Monday, April 20, 2009

destination strategies






we are out in the boondocks so we have to be a destination store....we have to be a store people make an effort to come to...., make a trip to.......we dont have drive by or other retail around us.....
i wish there were more books on destination stores....john shallert has a great program for one...but it takes a week and is far away ....i saw him once and he talked about it.... one of his questions was ...how far does your store draw from?

.HERE ARE SOME OF OUR WAYS TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN.....some destination strategies we use and have seen others use....these ideas are how we try to get them to want to return....
***** OFFER REAL VALUE...... get what they really like at a price they appreciate.... a price they think is really worth it....
***** THE BIG AND/or THE WEIRD..and dramatic displays.....as a start when they get in our parkinglot they see our 14 ft tinman....he stands by our entrance.....inside, things in the big and/or weird category would come and go...but weve had 9 ft cabinets.....trellises inside.... huge paintings...dr.tools....cow skulls, horrid 1950s lamps..fabulous victorian mirrors...like right now we have a 7 ft tall...4 ft wide white one with columns and carving.... or a 6 ft sign saying be nice or leave...
one great retailer i know had a truck brought into her store for her openhouse.....a neat old junky one.....and used it for a display.... another year she added a room and suprised her customers at the openhouse...every year she tried to out do herself for her openhouse.....
*****LOTS OF FUN CHEAP STUFF....
these things really bring us a lot of people...tons under 10$...windows, parts, the 1$ jewelry...the half price room.... for this you really need room...i stick ours in out of the way places.....i love shopping in anyones junk room....
****SOME BIG WONDERFUL EXPENSIVE STUFF
this kind of reminds them they arent in a totally low class junk store!!!

i buy the best in a line sometimes just for the excitement of having it...like the fabulous 4 ft square clock from peacock park design, see above........the price is over 300 but its job is to set the atmosphere too....it gets a little awe....or the big 80$ tin fish ...i got 3 in february and all have sold..i have dozens of birdhouses under 20$ and i would love to have one big fabulous 100$ one to sit in with them.....what i really dont want is average stuff overpriced..if i was a fabric store i would probably have a bit of the best and highest price in the line.....
****BEING GREEN AND REHABBED AND REPURPOSED.....
this makes us a big draw....the recycled and used furniture hits the right price points for young families and they like the eclecticness and uniqueness of our creations...or the benches made out of beds, and all our rehabbing ...or using our black buffets for tv tables..... and they definitely like our prices , so much lower than ethan allen...etc....
or coming to us for cool old parts for for their projects.....this one really works for us....

*****GREAT EVENTS******we have 4 events...and work hard to make them work and bring in the people...in other words be good enough to bring them back the next time...i chat online with other stores and have learned of some wild events..... where people line up to come....i know its possible.....
i have one buddy who takes a group of her customers to paris to shop!!!
and another who opens up her farm to other vendors and has a big fall market
...and another who has an easter egg hunt and puts up with women fighting over the prizes....

a customer clued me in on events a long time ago.... she has a smaller store than ours and buys from us, and has a smaller inventory......she mentioned her christmas openhouse brought in 30,000!!!!! that got my attention!!!...after that i tried to do just what she said.......basically she dolled the store all up...to the hilt....served food and sent out postcards..... she had a great mailing list...which we did too...but we only had one event, the yardsale, back then.but she got me thinking about a christmas event and boy am i thankful to her......now we have 4 events....feb sale...garden party....yardsale!!! and the christmas openhouse.....

if i could get into the archives from the old country business forum i would love to relate some of the wonderful events we heard about from the members....... but i dont think they saved the archives....


*****THE UNEXPECTED.and change . maybe this is easier with antiques....a great example was when we bought 4000 old coke crates....or when i got a pile of 7 victorian caskets..or one of our cupboards in hot pink.....anyone who remembers seeing that , probably wants to come back and see whats happening ...i love buying interesting stuff....just for the fun of it sometimes ...

something i hear customers say is that we always have something different, that the store is never the same.,....we work hard on that GOOD BUZZ....and our store really does change , and fast... when big furniture sells..that happens a lot and keeps the store stirred up....or when a big truckload comes in......
in the more static parts like where the smalls sell its harder to keep it exciting.........we do try to drastically rearrange sometimes....i try for once a year at least...


******SOME HANDMADE.....i know chinese is cheaper....but i love big handmade things....like our 6 ft long signs made out of old fence and old tin....and fun signs made here in carribean colors....plus our own big neat architectural cabinets from old parts...having lots of stuff that is truly one of a kind is what i really like....
A NICHE......i think this is crucial....what ever you are good at or want to be known for....just go over the top for it...

have the biggest selection, or the best selection,or the cheapest prices,or the most beautiful , any of those could help build a niche for a store....a niche seems to be the secret of a lot of going stores...
here are some stores i know and their plot to become a destination in their field.......
..a gift store + vera bradley
a gift store+full fabric service
a gift store+making lake flags...
a girly gift store....with fabulous display and gift bags that look as good as the gift...plus shes a great marketer who gets the ceos and dr.s and other bosses to buy her gorgeous gift baskets for their office workers..........
a gift store.... with antiques and gold pandora beads....she mentioned a case of beads with 60,000$ in inventory...
a gift store +a great gourmet section
a gift store + a gift basket business
a gift store+ a big pampered pet business....
a gift store + supplies and lessons....
im not sure i know very many who just make it on gifts alone...
if anyone knows a book on destination businesses i would love to read it........
we are a destination store to a nice degree..it could be to a lot NICER degree!!! ..but i know first you have to get the customers in ....
some ways to GeT THE customers IN , in THE FIRST PLACE..
.HOW WE DID IT....
  • word of mouth, satisfied or even happy excited customers....our referral system...this is the best....
  • our bill boards
  • repeating ads in newspapers.......weve had tons of 6 week runs of small display ads..... over and over.locally and in nearby newspapers.......
  • big ad campaignes for our events...using our mailinglist right from the start.....
  • the greenoak website http://www.greenoakantiques.com/ which is mainly a billboard for the store.... not a selling site..barely even organized....but it does show what the store is like.....it could be even simpler like our daughters http://www.bellachicinteriors.com/ both are mainly eyecandy...+ the basic info...
  • .flyers, which we try to put out lots of places...
  • networking , wherever we go...

then they get here....and its all about if they liked it enough to come back....thats where destination strategies come in...

A NEW STORE TALK SITE;;;;;;

http://strictlybusiness.ipbfree.com/index.php?act=idx

where you can talk to other stores.....

word on the street.... vera report....... carol who works here at the store went to the big vera bradley outlet sale yesterday.....she said the crowd was way down....and that the stock didnt look like returns because she saw big unopened boxes under tables....also said there werent as many people buying huge piles like last year..... also she said the hottest items were;;;;glasses cases,umberellas, dog collars and curling iron covers......

then when she got home they had sent an email aout that they were taking further markdowns......bags she got for 18 on the sale day were 10.....

we dont sell vera but i have friends who do....and this info is mainly for them...

3 comments:

Meadowview Farm said...

O.K. Ann...here's the thing, you have heard the line, "we are the ones we have been waiting for" -- and I do believe in this philosophy. So, here's my thinking, you have been seeking a forum for business ideas, you have been seeking expert, detailed ideas....and guess what, you are the one you have been waiting for -- it is you. Run with it!

Kari

ann at greenoak said...

thanks kari..
but .its so neat and totally helpful to talk to other stores.....thats why im pushing strictly business so much.....
ann

Sandy and Joe said...

Great post, Ann. Lots of good info. Thanks for the note on our blog. Come and see us at Springfield. xo