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Independent Retailers: How To Pitch Your Small Business Saturday Success To Reporters

retail sales pitchThe 2012 Thanksgiving holiday weekend retail sales total increased 12.8 percent according to the National Retail Federation.

Yet in 2013, while brick and mortar retail still represent roughly 90% of total sales, you’ll hear mostly about holiday e-commerce sales rising over last year.

And you’ll hear practically nothing about independent retailers’ successes.

Don’t let them get away with that.

Plan now to leverage your participation and success in Small Business Saturday.

Here’s How: Continue reading Independent Retailers: How To Pitch Your Small Business Saturday Success To Reporters »

Independent Retailers: Don’t Make These 5 Email Mistakes Like I Did

retailer email marketing mistakesI have a confession to make…

I don’t know it all.

I know, I know, for a Driver personality like me, that’s a big admission.

Even though I’ve taken courses, participated in numerous webinars and read countless articles – when it comes to email marketing, as Roseanne Roseannadanna famously said, “It’s always something…”

So I thought, since email is still the #1 way to contact your customers, that I would share with you five of nine somethings I’ve learned about sending emails. If you like these five, you can download all nine at the end of this post. Continue reading Independent Retailers: Don’t Make These 5 Email Mistakes Like I Did »

Retail Marketing: Too Many Tags Numbs Customers

Deal-mania. It’s everywhere – from the freakish examples of Extreme Couponers on TV – to the daily email sites like Groupon and Living Social– all the way down to the old standard – the Sunday paper inserts.

We, the consumers, just can’t seem to get enough discounts… Continue reading Retail Marketing: Too Many Tags Numbs Customers »

Barbie Teaches Downtowns and Retailers How To Promote

barbie1This past weekend in Long Beach a group of merchants got together with a fun promotion involving Barbie.  They hosted an event that was unique, each business did something to tie-into the gimmick: Barbie.  (You can see all the ways each business contributed on the back of the postcard below.)

So many times business, particularly downtown areas know they want to do “something” but do the tired, the tried, the boring.  You can hear the customers as they open the paper, or grab the mailer or click the link, “Yippee – another junk sale where everyone puts their last year’s castoffs on racks, drags them out to the front of their beautiful stores and cheap people paw through them looking for “bargains.’ Pass.”

The thing I hate about retailers doing that is that you are not attracting potential profitable customers, you are attracting the dirt scratchers.  This is one step up from the “everything 20% off with coupon” or BOGOs (buy one get one free) being sold to businesses large and small as the way to market your business and drive sales.


The Barbie promotion stood out to me because it was so different, so visually eye-catching and so fun.  Plus they involved EVERYONE on the street, not just retailers but even the architects.

Let’s be honest, don’t you wonder what “Barbie inspired drinks” would include?  They did a great job promoting on their Facebook pages, direct mail and Twitter. The local paper also picked up the story.

Back in the 50′s, Ruth Handler watched her daughter Barbara at play with paper dolls, and noticed that she often enjoyed giving them adult roles. At the time, most children’s toy dolls were representations of babies. Realizing that there could be a gap in the market, Handler suggested the idea of an adult-bodied doll to her husband Elliot, a co-founder of the Mattel toy company. He was enthusiastic about the idea, as were Mattel’s directors. They saw the opportunity to standout from all the others and an empire was born.

You want to stand out in a crowded market place? You want your downtown to be memorable instead of morose? You want to gain fans and profitable customers? Put your heads together to do something other than another junk sale and you’ll find you’ll make memories and sales.

Using Recession and Bailout In Retail Signage Gets Results

An article in today’s New York Times by Peter Khoury titled, Welcome to Hard Times, the Sales Pitch detailed how local merchants are riding the recession alluding to it in their street signs.  One touted, “Wine Bailout Sale 100 Wines Under $10.’’  Another, my personal favorite on a sandwich board  advertising a burger special that includes chips and a drink said “‘Stimulus Plan Special, You’ve spent over $1 trillion on pork! What’s $10 more for an Island Burger?’’

Were these big discounts? No, they just put things in perspective with a wink. What I think is so smart about these merchants is they made you look.  Isn’t that all signs should do?

The words “recession” and “bailout” are just vehicles to hang your message on because they are topics in the news.  Yes there has to be value there but these merchants are creatively looking at engaging their customers who might pass them by – and results have been very good; some in the double digits.

When I was in New York one time a guy was shouting at passersby to come into his electronics shop.  As I walked by him he said, “Hey mister, you dropped your wallet!” I turned around to stare at the dirty concrete sidewalk while grabbing my back right pocket as he said, “made you look!”

I said to him, “Smart man,” with a wry smile.  He said quickly as I continued walking, “No man you’re the smart one – you still have your wallet.”  Which of course made me laugh.

Made ya look.

In a world crowded with signs hawking everything from unlocked iPhones to 70% off retail to 2-4-1, you should use every means possible to shake customers from their numb existence when walking past your business.  If a “‘Recessionista Sunday – all dresses  come with a free mimosa,’” gets people to consider your business – why not join them with “recession” or “bailout” in your signage?