The Business of Retail Is Going to Be Brutal in 2008 -- Retailers Need Creative New Ideas to Beat the Odds
Pam Danziger's latest book, Shopping, is packed with strategies retailers can use to achieve success in a tight retail market
Last week Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke went to Capitol Hill and gave a guarded assessment of the economy. He forecast "sluggish growth" for the next several months. This means a more competitive market for the nation's retailers, as shoppers hold back from making discretionary purchases -- buying things they don't really need -- in favor of spending their money only for practical, needs-based purchases.
The pain of reduced discretionary spending is already being felt in the luxury sector where American luxury consumers cut their spending on luxury goods and services more than 20 percent from the first half of 2007 to the second, according to the latest survey of affluent consumer spending by Unity Marketing.
Danziger's new book 'Shopping' helps retailers be at the top of their game
"This year more than ever retailers need to be at the top of their game," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience.
"With shoppers super-cautious about their spending, retailers need to give them a reason to come shopping -- but shopping alone can't be the reason. They need to draw them into the store by offering an experience that makes shopping there fun, engaging and entertaining. That is the key for retailers to survive a slow market and what my book 'Shopping' is all about."
Research into the mind of the shopper has shown that two factors are pivotal when it comes to getting people to spend more money when they shop:
- Increase the amount of time spent in the store; and
- Increase the shopper's interaction in the store with the merchandise and the staff.
Danziger says, "In research for my new book 'Shopping', I discovered seven factors -- what I call the Pop Equation -- that extraordinary stores share that makes a special shopping experience for their customers. My book studies how different retailers have used each of those seven factors in the Pop Equation to 'make their shop pop.' Retailers can follow these ideas and strategies in order to get their customers to spend more time in their store and increase their level of interaction in the store. And that will mean more sales, more profits and more success."
A 'shop that pops' offers shoppers an extraordinary shopping experience
In Shopping, a retailer that focuses on enhancing the shopping experience is decribed as a 'shop that pops!' Danziger says, "A 'shop that pops' is one that is transformed from an ordinary store into an extraordinary shopping experience. A 'shop that pops' becomes a destination for loyal customers to visit again and again, not because they need to buy anything, but because they want the thrill of shopping there once more. A shop that pops thrives because all the while shoppers are getting their experiential thrill, they are also shopping and spending money."
Powered by in-depth research about what shoppers want when they shop, Danziger's Shopping profiles extraordinary retailers who have overcome obstacles to succeed, such as:
- Prairie Edge in Rapid City, South Dakota, offers authentic Native American arts and crafts with a big vision. Their goal is not only to sell rare and fine objet d'art, but also to preserve the heritage of the native peoples and to provide a fair price to their artisans. Prairie Edge is one of the early pioneers of 'fair trade' at retail that makes their customers feel involved in the store's greater mission.
- Charleston, South Carolina's Tiger Lily, a florist shop that has won both local and national awards for their stunning arrangements and superior service. They succeeded only after they rejected what other people told them they needed to do to run a florist shop, like sell balloons, giftware and other non-flower items. Instead they got rid of all the extraneous non-flower stuff and focused exclusively on delivering to their customers ‘awesome flowers.’ With their new laser focus on flowers, Tiger Lily's customers responded with passionate loyalty.
- Damsels in This Dress, Worthington, OH, has transformed from being just a fashion boutique. They offer their customers more than a new dress — they help their customers discover their own personal style. They bring out the inner diva hidden inside every woman.
"For the nearly 20 retailers profiled in Shopping, they have learned the secret of successful retailing and that is, it is less about what you sell and more about how you sell it. In other words, it is all about creating a shopping experience for the customer," Danziger says.
Retailers: Does your shop pop? Take the 'Shops that Pop' Quiz
How well is your store doing to create an experience for your customers? How can you enhance the experience of shopping in your store?
Hear what specialty retailers said about Shopping:
- From a boutique owner -- "Thank you, thank you. I am very impressed and can't thank you enough for your attention. As a co-owner of a retail boutique that has combined diverse divisions of an art gallery, floral design studio and upscale boutique, I have found your information to be pertinent, idea provoking and challenging as well ... There are not enough resources out there for the small business owner that truly provides a benefit as your work has."
- From a florist -- "Your book Shopping is great. My wife and I just returned from a long week-end in London. I read about your book and ordered it with quick shipping so I could read it on the plane. I started highlighting the important points that I wanted to pass along to everyone here at our shop and ended up having notes on almost every page."
- From a garden center owner – "I bought your Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Shopping Experience and it has really changed how I look at my garden centre. I'm going to make sure that mine is the most unintimidating place to shop for plants… I've got tons of enhancements planned and they should be great!"
For media: Review copies are available on request.