The trends, the issues, and productive business
New Years Resolutions For Scrapbook Retailers
Strategies to make 2004 more profitable and
by Mike Hartnett (December, 2003)
1. Be open to new ideas, new product categories. Your current
customers will eventually "scrap" the backlog of photos
they still have in drawers. Then they'll be limited to photos they
haven't taken yet. Be sure you have something to offer them in
addition to scrapbooking.
That means investigating other areas, such as cardmaking,
framing, altered art, and stamping.
2. We're hearing of people who have bought digital cameras
and are keeping the photos in their computer. What a terrible idea!
Most consumers do not have top-of-the-line printers at home that
will do justice to their photos. Investigate buying a couple of
top-quality photo printers and computers so consumers can use their
digital cameras, visit your store, and emerge with photos on paper
for their scrapbooks.
3. Take a hard, objective look at your store; is it conducive
to attracting newcomers? Some novices would like to do something
with their photos, but will be easily discouraged if they think
scrapbooking has to be time-consuming, complicated, and expensive.
Are you still offering beginner classes? Do you display lots of
simple, basic scrapbook layouts where potential customers see them
when they first walk in your store? Are you and your clerks patient
with even the dumbest questions?
4. Plan on attending at least one major trade show a year –
the HIA show in Dallas in February and the ACCI show in Chicago in
July are the majors. (If HIA and ACCI merge, both shows will be
called CHA shows, summer and winter.) Also plan on attending any
other shows – Memory Expos, Great American Scrapbook
Conventions, MemoryTrends, stamp shows – within driving
distance. There are stationery and framing shows, too.
While attending these shows, take more than just the technique
workshops. Most shows offer valuable business seminars that in the
long run could be far more important to your business than how to
use the latest new product.
5. Spend a day visiting every possible competitor. That
includes toy, variety, and stationery stores. Pay careful attention
to the chains and your fellow independents.
You won't beat the chains on price. How will you make your store
unique? Fill a niche?
6. Take a long hard look at your marketing plans. Are you
getting the most bang for your buck? In-store and email newsletters
are great for your existing customers, but what about attracting new
7. Take a long hard look at your life. Are you beginning
to burn out? Is it affecting your family? Perhaps you need to think
about taking a workshop on time management or delegating authority.
Hiring another employee may hurt your profits in the short run, but
if it gives you your life back, it's worth it.
(Note: To read previous entries in this column, click on
the titles in the upper right-hand corner. If you'd like to comment
on any of these, ask questions or raise issues, email Mike Hartnett