By Toni Rumley
Today you will learn how a Wienerdog can improve your sales. You’re probably thinking this crazy Doxie lady has finally gone over the edge. While that may be true, it still doesn’t negate the fact that an adorable creature, half a dog tall and two dogs long, is going to teach a valuable lesson about retail sales.
The story starts when a big box retailer decided to sell a Halloween skeleton in the shape of a Dachshund. (Don’t bother looking for any because my long dog friends have already purchased them all.) The retailer’s website stated they were available in stores, so all the Dachshund lovers immediately jumped in their cars searching for what they considered to be the perfect holiday décor. Upon entering the store, with the aisle number in hand, it was soon discovered that the Halloween Décor, inclusive of the skeletal wieners, were not yet out on the sales floor.
Here is where the lesson of the day emerges: Many big box retailers have taken the “thinking” aspect away from their store personnel. They send out memos stating “Do not merchandise this product until XX/XX/XXXX date”. They also tell them to place item x in location y, thus the squandering of any creativity from the store’s personnel. The intent is to ensure all the stores look exactly the same. It’s a nice concept, however, not all states or cities should be treated equally. The store location where these highly desired items were to be placed happened to be the same area where the back-to-school supplies and patio furniture once called home. Unfortunately, parts of Texas go back to school a month before the schools in California, so the shelves in the area were empty. Logic makes you think, if there is space to place the new items, then go ahead and merchandise them on the floor. But this was not the case. The store was directed to only place the items on the sales floor beginning on the specified date and the retailer didn’t want the store personnel to think for themselves. They only wanted them to follow instructions – go from task A to task B.
This “Big Box” mentally opens itself up for all the smaller retailers to take advantage.
Retailers should “think” about their floors, to keep them special and up-to-date. Allow your store personnel to move things around and bring relevant items to the front. If special events are happening in your neighborhood or state, then tailor the floor to those events. Look relevant and be relevant. Your customer guests will appreciate the specialized attention and reward you with purchases.
The long and short of this lesson comes down to these simple points:
1. You can’t achieve sales from empty shelves.
2. You can’t sell product from the back room.
3. Every location cannot be treated the same.
4. Don’t mess with crazy wienerdog ladies.
About the author: Toni Rumley is the Retail Planning Specialist at Retail Information Systems (and a Dachshund owner). As a Management One affiliate, she helps our clients overcome their biggest financial struggles, including but not limited to cash flow, profits and sales. If you would like a no obligation consultation with Toni, then contact her at ToniR@RIS.com.