A Handful of
now have two retail stores
on Kauai, and this past year has been one of challenges and
triumphs. The opening of our second store in July went very
smoothly at first, but has since run into a perpetual staffing
shortfall. We also had issues with training and employee attitude
that have been a reminder that our employees are the face
of the company.
in mind, here are some things that we are doing to ensure
success going forward.
We do this with our products, our pricing and our staff. The
products we carry in our stores are, for the most part, the
items we sell on our wholesale
site. In the neighborhood where our original store is
located, there are three import stores and a bead shop, plus
several gift stores. Although the products we carry, beads,
jewelry, accessories and home
decor, are available in one form or another from several
of our competitors, no one has a product that is exactly similar.
We also tend to have a wider selection, especially in terms
of beads and jewelry.
is products that are rich, exotic, funky and hip. We also
purposely hold our prices down. Other stores in our neighborhood
typically have prices that are 25% higher than ours (this
is part of their differentiation strategy). Customers comment
almost every day that our products are priced well. We may
miss out on some revenue here or there, but the lasting impression
is that we offer great value.
our staff is friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The friendly
part comes by hiring people with an outgoing personality.
The helpful and knowledgeable parts come with experience and
good training. We also teach them to handle customer complaints,
and empower them to make decisions on their own regarding
returns or discounts on damaged goods in the event no manager
is available. About 90% of the time they make the right decision,
and the other 10% of the time we chalk it up to a learning
We have had great success with in-store promotions and with
frequent buyer cards. I plan a promotion each month that lasts
from three to ten days. Having a promotion for an extended
period allows customers to come back for more and to spread
we started the Holiday season off with a 20% off sale over
Thanksgiving weekend. ItÕs not a huge discount, but it made
our customers happy and give them a reason to visit the store.
store is in a mall, and many of the other retailers like MacyÕs
and Sears also have sales that weekend.
Certificates. If you donÕt offer gift certificates, you
are not participating in an important category of gift giving.
They donÕt cost much to set up (several companies offer inexpensive,
imprinted gift cards or certificates) and they will keep customers
coming to your store well into the new year.
Customers have lots of choices. I want to keep our stores
near the front of people's minds. There is no way to compete
with the ad blitz of heavies like Macy's or Nordstrom, but
well placed ads don't cost much and they go a long way.
display ads in our local newspaper, some radio, and refer
customers to our website. I always look for deals, and our
local media outlets always seem to have specials on package
deals. In November we had two full page color ads in special
inserts of our local paper. I also bought some radio that
was priced right as a monthly package.
Effectively. If you are like me, you hate to wait in line.
There is a coffee place near my shop that always has a queue.
About half the time I am unwilling to wait in the line while
the lone employee does her best to keep up.
busy periods we ramp up our staff so that two people are always
on the floor. During the year we run with a single employee
during off-peak hours, but I don't want customers to leave
because they feel neglected or are unable to get help with
my staffing will cost a little more, but overall it pays off
with satisfied customers, increased sales and a store that
looks nice and is well-stocked.
article written by Mike McGinnis and published originally
We encourage republication but stipulate the piece be copied
in its entirety with links and attribution.)