Friday, November 30, 2007

9 really GREAT reasons to do Strategic Planning for your business

It's December and while most retailers are focused solely on the day to day operations of their business, there are some others who are already focused on planning for next year. These exceptional retailers aren't panicked this month because they have been planning for it all year long. They understand the value that comes from proactive planning instead of reactive decision making for their businesses. These retailers are executing a strategic plan that is playing out in their stores today and every day of the year. And you can too! It just takes a commitment to planning for your store. Why not make 2008 that year? Need more reasons?

Ok, here are my top 9 reasons to do Strategic Planning

1) Strategic planning allows you to sharply focus your efforts on what is most important to the success of your company
2) You can improve tomorrow’s results thru effective and efficient strategic management every day with every employee playing a role in the success of the plan.
3) Your store can achieve it's highest potential-- and you can actually plan what that is!
4) Strategic planning allows you to take control of your company’s destiny by establishing a lean, effective process that fits your business needs and goals
5) Thru the Strategic planning process, you can learn ways to stretch yourself and your company to achieve higher levels of success
6) Deal with rapidly changing developments that will confront your business for years to come
7) Walk away with a comprehensive plan for translating that new strategic direction into personal alignment and involvement for your employees
8) Generate motivation, enthusiasm and commitment for the plan
9) Accomplish all of this without interfering with the conduct of your business

  • If you plan for your success , some key results of a successful Strategic Plan will be
  • Creating a strategic team
  • Find your unique Strategic competencies
  • How to select and exploit the best opportunities
  • Dominate your market
  • Protect your company from potential threats
  • Allocate resources to meet objectives
  • Ability to measure key success factors
  • Learn how to make good assumptions
  • Get from where you are to where you want to be- road map to success and timeline

Start planning today for your businesses success next year -- and beyond!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Strategic Planning- Necessity or Nicety for Your Retail Business?

No matter what type of retail business you own, it is important to do a little business soul searching (we call this strategic planning) to make your business as successful as it can be.
Every business – no matter what- should do some sort of planning for the future. Besides making your day to day job easier—it’s just good business!

If you don’t create a plan, how can you tell your business is on track? How will you tell others where you business is headed if you don’t even know? Or better yet, how will you measure success if you don’t know what the plan is?
Let’s start with some definitions. What is Strategic Planning? Strategic planning is a process whereby you dissect your business to determine its strengths and weaknesses. During this process you set your company's goals, objectives and mission statement. In other words, it's a soul-searching exercise for your business. Strategic planning will help you answer the following questions that are key to your businesses’ success.

1) Why does my company exist?
Why are you in business? Are you in business because there is a need and you're filling the void? Are you in business because your hobby has grown to a whole new level and its time to make it a legitimate business? Look honestly at this question and answer it truthfully. It will save you much heartache- and profit- in the long term.

2) What does my business do?
Key here: Outline your core business. Writing down your core business will keep you and your employees from getting sidetracked. If your business strays from the core and starts to falter always go back to your strategic planning to see how far you've veered from 'what your business does'.
If it’s deemed that changing direction is what you do, then you need to re address our strategic plan to redefine and realign your business goals.

3) How does my business do what it does?
This is your small business philosophy. This is an important question to answer. Once you've come up with your company's philosophy or mission statement, make it well known to all who works for you. If you're true to your mission statement, your clients will see the fruits of your effort in all that you do. In the product that you bring in, with the employees you hire as well as how you merchandise your store.

4) How do I measure my business' success?
How do you know if you're on target? You must establish a quantification of your success. Define goals that are easily measured; increase customers by 15% each year, grow sales by 6% annually, improve profits by 10% annually. These are all goals you can measure. Once you've come up with your unit of measure, review your progress regularly.

5) Why come up with a strategic plan?
Your business' strategic plan will become your company's blueprint. Think of it as your road map and instruction manual. As your business grows and you are faced with difficult decisions, take a look at what you developed and written down during your strategic planning stage. It will serve to remind you and your employees of the company's core values and mission. It will help to redirect your energy and the energy of your employees when faced with tough decisions.

6) When should you to create a strategic plan?
It's easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day operations of your business. Once you're up and running and meeting your customer’s demands, it gets more and more difficult to take the time to go through the business soul searching. You MUST find time even during the busy Holiday season to sit back, review your company mission and to create a plan that will guide you thru the upcoming seasons and year.

