Why are some retail stores more successful than others, even in a downturn and despite competitors include online stores? There must be better ways than 1 day deals, giving up 40% GP and then paying another 10-20% as a privilege to cherry pickers who are only loyal to the next hot deal.
Here are 5 ideas you might like to consider, that are easy to do and could make a real difference for you.
1. Got a cafe next door? How about giving away a free coffee voucher redeemable at the nearest cafe, to each person who spends more than $10 on shoes. Pay the cafe half price for the coffee on the basis that you are sending them business. The person who goes to the cafe is likely to bring someone with them and will probably buy something else at the same time. Print off some nice business card sized discount vouchers (Vistaprint are pretty cheap and good quality) and put them in a business card holder. Encourage the cafe to offer them to people, with an exclusive 10% discount only to customers of the cafe.
2. Collaborate with a podiatrist. Sports shoes do it, but there is no reason why all shoe stores can’t do it, after all you do care about your customers’ feet don’t you? Here are a few ideas:
- A free podiatrist visit to anyone who buys a particular type of shoe, or spends more than x dollars.
- An in-store clinic on a Saturday afternoon
- A discount voucher for customers of the podiatrist
- Commissions either way between the shoe store and the podiatrist as an incentive
3. Mix and match a shop window display with your shoes and clothes from a nearby fashion retailer. Your shoes on their clothes and vice versa.
4. Do a newsletter for your customers in print (for people to take away with them), email for subscribers and online on your website (you have one don’t you?). Do prize draws with sponsored prizes from companies that have related products. Examples could be pedometers, Nordic poles, software licenses such as Map My Run / Map My Walk, sports watches, sports or hiking socks, books or magazines.
5. Think outside of the square. Is there an Irish or tap dancing show on? Do a deal with the promoters, there is every chance they won’t sell out. Do a subsidized deal, buy shoes over a certain value to win a ticket to a show, perhaps to the matinee or the day they expect to be the most quiet. It’s very unlikely that anyone is going to go on their own, so it would be worth it for the promoter to work with you on this.
Now that we have you thinking smarter, go and visit your neighbor retailers and do a little brainstorming together. How can you help each other do profitable business. I’ll bet you can come up with lots more ideas.
6. I promised you five ideas but I’m going to give you a 6th idea for free, that’s an extra 20% free, just for you. Talk to your customers. Don’t treat them like people who come in once and buy shoes. Even people who hate shopping are likely to buy shoes at least twice a year. If they stay in the neighborhood for 5 years, they are worth 10 pairs of shoes. Get to know them, find out about their walking habits, give them good advice, show them that you care.
Here’s Al Bundy to give you his ideas on developing a close personal relationship with your shoe store customers: