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The trends, the issues, and productive business strategies.

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Scrapbooking in 2010

Sound advice for retailers and vendors to survive and prosper in the next four years.

by Lisa Kanak, The Cropper's Corner (September 18,  2006)

Scrapbooking in 2010 will not be all that different from today (as far as the crafters are concerned). There will be an influx of digital scrappers, scrappers who are "hard-core" crafters, and the largest percentage will utilize computer technology, but that will still enjoy the tactile process (and community) scrapbooking provides.

The question remains as to what scrapbook stores (and manufacturers) can do to take advantage of the changes in technology. There are many, many answers, but one thing we absolutely must do is change the industry focus toward finding new customers. Finding new customers can be the most expensive in terms of advertising, but it is absolutely necessary in order to foster continued and sustained growth in the category.

We need to stop fighting, and come together with a cohesive scrapbooking message, and pool advertising dollars as a group of retailers and manufacturers to reach our target audience. We need to develop separate messages for different target markets, and show how scrapbooking is more than just something for affluent, stay-at-home moms.

It is a craft for young and old -- men and women. The industry has all of the pieces that make it possible to reach out to a very large pie, but we lack the leadership to develop and implement this type of strategy.

Retailers.

As storeowners there are absolutely things retailers can do now, to help prepare them for the future. Technology centers like Luci, Scrapbook Central, and others will provide a means for more digital services. Selling technology that is archival (scanners, printers, inks, etc.) will help

sustain business through high-margin consumables (paper & inks).

Increase the standards for customer service. Customers come to us to help solve their problems. For many customers, this means having a scrapbook designer that can create the albums for them many of these customers would be happy with a digital scrapbook where all they need to do is choose the theme, and give you the photos to scan into the albums. Some customers would prefer the dimensional, handmade look (and are willing to pay for it). Either way, by having a technology center like Luci and/or Epson Scrapbook Central, you can offer those who "need it now" that option. Having a standard training program to produce consistently trained employees is going to be critical.

For customers who want to scrapbook as we know it today, we need to give better help solving their scrapbooking problems. We need to go beyond the, "here's the baby section" and really fine tune the questions we ask to truly help them.

Brainiac Retailing has provided a fresh concept in helping us help our customers be happy scrappers.

And don't forget to get your customers organized! One reason scrappers don't buy is because they feel guilty they haven't used what they have already purchased. And, they haven't used it because they don't know what they have!

Cropper Hopper has put together an excellent class series that will help you get your customers organized (and then you can urge them to sell their "not-so-loved" products in your store's yard sale, so they can purchase more from you later).

Vendors.

There is much manufacturers can do to support the scrapbook retailers who are still the heart of the industry. Joint advertising and loyalty programs are all wonderful (and necessary), but don't forget about channel confusion; there is nothing worse (especially for small to medium sized manufacturers) than to have a boat load of product in two stores in close proximity to one another. The product sells too slowly for both stores -- and instead of building a long term relationship with multiple sales orders, the stores stop purchasing because they are now convinced your product doesn't sell in their store. Retailers need to diversify their holdings from especially the small to medium manufacturers in order to create a unique selection, and a unique reason for customers to shop at their store.

More is not necessarily better. Remember, as a general rule, stores will make more money selling embellishments than paper. Having fewer paper designs released and more embellishments (dimensional stickers, etc.) can really help the profitability of retailers.

Don't forget to think about merchandising BEFORE going to press. You are NOT in the fixture business. Think about standardized rack systems that are easily obtainable from most manufacturers. Think about product widths and heights and standard slatwall when creating your package dimensions. Product that can be easily merchandized is much easier to purchase and put into store displays. This translates to a higher visibility for consumers and more sales!!

And, let's get back to TWO trade shows, and schedule releases so they coordinate with upcoming seasons and holidays. Spread out shipping times to make products easier to budget for and to keep stores looking fresh longer. The small amounts of new products that aren't advertised UNTIL they are in stores will keep collectors and the all-new-all-the-time customers happy, without overwhelming stores, and allow products to have a longer shelf life. Remember, we don't need new Christmas papers in January we need them by September.

Best wishes for happy, healthy scrapping in 2010.

(Note: Agree or disagree with Lisa's comments? Email your thoughts to CLN at mike@clnonline.com. To read previous "Memory" columns, click on the titles in the right-hand column.)

xxx

 

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