With time at a premium, it is better to work smarter than harder. A well thought out strategic plan will help you to work more efficiently rather than harder. Additionally, a strategic plan is a philosophy to share with your employees. Making sure that everyone on the team is marching to the same drummer will help you find success all year long.

Need help with a strategic plan for your retail business? Contact CBCG today.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Making your LIST and checking it twice

It seems like we make lists for everything these days. Groceries, Errands, Christmas presents. But for our businesses, do we make ENOUGH lists? Especially those that can help us save money? I suggest not.
But it's not too late. With just 75 days before Christmas, and lots of advertising still to be done, I offer you a checklist to make your advertising be the most effective it can be.
Use it to save your store money- this holiday season and beyond.

Here are some guidelines for creating memorable advertising that really sells:
1) Make sure your ads are "on strategy" with your business positioning. A good positioning strategy ensures identification of the correct target audience for your advertising, along with a listing of meaningful features and benefits. It can provide reasons why the product is superior and unique, along with an advertising "personality."
Key to success: Communicate a simple, single message. People have trouble remembering someone's name, let alone a complicated ad message. Use the "KISS" principle for ad messages: "Keep It Simple, Simon." For print ads, the simpler the headline, the better. And every other ad element should support the headline message, whether that message is "price," "selection," "quality," or any other single-minded concept.

2) Stick with a likable style. Ads have personality and style. Find a likable style and personality and stay with it for at least a year or more of ads. Changing ad styles and personality too often will confuse potential buyers. It also fights against memorability.
Key to success: Be credible. If you say your quality or value is the "best" and it is clearly not, advertising will speed your demise, not increase your business. Identifying and denigrating the competition should also be avoided. It is potentially confusing and distracting and may backfire on you by making buyers more loyal to competitive products, not less.

3) Ask for the sale. Invite buyers to come to your store, send for more information, or call for information and orders in the ad. Provide easily visible information in the ad for potential customers to buy: location, telephone number, store hours, charge cards accepted, etc.
Key to success: Make sure the ad is competitive. Do your homework. Examine competitive ads in the media that you are planning to advertise in. Make sure your ad stands out from competitive ads. Compare ads for uniqueness, memorability, credibility, and incentive to purchase.

4) Make sure the ad looks professional. If you have the time and talent, computer graphics and desktop publishing software can provide professional-looking templates to create good-looking print ads. Consider obtaining writing, artistic, and graphics help from local agencies or art studios who have experienced professionals on staff, with expensive and creative computer software in-house. They may save you time and money in the long run, with better results.
Key to success: Looks matter. The professional image you portray in your advertising will go a long way in getting your customers to the door.

5) Be truthful. Whatever advertising medium you select, make sure your message is ethical and truthful. There are stringent laws regarding deceptive practices and false advertising.
Key to success: If you don't believe in what you are saying, neither will your potential customers.

6 Sure Ways to Increase Sales

Shift Your Sales Focus for Increased Sales

Want to increase sales dramatically? Then shift your sales focus from attracting new customers to enticing your proven customers to buy again. The best sales prospect is a prospect that’s already converted – in other words, one of your current customers.

Think of it this way; if your business is located in a small town with a population of 1000 people and you sell a sprocket to everyone in that town, man, woman, and child, you’ve sold 1000 sprockets – and saturated your market. Your sprocket selling days are over. Is it time to pack up and move on?

No! If you start focusing your sales efforts on your proven customers, you’ll be able to increase your sprocket sales dramatically. And these sure ways to increase sales will help build customer loyalty, too. Try some or all of these ideas to increase your sales:

1. Set up a sales incentive program.
Give your sales staff a reason to get out there and sell, sell, sell. Why do so many businesses that rely on their sales staff to drive sales have incentive programs in place? Because offering their sales staff the trips and/or TVs for x amount of sales works.

2. Encourage your sales staff to upsell.
Essentially, upselling involves adding related products and/or services to your line and making it convenient and necessary for customer to buy them. Just placing more products near your usual products isn’t going to increase your sales much. To upsell successfully, the customer has to be persuaded of the benefit. For instance, when I last had my carpets cleaned, the cleaner noticed a pet stain. Instead of just cleaning it up, he drew my attention to it, and showed me how easily and effectively the spot cleaning solution removed all trace of the stain. Did I buy the spot cleaning solution? You bet. He persuaded me that buying it was beneficial to me and made it convenient to purchase it. Result: increased sales for the carpet cleaning company.

