There’s plenty of doomsaying in the media right now, with headlines screaming about sub-prime lending, falling property prices, poor retail sales and spiralling debt.
The resultant uncertainty is putting a strain on customers and potentially placing their spending on hold. How should a small independent kidswear retailer respond?
The underlying issues may be out of our control, but the response is simple – it is about survival. But survival does not mean heavy discounting and playing the multiples at their own price-led game. Survival belongs to the domain of the fittest, and we have to present ourselves as being the very best to entice customers to shop with us.
To this end, we have reviewed our brands and reduced the level of top-tier merchandise, and put more emphasis on stylish but value-led ranges. We have co-ordinated our ranges to tempt customers to spend more, and introduced new footwear for incremental sales.
Declining footfall means it is vital to attract new customers too, hence we are about to start a local ad campaign, and we have invested in new props for our windows and in-store VM.
A tough trading climate has meant an end to complacency. Last week we launched a loyalty scheme to say thank you to customers, and we celebrated an extra day’s shopping this year with a 10%-off day on February 29. It certainly brought a buzz back to the shop.
And the results so far this season? The average basket has increased by 11% on last year, footfall is up on November and December, levels and we are all beginning to smile a lot more.
Wendy Seddon is the owner of kidswear retailer Girls Girls Girls in Newbury, Berkshire.