Your register is ringing, customers are traveling through your boutique, spirits are high, business is good… then, the ‘Off Season’ arrives. This is when many retailers feel discouraged. Retail can definitely be a roller coaster! Whether it is the seasonality of your location, the economy, or the nature of your business, most retail boutiques will encounter slower revenue producing periods. This is a teachable moment! The slower times are an opportunity to prepare for the next wave of business and discover innovative ways to grow and improve your tactics.
Five Tips to Achieving Success during ‘Off Season’
Tip #1: Social Media
Use Apps that pertain to your customers. Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest are effective forms of Social Media that generate buzz and drive traffic. Having a good social media strategy is an efficient way to promote your business. Evaluate your weekly revenue and focus on the slowest days. Use those specific times to create a plan and begin posting.
- Post pics of new arrivals/best sellers…visuals matter
- Offer free shipping on posted items
- Create posts for special events/sales
- Encourage interaction through contests or requesting opinions
- On your upcoming market trip, post a pic of an item you plan to bring in… ask which color/design to choose
- Introduce your sales team, be personal and connect
- Post videos on Facebook of new arrivals, share tips and trends
Tip #2: Knowledgeable Staff & Customer Service
Customer Service is paramount. During the slower times, it is imperative for you to deliver an exceptional shopping experience. Your spa boutique should be established as a retailer of choice. A major retail complaint is the ‘lack of assistance’ from the staff. Exemplary customer service retains customers and brands your boutique as a great place to shop.
Achieving Exceptional Customer Service
- Be engaging, personalize the experience, learn and use customer’s names
- Implement a routine of educating staff relating to all product carried, operational procedures, customer service protocol and seasonal offerings. A well-trained staff is an asset you want!
- Send ‘thank you’ notes and always return phone calls
Tip #3: Events
Hosting events are a great reason for your customers to visit your boutique during off seasons.
- Host exclusive events for VIP customers, with limited product availability
- Exclusivity is key. ‘By Invitation Only’ makes customers feel appreciated
- Once a week, extend your hours for working moms
- Offer refreshments
- Create a specialized event around a local charity or school
- Host a “pop up shop” promoting a new line
- Plan a multi-day side walk sale. Offer demonstrations throughout the event that will lead to increased traffic
- Rewards, loyalty programs, fashion & trunk shows can also be great tools
Tip #4: Visual Presentation
Your window, and other public displays introduce you to all. A well-executed display must be inviting.
- Keep it fresh and clean
Tip #5: Merchandise Assortment
Your merchandise selection should be unique as well as completely differentiate your boutique from the competition.
- Create you assortment offering the most relevant collections for your target market
- Rotate merchandise often, while ensuring key products are visible upon entering your store