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Hey, it’s Bob. And I’m out walking the dog again today. And I thought I would talk about the four pillars of successful independent retail.
Hey. So I’m out walking the dog in the woods behind our house. And usually my son Sam shoots these Real Retail TV episodes in the office. He’s busy, basketball season. I’ve been traveling. So in the interest of not letting perfection get in the way of progress, I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone.
Tucker, come here. Tucker, come here. You want to say hi? All right, there you go. That’s my dog Tucker.
So in my work I get a lot of opportunities to look under the hood of a lot of independent retail businesses, coaching, consulting, our Business Breakthrough Accelerator program, Platinum Mastermind group. I talk to a lot of retailers and see what people are doing, the good and the bad.
And I have observed that the really good retailers, independent retailers– not all retailers, I mean, not big box stores or the internet merchants, but independent retailers, small to midsize independent retailers– do four things really, really well. Here they are. Number one, they build relationships. Number two, they create culture. Number three, they have amazing experiences in their stores. And number four, they’re really good at the fundamentals. They’re good retailers. They’re good business people.
So let’s talk about that for just a moment. So first of all, relationships, what does that mean? It means that they honor and respect the fact that the customers are their lifeblood of their business. And so not only is it an attitude of, like I said, honor and respect, not only are they thrilled that their customers are shopping with them, but they’re also very, very proactive about building the relationships.
This is why it’s so important that you have a list, right? This is why it’s so important that you send out a weekly email giving some great information every week. So not only is it an attitude, but the work, the structure, the functions all happen correctly. So that’s the first one.
Then we talk about culture. And originally I almost left culture out of this, because it could be argued that culture is one of those fundamentals. But it’s not. It’s more. Culture is this idea that there is a way of doing business in your store. And that way of doing business again is very focused on relationships and experiences. But– I got to pay attention so I don’t walk into a branch.
But not only is it embodied, but everybody knows it. Everybody on your team feels it. Everybody on your team lives it. Your customers see it. Your customers feel it.
But again, this is more than just good, kind, friendly, helpful people on your team. This is good, kind, friendly, helpful people who have been trained, who are constantly coached, I mean so that the work is always being done. The culture is always being improved. Your team is always getting better. So that’s the second thing.
The third thing is experiences. And this is where independent retailers shine, right? When you proactively create experiences– and so part of that, again, is your culture, your team. I mean, do you have highly skilled salespeople who are focused on giving your customers an amazing experience, who are focused on getting your customers to a perfect purchase?
But it’s more than that. It’s also letting the personality of your business shine through with the promotions you do and the special events that you do and when you go out into the community. So the experiences that you create for your customers are a reflection of the love that you have for your customers and a reflection of you and the personality of your business. So that’s the third one.
And the fourth one is fundamentals. And fundamentals, so many people don’t get this right. Too many people focus on the experiences. They want great ideas. They want to be clever. They want to be cute. They put together really good-looking stores. They spend a lot of time and energy going to shows and trying to find the right mix, the right merchandise.
But at the end of the day, competence is really, really important to your success. So when we talk about fundamentals, what am I talking about? I’m talking about everything we teach in the Retail Mastery System, things like store operations, leadership, management, assortment planning so you have the right mix in your store, inventory management so you always have best sellers in stock, financial management so you’re worried about doing not worry. So you have the energy to go out and do good work and not have to worry about cash, because cash flow isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. Or you’re not turning a profit like you should. All the things that go into a well-managed, well-run store are an important part of this whole four pillars of independent retail.
So the question to ask yourself here is, how are you doing? Have you created a great culture? Do you truly love your customers? And have you systemically built into your business ways to show them that love, making sure that they feel that love? Are you fundamentally strong? And are you giving your customers a great experience?
So I hope that this is thought provoking. I hope that it helps you look at your business perhaps in a different light. And of course, I would love to hear your comments down below.
So this is me from the woods with my dog Tucker. And thanks everybody for watching. See you later. Bye.