Monitoring What Works

It's time to make a marketing list and check it twice!
by : 

Megy Karydes

December 7, 2015
Marketing Mondays - Monitoring What Works

As independent gift and home accent shop owners, it’s hard to put any new marketing initiatives into practice this month because much of your time will be focused on helping customers with their holiday shopping. That’s not to say we can’t learn marketing techniques that could be put to use in the future, which is why it’s important to stay vigilant and record what’s working and what’s not working this month. This is the month of monitoring and recording so our marketing plan can be stronger in 2016.

Here are 3 things to keep your eyes and ears open to:

Merchandising. Keep tabs on what types of displays need to be replenished more frequently. Try to figure out why and record your observations. Do the colors really pop and attract shoppers? Is it due to the items they’re paired alongside? Are customers buying the “whole package” rather than just one or two items in the display (meaning you’re selling more than one item at a time as a result of the display)? Is there a “hero” item that draws people in (even if it’s wildly expensive) so people buy the items that are nearby and priced to move? All of this matters and only by monitoring and recording what’s moving, where things are moving, and why now will help you with your merchandising efforts later.

What prompted the visit? Ask every single person who comes through your door how they ended up visiting you today. Tally their responses at the end of each day and record the figures by week. This is good practice throughout the year but especially during the holiday season, because that will help guide your marketing actions next November and December. Was it something she saw on Facebook or did a friend mention your shop to her? Is she a repeat customer? Did a fellow retailer send heryour way? Was she visiting a friend and saw you were open, so she stopped in? Whatever their reason, record it. This will help you decide where to focus your marketing energy in 2016. It can also introduce you to new options. Perhaps you didn’t realize a nearby hair stylist is telling her clients what great gifts you have or your customers are sharing your shop on their Facebook page and introducing it to their friends. You want to know this so you can decide if you should take action in 2016 to amplify your message to this audience.

Record WHEN customers visit. In addition to asking how people made the decision to shop with you today, record when they come in. Are most people coming in during their lunch hour? After a long day of work? As soon as you open? Again, having this data helps you, because if lunch means big business, maybe it’s worth creating a marketing tactic to reach out to area businesses. If it’s after hours, consider adding some fun evening activities in 2016. If it’s early morning, is it possible that people are stopping in after having breakfast with friends? Maybe you can find ways to partner with area restaurants.

It’s the things that we can’t easily measure that we want to monitor this month. Other important data can be gathered from sales reports, so they don’t need close monitoring of details like what categories do best or what price points seem to move fast. Those pieces of information help inform marketing tactics by telling you what would be good to promote or advertise. When you take just a few seconds to record this rich data, you'll be that much stronger to create a marketing plan for 2016 that is customized to your business and able to provide you with the best sales results.

Megy Karydes is principal of Karydes Consulting, a boutique marketing and communications firm and freelance writer who often covers retail for various magazines. She likes her calendars, whether digital or on paper, and has her editorial calendar pinned to her board in her office to remind her what day it is! Find her on Twitter at @megy.