3. Give your customers the inside scoop.
Recently I was shopping at a retail housewares store. I had picked out an item and was mulling over whether to buy it or not when a salesperson came up to me and said, “I see you’re interested in that blender. We’re having a sale next week and all our blenders will be 20 percent off. You might want to come back then.” Guess what? I did – and bought two other items as well. Lesson: if you have a promotion or sale coming up, tell your customers about it. They’ll come back – and probably bring some friends with them too. (And don't forget - you can give your customers the inside scoop by emailing or calling them, too.)

4. Tier your customers.
There should be a clear and obvious difference between regular customers and other customers – a difference that your regular customers perceive as showing that you value them. How can you expect customer loyalty if all customers are treated as “someone off the street”? There are all kinds of ways that you can show your regular customers that you value them, from small things such as greeting them by name through larger benefits such as giving regulars extended credit or discounts.

5. Set up a customer rewards program.
We’re all familiar with the customer rewards programs that so many large businesses have in place. But there’s no reason that a small business can’t have a customer rewards program, too. It can be as simple as a discount on a customer’s birthday or as complex as a points system that earns various rewards such as discounts on merchandise. Done right, rewards programs can really help build customer loyalty and increase sales.

6. Distribute free samples to customers.
Why do so many businesses include free samples of other products when you buy something from them? Because it can increase sales in so many ways. As the customer who bought the original product, I might try and like the sample of the new product and buy some of it, too. Or I might pass on the sample to someone else, who might try the product, like it, and buy that and other products from the company. At the very least, the original customer will be thinking warm thoughts about your company, and hopefully telling other people about your products.

Attracting new customers is a good thing. But attracting new customers is not the only way to increase your sales, and is, in fact, the hard way of going about it. Shifting your sales focus to enticing your current customers can make increasing your sales easier – and best of all, build the customer loyalty that results in repeat sales.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Know your customers to Grow your sales

In the retail industry, it seems as though we are constantly faced with the issue of trying to find new customers. Most of us are obsessed with making sure our advertising, displays, and pricing all “scream out” to attract new customers. This focus on pursuing new customers is certainly prudent and necessary, but, at the same time, it can wind up hurting us.
In reality, our focus should be on the top 20 percent of our clients who are currently our best customers. Once we have satisfied their need, we can focus on two other important customer groups to help grow our business. Read on to find out which types can mean the most to our bottom line.

Let's start by breaking down shoppers into five main types:

Loyal Customers:
They represent no more than 20 percent of our customer base, but make up more than 50 percent of our sales.

Discount Customers: They shop our stores frequently, but make their decisions based on the size of our markdowns.

Impulse Customers: They do not have buying a particular item at the top of their “To Do” list, but come into the store on a whim. They will purchase what seems good at the time.

Need-Based Customers: They have a specific intention to buy a particular type of item.

Wandering Customers: They have no specific need or desire in mind when they come into the store. Rather, they want a sense of experience and/or community.

Now that we know who our customers are, let's focus on what we can do as merchants to drive sales in each category.

Loyal Customers
Communication is KEY. Contact these customers on a regular basis by telephone, mail, email, etc. These people are the ones who can and should influence our buying and merchandising decisions. Nothing will make a Loyal Customer feel better than soliciting their input and showing them how much you value it. For this group, one mantra delivers above all others: You can never do enough for them! Many times, the more you do for them, the more they will recommend you to others.

Discount Customers
This category helps ensure your inventory is turning over and, as a result, it is a key contributor to cash flow. This same group, however, can often wind up costing you money because they are more inclined to return product. Contact them when necessary, and look to convert them into regular loyal shoppers, but don't give the house away in trying to do so.

Impulse Customers
This is the segment of our clientele that we all like to serve. There is nothing more exciting than assisting an Impulse shopper and having them respond favorably to our recommendations. Focus on merchandising the store to meet their needs. Easy to navigate displays, informational signs, informative sales people will all help to convert this impulsive shopper into a returning loyal cusotmer. Bonus: Continually probe this group about their needs and wants. It can be a great place to get new insights into consumer trends and changes in your market demographics.

Need-Based Customers
People in this category are driven by a specific need. When they enter the store, they will look to see if they can have that need filled quickly. If not, they will leave right away. They buy for a variety of reasons such as a specific occasion, a specific need, or an absolute price point. As difficult as it can be to satisfy these people, they can also become Loyal Customers if they are well taken care of. Salespeople may not find them to be a lot of fun to serve, but, in the end, they can often represent your greatest source of long-term growth.

