo; it’s a lifestyle.

     

    So how do you take your retail store to the next level? By getting your customers involved every step of the way, of course. Here’s how:

    Tell your story

    If you started a camping store because you once hiked the Appalachian Trail solo, then make that your brand’s narrative. You’ll create the impression that you’re much more committed and devoted than your competition, while also instilling trust in the brands you carry (as long as your employees are experts on these products, too).

     

    Focus on in-store experience

    Customers should want to come to your store, not dread it. In other words, it should be a destination worthy of emulating. A fashion boutique that mimics a luxurious walk-in closet or a home goods store that oozes abode envy only makes your customers want to re-create that experience at home (using all your products, of course).

     

    Create curb appeal

    Don’t underestimate the power of seasonal window displays with an unavoidable sandwich board for passersby. And even if it’s not an actual sidewalk sale, moving merchandise outside will make pedestrians slow down at the very least. What’s more, a bike shop with a tire pump out front and a pet store with water dishes for dogs will all but force potential customers to stop and stay a while.

     

    Host events

    Bringing potential and existing customers into your store on a regular basis can be as easy as hosting a running or yoga group at your athleisure store every week or as extensive as a monthly calligraphy course at your stationery store. Even go a step further and create your own or piggyback on an annual holiday (National Grilled Cheese Day, anyone?). Engaging your customers with your products while offering expertise and advice will only make them want to come back to learn (and buy) more.

     

    Give back

    A win-win for customers to learn more about your background and mission is to partner with a local charity. Host an annual food or clothing drive, then offer a discount to customers who bring items to donate. Not only will it get traffic in the door, but it will also start a conversation worth engaging in.

     

    Social media presence

    While there is something to be said about connecting with your customers offline, crafting a social media presence online can’t go unnoticed. Start a blog that doesn’t pitch your products but rather tells a story, then use your social media accounts to make followers feel like they are getting insight into new products and events. Also be sure to respond to comments and questions, good and bad alike.

  • Shop For Your Store Online, Just Like You Shop For Yourself

    You’ve attended trade shows, scoured the internet, and followed all the hot social media influencers to keep on top of new products and trends. But as the first curated, online B2B e-commerce platform for the discovery of products made by independent Makers and small businesses, The Grommet is a digitally enabled way for brick-and-mortar stores to stock their shelves with the same ease of online shopping.

    In other words, The Grommet does all the heavy lifting to find things worth buying and are proven to sell so you don’t have to. Here’s a breakdown of the sections to browse by that’ll make your life as an entrepreneur easier and certainly more fun:

    Category

    Beyond the obvious lists of jewelry and kitchen accessories, products for your fitness-fanatic and budding-foodie customers go beyond the ho-hum gadgets and instead offer unique whatnots at all price points.

     

    Personal value

    Chances are, as a shop owner, your personal values align with the mission of your store. Whether you’re passionate about products made in the USA, made by independent Makers, or made sustainably, there’s a whole section of products that’ll seamlessly fit into your values and on your shelves.  

     

    Specialty shop

    Whatever your niche, there’s a collection to dial in your needs. Bookstores, garden stores, and even wine and spirits shops are one click away from a curated list of the nicknacks and in-betweens to round out your inventory and create eye-catching displays you’d be proud to feature.

     

    Gift type

    There’s the typical lists of him, her, and kids as recipients, as well as shopping by price point as low as $25 up to $200, but sorting by interest opens new gift-giving doors. Categories, such as gifts for the fashionista, techie, or outdoor enthusiast, will only help refine your search to quickly and efficiently stock your shelves based on both your customer profiles and demographics.

     

    Best sellers

    It goes without saying that the customers have spoken when it comes to best sellers. Take the guesswork out of what’s flying off the proverbial shelves by scrolling through a chronological list to connect the trending dots that make sense for your store and its customers.

     

    Curated collections

    Curated collections fill all those hard-to-find items that aren’t necessarily for a particular demographic but rather those impulse buys or must-have gadgets that solve everyone’s shopping quandaries, like a retail starter kit or products featured at annual trade shows.

     

    Shop locally

    The Grommet Wholesale lets you choose from Makers in your state of choice, 47 and counting. Each product page includes the maker’s story and even a product video, in addition to photos and customer reviews to help narrow down your decision.

     

    What’s new

    When you feel like you’ve exhausted all your options, check back to the Wholesale landing page to browse new products as they are added in real time—at least one new product every week, in fact. It takes less time than checking your social media feeds and is way more productive.

  • 8 Ways To Encourage Repeat Business For Your Store

    In a time of online retailers, it’s important not to overlook the power of a brick-and-mortar store. While getting foot traffic in the door might not be the issue, it’s keeping customers engaged and coming back that proves to be challenging. As the tried-and-true formula goes: Understand your customer base and target market, look for ways to differentiate from your competitors, remain relatable and relevant, repeat. Here are some ways to foster that relationship, no matter the type of shop:

    Image courtesy of Getty Images

     

    Focus on Service

    Simply put, shoppers are much more likely to become loyal customers if you offer a better experience than your competitors. Provide an extra service that shoppers can’t get elsewhere, like contacting shoppers when products that are out of stock become available or offering a generous return policy. What’s more, properly training staff to be knowledgeable about products and makers keeps both employees and customers happy. Click here to read our blog post on service.

     

    Create a loyalty program

    Discounts work to draw customers in, but repeat visitors will come back time and time again if they are members of a loyalty program. Money off future purchases or even access to an exclusive event in store or online can often make the difference between whether a consumer shops with you or a competitor. Make the reward worthwhile and easy to obtain to motivate customers to reach it.

     

    Engage online

    Whether in the form of a blog, social media post, or email newsletter that encourages discussion among its customers, you can produce easy-to-digest content geared toward your readers, such as how-to guides, product spotlights, or gift giving guides for specific holidays. You can also entice your customers with new products, best sellers, or in-store giveaways on social channels to get them to come back to your store.

     

    Think convenience

    Offering free in-store pickup or multiple payment options are just two quick and easy ways to make the shopping experience more pleasurable and less painful for the customer. Hire an in-store expert who can offer complimentary consultations on product usage or free alterations or customization with purchase. Think value, not price.

     

    Create comfort

    Shopping doesn’t have to be an in-and-out experience. Encourage customers to stay a while by setting up a lounge area with free Wi-Fi and a charging station. Set up sampling stations or other ways to engage with the products. Sure, it’s fun to try on clothes, but “try before you buy” can work equally well with crafts or even technology.

     

    Offer classes or groups

    A craft shop that offers a knitting group, a fitness retailer that organizes a running club, a craft brewery that hosts yoga, cooking classes at a specialty food store, calligraphy lessons at the local stationery store—these are all simple but fun ways to bring the same consumers back on a regular basis and get them in front of your products.

     

    Engage in the community

    Take advantage of organizations that already exist and align with your store’s mission by sponsoring a local event or donating to a worthy cause that will get your company name in front of current and potential customers. Name recognition, especially in a charitable way, certainly won’t hurt your cause.

     

    Enlist help

    When all else fails, hire a mystery shopper whose job it is to give honest and unbiased feedback about the shopping experience. Sometimes, all it takes is a fresh set of eyes to walk through the whole experience from storefront to transaction to share how and why the shopping experience can turn shoppers into lifelong customers.

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