I was reading a recent article at sfgate.com talked about a couple manutailers (those who make their products and sell them in a retail storefront) and how the terms “green” or natural as it relates to clothing is so different than the “green/natural” of yesterday. My thought was to write about going green…but as I continued reading, the following statement far down in the article hit home:
“If you’re a small business, you need to think about what you can offer differently, and what we try to do is to bring community into the store,” Chris says. “We try to make the process very transparent because everybody has less time to look at things, less time to sew. It’s about feeling comfortable that you’re getting something that’s small, indigenous and that really has a soul and a person behind it.”
So, what are you doing to make your experience unique?
There’s a small chain of stores mainly in Southern California called Muttropolis. These are upscale pet boutiques that bring a unique assortment of pet products for cats and dogs together in a small retail environment. But they excel by creating their own Muttropolis community for the community at large by hosting a variety of events. One of my favorites is the Mutt Mingle: BYOB (bring your own breed) where you can meet other customers who own the same breed. What a great way to bring people into the store, have the store staff provide advice and get people from the community to know each other. This is only one of a handful of events and clinics the company offers — and that’s something that truly makes the company unique.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
What are you doing to make your experience unique and bring your community into the store? In terms of uniqueness, think product mix, lighting, music, product displays, customer service and yes, events. Events are such a great way to drive traffic to your store. Can you host an educational event or clinic? Muttropolis not only has the Mutt Mingle, but they also host pet portraits sittings where you and your pet can have your photo taken, and clinics about pet teeth cleaning, caring for a new puppy and more. Every time your customers come to an event, you’re building a relationship with them (and research and store data confirms that loyal customers shop more often and spend more per transaction).
Now about that green stuff. The trend to go green is reaching a deafening roar. Everywhere you turn all you hear is climate change, carbon offset credits, carbon neutral, environmentally conscious, organic and the like. So, do you need to go green? We’re still in that phase where the greens are the choice over the non-greens…meaning, it’s a point of differentiation. Capitalize on it!
Do you have a product category, specific brands or individual products that are environmentally conscious and you can pull together to create a green statement in your store? Do it. The din of green is so loud, your customers are tuned in and the awareness is so high, you’re sure to draw their attention to those products.