Guerrilla Retailing in a Recession

How to Beat the Bad Times

My friend Alan Berg, from The Knot, the bridal industry’s leading website, sent me this question:

“As the year winds down, and the government has finally realized that we’re in a recession, I’m reaching out to you for some thoughts on what wedding professionals can and should be doing to prepare for a successful 2009.”

Guerrilla Retailers in Bridal and Prom are doing three low-cost things to be more competitive in the new year:

Redecorate

Time to freshen up the store with new paint, perhaps new carpets and drapes, re-arrange the lighting, and perhaps add a new riser, a comfy reception area or a confined play area for kids. Lighten up and brighten up with new posters and pictures, and re-dress all the mannequins. Change out the tubes in any fluorescent fixtures with “warm white” or “daylight” lamps. Clean out the back room, all the way to the corners.

Refresh

Sort through all stock very carefully, reviewing your sales records to determine what’s moving and what isn’t. Clear out any dresses that have gone out of style, or are no longer appropriate for your market. Review your purchasing practices; aim for a broad mix of products within a narrower niche. Make plenty of room for new stock. Dump damaged or stained samples by having a special sale, or donating them to a worthy charity.

Retrain

Sharpen up skills. Review all new products in detail. Run your entire new-hire training for everyone. Put your associates into “tag-teams” working together to learn each others’ best practices. Assign reading from industry magazines, or chapters of books on sales. Invest in sales training materials on CD or DVD, and assign them, one disc at a time, to each of your salespeople. Send them to an outside seminar or class if you can. Then mystery-shop the competition.

In a tight economy people will be spending what money they have with a keen eye for value, so make sure your store creates an upbeat atmosphere of optimism.

–-Orvel Ray Wilson, CSP
author of Guerrilla Retailing



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