It is important to remember that Need-Based Customers can easily be lost to Internet sales or a different retailer. Positive personal interaction is required to stop this from happening. Send in your top salespeople when you see these shoppers lurking! If they are treated to a level of service not available from the Web or another retail location, there is a very strong chance of making them Loyal Customers. Need-Based Customers offer the greatest long-term potential, surpassing even the Impulse segment.

Wandering Customers
For many stores, this is the largest segment in terms of traffic, while, at the same time, they make up the smallest percentage of sales. There is not a whole lot you can do about this group because the number of Wanderers you have is driven more by your store location than anything else. Attractive window displays, creative street side marketing tools and advertising ideas can help drive more wanderers to your store.

Keep in mind, however, that although they may not represent a large percentage of your immediate sales, they are a real voice for you in the community. Wanderers genererally shop for the interaction and experience. Shopping is no different to them than it is for another person to go to the gym on a regular basis. Since they are merely looking for interaction, they are also very likely to communicate to others the experience they had in the store. One tip: Manage your time with the wanderer-they can be a time killer!

Retail is an art, backed up by science. The science is the information we have from financials to research data (the "backroom stuff"). The art is in how we operate on the floor: our merchandising, our people, and, ultimately, our customers. For all of us, the competitive pressure has never been greater and it is only going to become more difficult. To be successful, it will require patience and understanding in knowing our customers and the behavior patterns that drive their decision-making process.

Using this understanding to help turn Discount, Impulse, Need-Based, and even Wandering Customers into Loyal ones will help grow our business. At the same time, ensuring that our Loyal Customers have a positive experience each time they enter our store will only serve to increase our bottom-line profits.

Reprinted courtesy of Mark Hunter

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sales Planning; a profit enhancing MUST for your small business

Being a retailer means a life full of planning--- planning for the products you are going to carry, planning the marketing programs you are going to run— planning the store hours and staffing, but do you plan for the biggest thing of all???

What type of sales planning do you do for your store? Do you have a sales plan that everyone in the store knows about and is geared up to achieve?

If you do not plan, the question begs, WHY DO YOU NOT PLAN for your store?

In today’s market, there are sophisticated sales planning tools catering to retailers of every size, shape and product category. While these high tech systems can be expensive, the paybacks that retailers see more than cover the cost of the software. The slightest shift to change a sales plan based on actual results can lead to millions of dollars in inventory savings and staffing savings.

Many large retailers today know that a lack of planning can cost much more than just lost profits—it can lead to a lack of competitive advantage and a loss of market share.

Today’s independent retailers are slower to understand this same phenomenon. The results are proven by turnover statistics and increased profits alike---small independent retailers can achieve the same type of rewards- with just as big a percentage of savings to the bottom line by starting with a much smaller and simpler planning process.

The key is to get started and to put down in some way- a plan by day, by month, and total it to a year plan for the store—

So why plan? Whether you are a big store with a planning system, or a small store with a piece of column filled paper, by planning the sales you wish to achieve, you will do the following:

1. Allow for you, as a business owner, to sit back and review the strategic plans and goals for your store. This will have both short term and long term positive effects.
2. Set up a system built to achieve your monthly expenses and cash flow requirements.
3. Create an ongoing business tool that can be used to help effectively plan inventory levels for the store on monthly basis.
4. Set up an ongoing communication tool for your sales associates to understand the store sales goals and create a sense of team responsibility to achieve the results
5. Set up an objective process for employees to be reviewed and evaluated

The list above is by no means complete, but it gives you an idea of some of the benefits you can expect to see with regular sales planning--- Whatever you do, and whatever system you use to start the process- START NOW-- it can and will have profit saving improvements for your business.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Small Business Success is elusive at Best- what to do?

Small Businesses Have More Challenges Than Ever To Succeed.

The facts are clear:

Fact 1: The Retail Marketplace is crowded- there are more places for consumers to find goods and services than ever before. Big Box Stores, the internet, there are more choices than ever before and this is leading to a generation of shoppers that has little or no store loyalty.

Fact 2: Consumers are bombarded with messaging. The reach of marketing today extends well beyond the traditional newspaper ads or radio spots that many independent retailers succeed on for years. Internet advertising, outdoor advertising, even cell phones are places where consumers now receive information about goods and services they might be buying

Fact 3: TIME matters to customers- Gone are the lazy strolls down main streets across America that led to customers walking in your front door and making an impulse purchase. Purpose driven shopping trips rule the day today and it is harder than ever for merchants of all size and shape to get customers into their front doors without any solicitation to get them there!

