At the organization’s annual seminar, held in Las Vegas this week, retail consultants Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender spoke to the group and emphasized creating memorable and unique shopping experiences for customers.
In a presentation titled “Footwear Business Basics: Staying Connected,” the pair suggested going to the consumer for ideas.
“You need to listen to consumers; they’re smarter than you are,” said Bender, suggesting retailers implement such basic methods as asking 200 customers what the store could do to improve business. “Customers are always looking for a great experience in stores and online. Customers are savvy. They want more than ever before, and [retailers] need to know them better than ever before.”
The Kizer and Bender also encouraged retailers to shop the competition, reward customers with discounts for referring friends and use social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The consultants also noted that long-term employees are valuable because they become familiar faces to consumers, making for a more personal shopping experience.
In a subsequent roundtable session with attendees, retailers offered proven tactics for maintaining and building a loyal customer base. Examples included in-store and online approaches such as kicking off a summer sale with a martini party, inviting health and wellness professionals into the store for an educational evening, creating in-store newsletters announcing sales and events to consumers, announcing contests and giveaways through email blasts, and partnering with fellow retailers for special events.