star symbol Free Shipping with Perks Membership Join Now star symbol
star symbolFree Shippingstar symbol
with Perks Membership 
Join Now

Tag Archives: Small business

  • 5 Ways to Train New Retail Staff

    Proper staff training is really a win-win-win for the employees, management, and customers alike. Training staff doesn’t have to follow an outline for a set period of onboarding time, but rather should be ongoing with the goals of ensuring consistent messaging, improving employee morale, and reducing employee turnover— all while increasing sales. Here are five effortless ways to train new staff beyond the book.

    Image provided by Getty Images

    Consider personalities

    Beyond the interview process, getting to know your employees will not only create a comfortable and supportive working environment, but it will also help to understand the best way to train to their personalities, whether that’s by reading a manual or by doing.

    It’s easy to forget that everyone learns differently, and feedback is best received when it is personalized rather than prescriptive.

    Reward good behavior

    Strong employees aren’t necessarily top sellers (although they could be). Good employees engage with both customers and other employees, while looking for opportunities to improve and offering suggestions.

    Measures for success shouldn’t go unnoticed but can be as simple as relaying a positive customer experience or even online review during a staff meeting.

    Pop quiz

    It doesn’t have to be anything formal, but asking new employees throughout the day to look up pricing or whether a product comes in a different color will help keep them on their toes for when those questions arise from customers throughout the day.

    Also be sure to ask employees for feedback on new products, or procedures, to empower them and make them feel invested.

    Continued education

    Training doesn’t end after the first week. In fact, employees should be briefed on new products and procedures as they are rolled out, perhaps in a weekly staff meeting, so that everyone is on the same page.

    Create a community of learners who are excited to tell customers what’s new on shelves to position your employees and, in turn, the store as experts in your field.

    Lead by example

    Setting expectations while modeling good behavior both internally and with customers sets everyone up for success. Set clear guidelines for what you expect from them, and give them the tools with which to succeed.

    Treat employees as equals, and look for ways to motivate them individually and as a team.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 7 Product Learnings from Our First Brick and Mortar

    In October, we opened our first Grommet store and after a whirlwind holiday season, there are so many stories to tell from that experience. Of course, what you as a store owner really want to know is what sold and what sold that surprised us.

    Sure, some top sellers like Pinch Me, Duke Cannon, Peeps, Aftershokz, and Chateau Spill had great results, but there were a number of unexpected products that stopped our guests in their tracks and made them say,"now THAT'S interesting." 

    So, without further ado, here are the top 7 products surprises and my thoughts on why they performed so well. 

    Continue Reading

  • Harness the Power of Social Media to Promote Your Purchase

    After spending hours searching for new products for your store and days spent anxiously awaiting their arrival, they’re finally in your hands and all you want to do is tell everyone about them.

    If you’re familiar with social media, you know just how easy it is to spread the word about your new arrivals, best sellers, and seasonal hits. But if you're not active on social media, here’s something to consider: it can be one of your biggest assets AND it’s easy.

    You may be hesitant to post your first picture, self-conscious of your follower count, or even nervous about how many 'likes' you get, but the easiest way to overcome those qualms is to just start. Simply taking 15 minutes out of your day to snap a picture & post it, can help in generating more of a following.

    Social media is a great opportunity for you to build your store’s brand and tell your story. It serves as an extension of your store and should be used with the goal of encouraging your current and prospective customers to visit you.

    Here are a few ways to do it.

    Continue Reading

  • Understanding Section 179 for Your Small Business

    Most small businesses point to access to capital as the number one hurdle in growing their business. With it, they can hire, purchase inventory, upgrade equipment, and increase marketing efforts. But even the application for that funding can be cumbersome.

    To help you or another small business gain access to capital, our affiliate partner Kabbage reviews basic business information to understand performance and deliver flexible funding online or through their app. It's a modern-day solution to an age-old problem.

    Courtesy of Kabbage

     

    Their site is brimming with helpful resources for small businesses from their blog to case studies to their small business toolkit. But here, we're going to focus on one specific issue: section 179.

    Section 179 applies to tax deductions for business depreciation of property. While it won’t increase the overall deduction you can take, it does give small businesses an option to take their deduction more quickly. With Section 179, a company can deduct the full value of certain business equipment purchases in the same tax year that the purchases are made, instead of spreading it out over many years.

    We asked Kabbage to break down the details of Section 179 to help make it clear and simple.  
    Continue Reading

  • You are the Key to a Successful Small Business Saturday

    You are the last person we need to be telling that Small Business Saturday is this weekend. You’ve been spending the last few weeks readying your store, inventory, and mind for the rush of holiday shoppers and us hyping it up won't do anything to change that.

    The only thing left to be said is you, yes, you, are uniquely prepared to have the most successful Small Business Saturday your store has ever seen. And that is because your store has something that no other store on Earth has — you.

    You bring a knowledge, expertise, and personable approach that is unmatched. Those characteristics are the engine of your store, let them power each interaction you have with a customer whether they’re merely browsing or unloading an armload of merchandise. We certainly hope it’s the latter.

    You’ve read enough “Retail is Dying” headlines this year to make your head explode. We don’t need to tell you this either, but Retail isn’t dying. It’s changing. It is craving a personalized approach that offers something a website can’t — you.

    You have the ability to create an experience for a shopper that can leave a lasting impact. From suggestions to information to stellar service, these experiences will shape the foundation of Retail’s next chapter. And we can’t wait to see what you do to usher it in.

    If you’re looking for specifics, we have a few other blog posts with last-minute tips for Small Business Saturday. We’ve found demos with our products to be particularly engaging with customers. If you’re looking for inspiration for how to bring any of our products to life, browse our site and watch our videos to learn more about the use cases for each.

    The Grommet opens it's first retail location in the Natick Mall

    As a store owner, the 96 hours post-Thanksgiving are a blur traveling at hyperspeed. With customers’ attention being vied for at every second, making an impression, let alone a sale is like trying to harness a tornado. We are here to be a resource in any capacity we can and we look forward to gathering our own learnings from our stores in Natick and Boston so as to improve our own service. 

    But for now. Best of luck. We are rooting for you. And we are thanking you for supporting local Makers and your fellow small business owners. You are helping shape our economy and country and we’re glad to be working alongside you.

Items 1 to 10 of 16 total