A view of the industry through the
eyes of independent and chain retailers.
What To Do on Your Customers'
How to entice them into your store
for summer fun.
by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender (July 6,
We've been hearing the term "Staycation" – a vacation
spent close to home – a lot lately. It might be a drag for the
tourist industry, but it's good for you! If families are traveling
less, and staying closer to home, that means more customers will be
looking for things to do this summer to keep themselves and their
kids occupied. Here's where you come in:
Make Your Store the Go-To Place for Summer Fun
Julie and Robin Cates are two amazing sisters who own "On
the Pot" Paint & Pottery Studio in Salina, KS. If we could
bottle their creativity and enthusiasm we'd be gazillionaires. They
host in-store events all year long, but in the summer their kid's
parties, grown-up parties, studio tours, Ya-Ya Nights, and summer
camps book up fast. And then they brainstorm what to do next –
there are no bad ideas at On The Pot. Julie and Robin can turn just
about anything into an in-store event. Visit them here at www.paintourpot.com.
And by the way, Julie's fun, funky, and functional custom pieces
are selling like hotcakes. Or hot Cates. She made a 6' tall clock
for the Contemporary Ceramic Studios Assn. Convention charity
auction last year; it sold for more than $8,000. To another
retailer! You can see Julie's masterpieces at www.thatsfab.net.
Kids Summer Camp
Every July and August Michaels Stores host an in-store Kids
Summer Crafts Camp. Kids are divided by age group (5-8 year olds are
held daily from 9:30 to 11:30 am; and sessions for 9-12 year olds
are held daily from 1:30-3:30 pm). Craft projects correspond with a
daily theme: Tropical Day, Game Day, A Day at the Circus, and Bags
& Butterflies are just a few of the fun things in store for this
year's campers. Visit www.michaels.com/art/online/static?page=store_camp07.
You can do this, too. Fill the days (or afternoons) with a
variety of projects, including things that kids love, but are not
necessarily sold in your store. If you're a scrapbook retailer,
branch out, and let the kids embellish flip-flops or tie-dye
T-shirts in addition to creating a "What I Did on My Summer
CHA's "Craft Till Until You Drop Weekend"
CHA has created a turnkey in-store promotion for retailers called
"Craft Till You Drop Weekend." This event is designed to
run on the same days as the CHA Craft SuperShow (July 31 - August 2)
and it will be nationally publicized. For more info and to download
your Craft Till You Drop Weekend Toolkit – everything you need to
organize your event all in one place – visit www.craftandhobby.org/promotions.html.
Hit the Streets
We've talked about Bag-a-Craft for a long, long time. Bag-a-Craft
involves making your own craft kits, bagging 'em up, and taking them
to your local day care centers. Offer to teach a free craft project
on the spot, or schedule it for a later date. In addition to a craft
project to take home to Mommy, add a coupon good for a free class or
a free day at your in-store summer camp. Bag-a-Craft is also a great
idea for senior assisted-living centers.
It's All About the Sizzle!
For each event you run this summer, appoint one associate the
official "Sultan of Sizzle." The Sultan's job is to put
the icing on the cake; the sizzle on the steak – to take your
event from fun to fabulous. Give the Sultan a little cash and turn
him/her lose; we don't care if its 50 bucks or 500 big ones – give
him/her enough to light up the joint!
Here's the thing: Many retailers won't weather the current
economic dilemma very well; some won't survive at all. But you will.
Because you won't put off what needs to be done today until
tomorrow. You won't wait to see what the guy down the street does
before you make a move. You won't blame your mall or shopping center
or downtown association for not doing enough to help you; and you
won't sit on your hands hoping that things will take care of
themselves. You'll survive, and maybe even thrive, because you
decided to take action.
CHA Summer Show, Orlando.
A."4th Quarter Calendar: EVERYTHING You Need to Run
In-Store Events that Build Sales!" Mon., July 27, 2:00-3:00 pm.
Business Seminar S103
B. "Retail Rescue: How to Find Opportunity in Tough
Economic Times," Tues., July 28, 12:00-1:00 pm. Business
C. "Stories of Triumph & Success: Meet Successful
Independent Retailers and Learn What They Do Right!" Wed., July
29: 12:00-1:00 pm. Business Seminar S112. Visit www.chashow.org.
(Note: Professional speakers, authors, and consultants,
Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender are nationally recognized experts
on customer diversity, marketing & promotion, and everything
that affects and interacts with consumers in the retail environment.
Each year Kizer & Bender speak to thousands through their
"Retail Adventures in the REAL World™" keynotes and
seminars. Their unique consumer insights are widely featured in the
media, including the ABC National News special report, "How
Stores Hook You." Their book, Champagne Strategies on a Beer
Budget!, has helped thousands of retailers improve their bottom
line, and their "Retail Adventures™" Blog is
visited by tens of thousands of readers each month. In 2004 they
were named two of the "Most Influential People in Retail
Today," and their popular magazine column, "Georganne
& Rich on the Road," won the American Society of Business
Publication Editors (ASBPE) Award of Excellence in 2004 and again in
You'll find thousands of strategies, tactics, tips. and
techniques to help you grow your business on their Retail Adventures™
They mean it when they say to call if you want to talk about your
store. They know how tough it is right now, and they're happy to
brainstorm ideas with you – they want you to succeed! To read
previous articles by Rich and Georganne, click on the titles in the
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