Monthly Archives: August 2010

Trader Joe’s – A Neighborhood Store?

Dear Retailers,

I recently read this article on Trader Joe’s and I would encourage you to do the same. For those who have shopped at Trader Joe’s before, you know that there is something different about this grocery store. It’s smaller, it’s happier, it’s generally more fun, it has interesting signs, the sales staff is knowledgeable, and you always end up buying something you never expected to or never knew existed.

No matter what anyone says about their product offerings (especially it’s wine offerings), there is something to learn from Trader Joe’s as a retailer. The company’s attraction goes far beyond it’s product offerings. It’s unique in how it displays their products, trains it’s employees, and even lights the store. I must admit, before reading this article I had no idea how large a company Trader Joe’s is (it’s as big as Whole Foods). It made me very interested in how they manage to make a national retailer still feel like a neighborhood shop.  I’m now curious as to what makes a retailer a neighborhood store? Also, what aspects of them do customers love? Any thoughts?

Read the Trader Joe’s Article Here

Preparing For the Holidays Now

While its only August and you’re probably enjoying the summer weather, its not too early to begin thinking about the holidays. For most of you, the holidays are probably your busiest time of the year and since it spans only a few weeks, every day is important.

By having a plan, you can increase sales and reduce the number of product availability issues (lost sales) that can occur during the holiday season.  Here are just a few ideas to consider to help your business prepare for a successful holiday selling season:
1. Pre-order: Not only will you have your products ordered before your manufacturer/distributor has run out, knowing your product line ahead of time allows you to do some early advertising and preparation of displays. Nothing is worse than trying to place an order for a hot holiday item, only to find out that it may not be available.  By knowing what you’re ordering for the holidays, you can also market a product early. This lets you create anticipation around an item before it hits the shelves. 
2. Create a look for your store: Remind people what time of the year it is. Have a few well thought out decorations to help put your customers in the holiday mood. A warm holiday display will also help invite people into the store. Decorations will advertise the fact that you have good items for gifts. If you have the time, turn your decorations into a marketing tool.  Have your decorations suggest a gift idea or two by strategically placing products throughout your store that offer creative mixing and matching thoughts.  For instance, put some wine stoppers or corkscrews into a stocking or two!
3. Give customers gift ideas: Everyone knows how difficult gift buying can be. So, if you provide easy, creative gift ideas for your customers, they will be both thankful and likely to purchase what you have created. For example, if you sell wine, offer a six bottle package themed; ” wines around the world”. Pick 6 bottles (1 from each wine producing continent) and sell it as a gift set. You can do regional groupings as well. Try an old world wines European nation tour. Feel like grouping fewer bottles? You can also create a three bottle west coast tour (California, Oregon, Washington) . If you tend to sell more accessories, make a wine accessory gift pack. Feature a corkscrew, a foil cutter, a stopper, a pour spout, or any other accessories packaged together to make a low stress gift for a wine drinker. Do you like games? Check out Corks Jester’s Wine Teasers game. This trivia game for up to 20 players makes a great party gift.
4. Create a gift giving center: Around your POS area, make space for ribbons, paper, and holiday themed gift bags. Have your salespeople ask if a customer’s purchase is for a gift. Then, offer either complimentary or for purchase packaging to help make gift giving for your customers that much easier.
If you can offer both gifts and gift packaging/wrapping, the ease of a one stop shop will bring customers back again and again. While not every idea above is feasible for every store, applying these suggestions will help your company during the busy holiday season.   For all of us in retail, we have to remember to try to take advantage of every day during the season to generate additional revenue.