Make it as easy as possible for your local Coeur d’ Alene business customers to give you their hard-earned money. As elementary as this marketing secret may be, many CDA retailers still shy away from convenient payment options for their Coeur d’ Alene customers usually because of the cost associated with providing these payment options.
But in today’s competitive Coeur d’ Alene retailing environment retailers must provide customers with as many payment options as possible, including cash, check, debit card, credit card, and often even consumer financing or leasing solutions. Eliminate just one and you are in effect reducing your potential market by a proportionate amount. One way to reduce the merchant rate for credit cards is to check with your local CDA chamber of commerce or other small-business associations in Coeur d’ Alene to inquire if they provide association members with reduced credit card merchant rates.
Often Coeur d’ Alene business associations like the CDA chamber of commerce negotiate lower merchant rates with banks and credit card companies based on the number of people who use the service. I have routinely heard members can reduce merchant rates by as much as three percent just by joining, and often these savings on credit card merchant rates alone can offset membership cost. Beyond increasing sales through providing CDA customers with convenient payment options you can also benefit by reducing the amount of cash on hand, thus reducing security concerns for staff and the potential for theft.
Here is a fantastic and simple marketing trick that all Coeur d’ Alene retailers can implement right away and start enjoying the benefits immediately. Develop a creative gift program for your CDA store. What this means is that local customers can come into your store and select a product they would like for their birthday, Christmas, or any special occasion as a gift, and supply you with a list of people or even a single person who might purchase the gift for them-very much like a wedding gift registry, but in reverse.
Instead of the potential Coeur d’ Alene buyers contacting you to find out what gifts are on the list, you contact them and let them know that a certain person submitted their names and the gifts they would like to receive on their special occasions. You can contact these local potential gift buyers by way of mail, fax, e-mail, or telephone because you got detailed contact information from the person who completed the registry card. This is a win-win-win situation. The person gets exactly the gift he wanted, the buyer does not have to guess and risk gifting the wrong gift, and you profit by selling the gift and providing a valuable service in Coeur d’ Alene.
When selecting a location for your Coeur d’ Alene retail store or designing or redesigning the layout, always make sure to keep in mind who your customers will be. For instance, if your target audience is mature folks, then make aisles wider, lights brighter, sign lettering bigger and bolder. Make sure parking is convenient and good access to transit is close by. Provide easily accessible areas for sitting and resting. Alternately, if your target audience is young children then paint the shop in bright colors, lower displays, and make all fixtures more durable to avoid damage.
Give extra attention to safety-related details and issues. The objective when designing a retail store in Coeur d’ Alene is to appeal to the largest segment of your target audience in the broadest way so that they will feel comfortable in the CDA store and therefore will want to return and shop often. This is one area where it pays to hire a local Coeur d’ Alene professional designer and decorator with experience in commercial retail store applications.
Listed below are general design tips that can be handy in any retailing situation regardless of the products you sell.
- When arranging displays and merchandise keep in mind that the most “profitable zones” are the areas around the sales checkout, immediately inside the front entrance, and on a direct path to the sales checkout counter. These are the areas that will account for the largest percentage of impulse buying in Coeur d’ Alene Customers; therefore, it is wise to display your CDA business’s bestselling merchandise in these highly visible profit zones.
- Occasionally try new designs in terms of how you position your displays and merchandise. The majority of Coeur d’ Alene retailers find that a grid pattern, much like that used in a supermarket works best as it enables shoppers to have to pass most of store merchandise to get to certain product sections or displays within the store, increasing the chance of impulse buying. This is referred to as directing Local CDA shoppers where you want them to go. Additionally, rotating merchandise will give CDA shoppers the perception that the stock and displays are new and fresh.
- Always group products together that enhance or complement each other and that make for logical package sales. For instance, a pet shop should display bags and cans of dog food on the bottom and middle shelves while leaving the top open to display food dishes and bowls even if they have a bowl display elsewhere in the store. This sets off shopping triggers
- Keep clearance bins and sales racks to the back of the store so local customers who come in to browse have to walk past the other merchandise to get to the back of the store to go through the sales merchandise. However, do clearly promote clearance bins and sales racks with signage displays on the back wall or hanging from the ceiling over the racks. You want Coeur d’ Alene shoppers to take note of the sale not only to clear dated and out-of-season merchandise but also to pass your newest merchandise with the possibility to create impulse buying.
- Always think about key vertical profit zones when displaying products. The best zones are between 18 inches off the floor to a maximum of 66 inches off the floor. These are the ones that are the most visible and easily accessible to the vast majority of Coeur d’ Alene shoppers.
The online auction service, eBay, has become one of the most visited web sites on the internet.
There are three basic ways to sell your Coeur d’ Alene business goods through eBay.
- The first is single or multiple items via their auction service. The price can be a reserved amount you set, meaning that if you set the reserve at $25 then someone would have to bid higher than $25 in order to buy your product. Or you can sell your products on the auction unreserved; meaning the highest bidder in the allotted time buys it.
- The second is single or multiple items can be sold through their fixed price sellers’ system, kind of like a catalog of thousands of products listed in various sections.
- And the third is to open your own eBay store, where in effect you could list your entire inventory, if you wished. There are numerous categories so don’t worry, you’ll find one no matter what you sell.
Additionally, eBay has created various ways to promote your CDA store or the items that you are selling, including picture listings, feature listings, and more. You can use your existing payment systems to accept payments from customers or you can sign up for the various payment services offered through eBay, such as electronic checks and PayPal, and have the money automatically forwarded to your Coeur d’ Alene business bank account.
The fees vary greatly in direct response to the number of services your CDA business wants and needs, but in large part are more than reasonable, especially when you consider that overheads are low, you will have no sales staff or few distribution costs, and you will not have the expense and maintenance associated with operating your own e-commerce web site. Many top retailers and manufacturers have found eBay to be a convenient and profitable way to sell and distribute their goods, worth consideration, especially if you want access to a global audience via a web site that is billed as the World’s Largest Online Marketplace.
Coeur d’ Alene Business Private Label Myth
Only local retailers with deep pockets can afford to develop, stock, and sell their own private CDA label merchandise.
Never in the history of Coeur d’ Alene has private labeling or private label merchandise costs been lower or the opportunities more abundant than right now.
The Rest of the Story
Free trade, global economy, marketplace, and emerging new world economies chalk it up to what you want but one thing is true; regardless of size, number of outlets, or financial budgets just about all Coeur d’ Alene retailers can offer their local customers merchandise under their own private label.
For the vast majority of CDA retailers private labeling is perhaps the only way they will ever be able to establish a brand name, awareness, and image for their business in Coeur d’ Alene. Private labeling comes in many forms and, therefore, many price entry points. Everything from the super elite practice of having a product line exclusively designed and developed for your retailing venture, right down to small manufacturing outfits that will simply add a name to a common product to make it private and exclusively you.
The easiest way to find out about immediate private labeling opportunities is to first talk to your CDA suppliers, especially if they are also the manufacturer of the goods that you stock and sell, to see what Local programs they may already have in place or what private labeling opportunities can be created. If that fails, then simply turn to the internet or the SBA to conduct research and contact manufacturers who manufacture goods specifically for private labeling purposes. A simple “private labeling” search on Google will return thousands of matches representing numerous industries, products, and manufacturers.