Fact 4: Competition is fierce. The growth of the big box retailer as well as the internet only merchant is carving a piece out of the independent retailer’s market share today. With online purchases expected to grow at double digits over the next 5 years, and big box retailers entering the marketplace from around the world, this trend are only going to continue.

Success today requires retailers to deliver an “experience” to their customers. Retailers of all size must “move from a single transaction mindset to establishing ongoing relationships” with their customers. That means retailers must PLAN to attract new customers, they must effectively PLAN for ongoing marketing campaigns and sales programs, and they must PLAN to utilize technology to attract new customers and to retain current customers all the while delivering a personal customize interaction to any customer the store may have.

In effect, retailers today must actively and continuously plan to garner a larger “share of wallet” from every customer they have. Another way to look at this new paradigm shift in the world of retail today is to suggest that “retailers must shift from what moves product to what moves people”

So just how do you move people to purchase in today’s retail environment? That is the question that requires time, energy, research and a well executed response from independent retailers everywhere. Ask for help from a professional if you need to, but DON'T ignore the signs-
Assume that consumers will continue to change--- success today requires you interpret these changes and implement them accordingly for your business!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Green Days are coming

The world is going green- and I don't mean with Kermit the frog movies and videos. In today's media, it seems every article out there about consumer trends and buying patterns involves some element of saving the environment for the next generation and buying environmentally and eco-friendly products. The press continually talks about this "green" trend as being consumer driven and thus, a money making opportunity for all who are affiliated with servicing consumers in today's market. The question is, have you thought about it for your store?

Today's Retail Forward news (this is a wonderful free newsletter chock full of retail information- sign up for it now had a great article regarding manufacturers who are now creating products to meet this new consumer demand for green and environmentally friendly products- and who are making money because of it. (read more

All this talk begs the question for all of you retailers out there----Have you thought about this new trend and what it might mean as a business opportunity for your store?

If you are a women's apparel store, are you carrying (or at least testing) some new "eco-friendly" designers?
If not, spend some time researching the market and be sure to add them to your stop by list at the next market you attend.

Do you own or run a gift store? Have you thought about carrying some reusuable shopping bags-- perhaps even ones with your store logo on them? I could go on and on, but you get the point.

What is the Retailer Call to Action here? Consumers are driving many parts of the new "green retail machine" Don't get caught in the back of the pack- take the lead on this and watch your sales grow because of it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Women Entrepreneurs Rock!

Last week, I had the pleasure of reviewing business plans at a formal competition for one of my favorite women's business organizations in Boston. The Center for Women and Enterprise ( whose mission is to empower women to become economically self sufficient and prosperous thru entreprenuership, was finishing up another one of their fabulous training classes and I was to review and make comments about the plans presented.

This business plan review came at the end of a 13 week training session that CWE sponsors to teach women (and yes, there were a few men in the room) various aspects of entrepreneurship. My task was to review the business plans for viablity and give some comments/suggestions to the budding entreprenuers as they looked to get funding for the business or as they began to launch their ventures.

What I found was amazing. These women (and men) had so much passion for their new businesses and it came thru loud and clear in their delivery. What they may have lacked in previous business ownership or professional business endeavors was more than made up for their drive and desire to see their own businesses succeed.

While listening to the presentations, I found myself thinking about my most successful clients and how they completely understand their market, their target customers and their competition. The successful retailers I work with understand how critical the marketing and brand message is to a profitable business and that the marketing efforts for any business must be painstakingly detailed to have an effective outcome.

While some of the plans I reviewed were quite detailed, many of them were light in their planning for the marketing of their business- They missed the message that all the successful retailers I work with know--effective marketing requires planning and a sustained effort in order to succeed.

I offered a few suggestions to the group about how to improve their overall research and marketing efforts for their businesses-

1) Do a good job of researching your industry-- know the business trends-- is it going to get bigger in the next 5 years? If not, shift your niche-- nobody should be entering into a declining market-- but know what you are getting in to --

2) KNOW YOUR COMPETITION- and this includes the INTERNET-- it's not enough to know all the local businesses in the surrounding towns-- the internet is a competitor for your customers retail dollars and you must be aware of pricing thru this method of retail operation.

3) Good marketing doesn't have to cost a fortune today- in fact, it's less than ever before- a good email marketing campaign can reach 2000 or 20000 potential customers for less than $150 per month! How about that for saving on postage! Find out how.

