By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
It’s August, and I am back in the United States, refreshed after my doctor–prescribed time off. I took a healing, regenerative journey to Europe, spending time in England and the south of Spain to allow myself time to rest and reduce my stress level. Speaking Spanish, immersing myself in a new culture, exchanging Euros, and traveling by various methods, were the mild stimulations I needed to slowly increase brain function, necessary after head trauma.
An excerpt from The Brain World’s publisher’s letter states, “As we grow, we will continue to adjust to change; exercising and reshaping our brains to endure the challenges that come with it... Even a simple journey on a subway can bring about these changes, using the brain’s reward circuitry as we plan our daily commute. It’s how we’ve always been as a species; migrating to new territory, out of a desire to explore what is just beyond our horizons...”
Our brains are so powerful – our desire to explore and grow needs to be fed and stimulated no matter what. In this month’s book review, The Camino Way, Victor Prince takes us on his sabbatical journey across Spain. What began as a competitive trek became an amazing adventure and a career game-changer. Likewise, my automobile accident has been a game-changer for my family, my business, and me. I realized I needed to re-evaluate some of the priorities in my personal and business life.
One of the priorities that came to mind was the importance of preparing for the unexpected in our business lives. As a mom-and-pop operation, we at The Retail Observer have found it important to cross-train staff and put together a plan B. Businesses need a written protocol/delegation plan in the event that any team member isn’t available to fulfill their roles. Prepare your employees to be ready to take on greater responsibilities in the case of the loss of any member of the team. It’s easy to slip into the mindset of trying to do so much yourself and believing that you are the only one who can do a job right. In addition, many people are afraid of being replaced if anyone else knows how to do their job. However, this is a fairly outdated mindset that needs to be changed to allow for effective emergency planning.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone on our team at The Retail Observer who all pitched in to take over my responsibilities during my extended time away. Great job.
By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
Let’s face facts: consumers want something special. Sure, they’ll come to you for a replacement dishwasher or washing machine when it breaks, but when they are shopping for an upgrade, they want it to be special. Whether it’s a range, refrigerator, or hood, they want the best their money can buy. This you already know, and with the right product mix and services, you can make all your clients feel special when they come to your store.
But what else will make you special to them? What you are selling today that will be there tomorrow for you to sell? Appliances, furniture, and electronics are three of the consumables that are sold online, yet consumers still want to see and touch before they purchase. Brick and mortar retailers in the independent channel are the most viable option for consumers to get the best buying experience. That’s you!
Tomorrow brings a different shopper — a more tech savvy, more educated consumer who definitely wants that special product that they have researched on the world wide web. Your competition (Big Box stores) are now giving away delivery and install to try to get an advantage, since they can’t compete with the kind of service an independent can give. You have to give them better. Better service, better options, and knowledge equal to (or better) than their own.
This month is Buy Fair month, and as an independent retailer you need to be at your group’s event. If you don’t belong to a group, it’s time to join. The programs, education, and knowledge you can gain from one are priceless. New opportunities in products, services, and partnerships will assist in giving you that special edge not seen at the competition. You owe it to yourself, your company and most of all your clients. I hope I see you there.
Be Special and Happy Retailing,