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Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


A view of the industry through the eyes of a chain buyer.

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We're All in This Together

We may sell different products, but our challenges and strategies are the same.

by Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender (September 17, 2007)

In all of our travels, and at all of the conventions where we present, one thing's for sure: each retail segment, whether it's craft stores, art supply stores, ceramic stores, or hardware stores, retailers insistent upon keeping their identities. That's a good thing. We would never ask, or even suggest, that a retail store lose its industry-specific identity. However, we do stress that every retailer has a lot more in common with retailers from other industries than they do that's different. As good business people, we must all understand that.

Retailers from every industry have a lot on their plates, including customers who demand their undivided attention and expect new and wonderful product and applications each and every day; daily store operations; advertising and marketing responsibilities; never-ending employee issues; plus the desire to lead a balanced family life. And if they're open, they can help one another.

Why re-invent the wheel when you can share ideas with someone who has walked in your shoes?

There's a danger in thinking that a technique used by another industry will not work for you. Our creative industry retailers are savvy enough to be able to take any idea, from any industry, tweak it, and make it work for them in their own stores. Right now, all of the best ideas in customer care are coming from the hospitality industry. Does that mean creative retailers should ignore what this industry is doing? Of course not.

We suspect that the retailers at Memorytrends will be cataloging the unique customer comforts they enjoy in Las Vegas – and what they find will end up in some way, shape or form, in their own stores.

For several of years we spoke at a trade show that required us to only share stories about their particular industry. It was far too limiting, for us, and for the retailers. The stores grew stagnant because they could never look farther than their own front doors.

At the CHA Winter Show a couple of years ago, we led a Las Vegas retail store tour. We took a bus full of retailers to Mandalay Place (a shopping mall located in the sky bridge that connects the Mandalay Bay and Luxor casinos. The stores were chosen specifically for their "Shoppertainment" value); The Forum Shops at Caesars (said to be the highest retail-dollars-per-square-foot in the world); and New York-New York Hotel & Casino (THE best example of pure branding consistency we've ever found).

There wasn't a craft/scrapbook/quilt/needlepoint store in any place we stopped, yet our "tourists" learned a lot that they took back to implement in their own stores. We're doing a similar tour in January 2008 for the flooring industry at Surfaces Expo. And in November, we're doing a half day session on store design and visual merchandising for the International Pool & Spa Expo, followed by a behind-the-scenes tour of Walk Disney World. Think retailers who sell swimming pools can learn anything about running a store from Disney? You bet they can.

The same time-honored visual merchandising techniques we use in creative industry stores also work in apparel and appliance and gift stores. And even in, yes, funeral homes; we're currently working on a long term project creating plan-o-grams for the funeral industry. The same techniques that work on paints and accessories work just as well for caskets, vaults, and cremation urns.

We hope that every single retailer in our industry is willing to take the industry-specific blinders off and keep their eyes open for new ideas. Wherever those ideas come from. We tell every one of our seminar attendees to call us anytime they want to brainstorm new ideas for their stores. And we mean it. All they have to do is call! Here's the number: 888.215.1839.

Kizer & Bender's Memorytrends Seminars.

Monday, Sept. 17, 1:00- 2:30 pm. Session B6: "Turned On & Excited!"

Regardless of how well prepared you are to do business or how well defined your business plan, if the people in your store – from stock person to store manager – are not Turned On and Excited, your customers won’t be either. We’ll share tips on recruiting, hiring, and keeping top performers. Learn how to motivate your team, ideas for employee incentives that work, and how to inspire each team members to deliver incredible customer service.

Monday, Sept. 17, 3:00-4:30 pm. Session B8: "The Inside Secrets of Scrapbooking's Charisma Retailers"

Why do some scrapbook stores thrive while others fail? What makes one scrapbook store great and another just a place to buy stuff? Easy. The retailer makes the difference. So, if you’re ready to learn concepts and strategies that sell; if you’re prepared to embrace programs that no competitor can knock off; if you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make YOUR store special, unique, and unforgettable; and if you’re ready to shine, shine, shine, then join KIZER & BENDER and learn what it takes to unleash your inner Charisma!

Wednesday, Sept. 19: 5:30–7:00 pm "Meet the Millennials Panel Discussion Event"

Retail experts Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender introduce you to one of the most powerful generations, the Millennials, by bringing these 20-somethings directly to you. They will share how they shop, why they shop, and what they shop for. Is scrapbooking appealing to them, what styles, what products? What advertising messages do they respond to, how do you reach them, will they be loyal? Straight from their own mouths, you'll learn this and much more.

Thursday, Sept. 20: 8:00-9:30 am "Mardi Gras Madness Retailer Roundtable Breakfast Event"

If learning, laughing, catching beads, and crowning queens sounds like a good time to you, then join Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender for our not-to-be-missed 2007 Mardi Gras Marketing Madness - a MemoryTrends tradition that puts YOU in the spotlight. You'll leave with pages of event and marketing ideas!

Tuesday, Sept.18 & Wednesday, Sept.19 9:00-5:00 pm One-on-One Individual Consultations

Take advantage of this unique opportunity for individual consultation with retail experts Kizer & Bender. They'll help you with customer service, merchandising, employee relations, and much more. For an appointment, email info@kizerandbender.com.



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