4) A good marketing campaign must be delivered repeatedly to be successful- I can't tell you how many of the business plans I reviewed said they were going to run ONE big grand opening ad-- If that is all you are going to do, don't waste your money- hire a guy with a large sign to stand out on the road and flag down passers by. That will do more than running one ad in the newspaper one time! It needs to be a coordinated effort-- and for a sustained period of time to be really effective.

I could go on, but I think you get the message- Don't make the same mistakes with your business-- plan now for your business to succeed- focus on a comprehensive brand and marketing message that will target the consumers you WANT and not spend money on a campaign that misses the mark--

Check out all the great classes at CWE in the month of June- if you live near Boston, Providence or Worcester- add this organization to your network today!,com_extcalendar/Itemid,36/extmode,cal/date,2007-06-01/

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cash in on your Niche

Cash in on your Niche

How can independent retailers compete with the big-box giants today? One phrase sums it up- Product is King. Selling products that are unique in nature, offering your customers a fair value for the prices you charge, and by managing the inventory of these products so as to avoid costly end of season markdowns will do just the trick.

Every retailer today knows the value of a dollar. The old phrase, cash is king has never been truer than with the independent retailer community today. Paying attention to daily and weekly sales to assure that there's money in the bank to meet payroll and other expenses, or on building a cash balance during the busy season to get you through the slower times is just as critical as finding the perfect piece to sell.

Obviously, there are many factors that determine whether a small retailer is meeting, or exceeding, its cash requirements and building cash balances on an ongoing basis. But for most, the cash profile of the business can be traced directly back to a series of fundamental decisions on how the store is positioned in the marketplace.

Independent retailers have the ability to maximize sales by responding quickly to customer needs, while offering one on one customer service. Big-box retailers on the other hand (known as category killers for their ability to single handedly drive down prices and create a “commodity” price mentality on almost every item they sell) are less fluid in nature- short of their capability to lower their prices on a dime. Big Boxer’s understand that for these many items, the vast majority of shoppers today are highly price sensitive.

This is where the independent retailer can step in. They must find products to carry in their stores that are not “commodity” but are “quality” and thus resistant to the pricing deflation that is occurring against the big box retailers. There is a growing segment of the consumer market that is indeed looking for unique niche products of high quality sold by a salesperson that is deeply knowledgeable about how that product works.

The lesson here? Independent retailers should avoid competing on the basis of price, because there will always be a competitor with larger, deeper pockets who will be able to undercut you. Competing on the basis of product quality, product knowledge, and customer service enables a small retailer to present to their customers a compelling value proposition and maintain critical price integrity.

Back in the saddle

Just getting back to the blog--- sorry for the delay hope you enjoy-- lets keep the dialogue going ok?

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Re: Size doesn't matter when it comes to market niche

The Gap finds itself in the news again this week. After years of declining sales and market share, they announced that they are moving the CEO of the Banana Republic, Marka Hansen to take over the top spot at the Gap. Hansen has been the bright spot in the company as she led the successful Banana Republic business. The hope is that she can reinvorgoate the struggling Gap brand and help lead the road to a profitable future. Good luck, Marka!

NEWS FLASH to retailers everywhere-- Your store is no different than the Gap. When it comes to defining your place in the market, the old adage that "Size Doesn't Matter" is true- To be successful in the retail industry today, EVERY store in the market today must carve out a niche that suits its customers needs and delivers products and services that they want.

Ask yourself, have you ever been guilty of losing focus with your merchandise assortments? Have you alienated customers by not keeping up to date with current market needs and trends? Have you talked to your customers lately to ask them what they think about your store and what they need?

The good news for a small store is that course correction is not a multi year process like the Gap is undertaking, you can ask questions and get answers that you need in a very short time. Making the corrections and adding the products you need to be successful can happen in very short order.

It all starts with a simple question---What does my store do better than anyone else?
Finding the answer is your key to retail success!

Drop us a note and tell us what your store does better than anyone else! We'll share it with our readers and spread the word for you.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

RE: Welcome to cbcgretailreport

Greetings- and welcome to cbcg retail report. We look forward to sharing our little corner of the retail world with you. In the coming months, we will share relevant news of the retail world and provide you with as much information and education as we can about doing business as an independent retailer today.

Our goal is to provide a forum for education, information and experiences that will help your business to prosper. We hope to maintain an open dialogue with retailers from all corners of the globe that will spotlight what is happening in the world of retail and what is making it challenging to do business today.

Our hope is that we can all learn from each other and in the end, we can all be more successful with our retail businesses.

Here's to the Best in Business in 2007- and beyond