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  • Why You Need to Tell Shoppers Where to Go

    How does it feel to get off a plane in a country you’ve never been to before?
    It’s exciting. It’s different. You’re not quite sure what to expect.

    You step off the plane and walk through the gate. You pick up your baggage.

    Where do you go next?
    Everything seems strange. In all that strangeness, you look for things that are familiar. You look for clues to point you in the right direction.

    The most obvious clues are signs. Signs tell you where to find a taxi, or a bus. Signs point you to the washrooms. Or to an information kiosk. Signs help you orient yourself in a strange, new environment.

    To the first time customer, your store is a strange, new environment.
    Hopefully your store is not like all the others on the street.
    Hopefully, your store is different. Different enough to be interesting & unique. Different enough to get attention. Different is what attracts the shopper to your store.

    But, whoa! If the shopper steps into the door and everything is different, he’ll be overwhelmed. He’ll turn around and walk right back out the door. He already knows you have something different to offer. He comes in the door, and feels just a wee bit uncomfortable. He slows down and looks around. He pauses to get his bearings. It’s just a brief pause. A quick glance.

    In that brief moment, you have to give the shopper what he wants next. You need to make him feel comfortable again.

    What’s going to help the shopper feel more comfortable?
    He wants to know where to go next. He wants to know how to find his way around. He is looking for something familiar. Something to guide him through the store.

    He’s looking for a sign. Not an omen. Just something that tells him where to go next.

    That sign can hang from the ceiling. It can be on the backwall. It can be on a fixture. The sign is a clue to show the shopper how the store is organized. And where to find merchandise that is relevant to his needs. The sign might show the way to the men’s department. Or to the baking goods. Or the digital cameras.

    And the sign doesn’t have to be just a sign.
    Sure, it can be a word or two printed on a banner. Or mounted on the wall. Or in an acrylic stand.

    But it can also be a graphic. A photograph. A mannequin. Or a display. It just has to do the job of a sign. It needs to catch the shoppers eye. Provide something familiar to make her feel comfortable. And show her where to go next.

    Standing in the doorway of the store is like standing in the airport. No one wants to stand there all day. Shoppers want to get out of the airport, um, doorway – to explore. It’s up to you to tell them where to go next. Give them a sign to point the way.

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    Next step: Learn how to increase sales without slashing prices in the Pinwheel Principle report. Go here to find out more: http://www.inspire.ca/products.htm

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    How One Sign Can Increase Sales

    Imagine you want to increase your sales by $100 per day.

    How could you sell $100 more every day?
    You could try to get one new customer a day into your store to spend $100.
    You could get 10 new customers a day to spend $10.
    Or you could get 10 of the customers that are in your store already to spend $10 more.

    Which one would be the easiest?

    You might think they’re all hard. It’s harder, and more expensive to acquire new customers.

    Instead, you can do things the easy way. The easy way is to get a customer that is buying already, to spend a little more. And one way to do that is with a sign.

    How can one sign make a difference?
    It has to be the right kind of sign. A sign that encourages shoppers to buy multiple items.
    You’ve seen these signs all over. In grocery stores. Clothing stores.
    Maybe they say “Limes: 3 for $1.00″ or “T-shirts: 2 for $15 or $9 each”
    And they work. People buy.

    Sure, some customers will still only buy one. But when you use a sign to promote multiple sales, you increase the number of customers who will buy more than one.

    Will the sign work to promote any product?
    Promoting multiple sales works best when you have a large quantity of one type of product to offer.

    It is also most effective with products that shoppers want in multiples.
    Victoria’s Secret sells underwear this way. We all need more than one pair.

    Items with lower price points are easier to sell in multiples. More people will buy more than one item if only costs a few extra dollars. However, multiple item pricing could be used with high end items as well. With more expensive products, a lower percentage of customers will buy more than one.

    Does a sign really work? Try it for yourself. What have you got to lose? If it doesn’t work, customers will ignore the sign and still buy only one item. Or maybe two. If it does work, they’ll buy more.

    Even if only one customer takes you up on the offer, you’re ahead. (As long as you didn’t spend too much money on the sign.)

    Make the sign work even better with these tips:

    1) Feature the sign and product prominently in the store. Place it near the entrance or the cash desk.

    2) Mention the promotion to all your customers. Either when the shoppers are greeted, or when they browse the promoted merchandise. Write down all the objections customers have. The objections are valuable. Use the objections to adjust the promotion, or make your next promotion even more appealing to customers.

    3) Get creative with your copy. Suggest reasons why your shopper might want multiple items.

    Get one for a friend too, and you pay less. Buy 2 for $67 (1 for $37)
    Get one for everyone on your list. Buy 5 for $25. (1 for $7.49)

    Try it out today. Put up a sign. Keep it there for the rest of the holiday season. Keep track of how many people buy multiple items. Keep track of how your sales go up.

    Next step: Learn more about how to increase sales without slashing prices with the Pinwheel Principle report. Go here to find out more: http://inspire.ca/products.htm

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    Why Shopping Is Harder Than You Think (And How to Make It Easy)

    Shopping is hard work.
    Harder than it used to be. And getting harder.

    The culprit is choice.
    We are surrounded by choice. The opportunities to choose are growing every day. We can choose to shop where we live or work. We can choose to travel to a store that has exactly what we want. Or we can choose to buy online. We can choose from hundreds, or thousands of stores. And millions of products.

    You might think that more choice makes it easier to shop.
    But it doesn’t.
    Instead, shoppers become paralyzed with indecision.
    When too much choice is presented to customers, their eyes glaze over.
    They move on to the next store, or the next website.

    Don’t customers want options?
    They do. But they want their options to be simplified. They buy when the choices are easy.

    Look at Amazon for example. Amazon offers tons of choice. And the number of choices are constantly expanding. But Amazon helps you choose. Amazon makes it easy to find exactly what you want. Their search feature, customer reviews, recommendations and personalized emails guide you to buy. They make it easy.

    So what makes it easy for customers to shop?
    Three things: consistency, organization and information.

    1. Consistency
    Consistency helps your customer know what to expect. Consistency means you have a strong identity that is carried through your entire company.

    Imagine a store sends out an email featuring new designer fashions. It includes an elegant black & white logo. Classic typeface. Lots of white space.

    What do we expect this store to look like?
    Naturally, a store that has the same identity. A comfortable, elegant shopping environment. A lot of space between racks. Quality merchandise. Helpful service.

    We’re surprised & confused if we find a discount store instead. Or the featured merchandise is unavailable. Or the sales staff are apathetic.

    Maintain consistency in all points of contact with your customers. They just want to know what to expect from you. Customers find it easier to choose when they know what to expect.

    2. Organization

    Shoppers don’t like to feel confused.
    At the slightest hint of confusion, shoppers will turn around and walk away.

    At the very least, a store needs to be clean & neat. Boxes of stock and returned merchandise don’t belong on the selling floor.

    Beyond this, merchandise needs to be organized in clearly defined categories. To determine categories, watch how your customers shop. What products do they buy together? Group these complementary products together.

    For example, imagine a store that sells computers, digital cameras and accessories. Instead of grouping equipment bags together, place camera bags with cameras. Laptop bags next to laptops.

    Customers that find everything they need in one place, choose to buy more.

    3. Information
    Information helps shoppers makes decisions.
    But only if it’s the right information.
    In the right place. At the right time.

    Signs can help you put the right information where it needs to be. Use them to answer frequently asked questions. Do shoppers have questions about how pants should fit? Or how to choose the right printer? Or what the price is?

    But how do you know where to put the sign? Sometimes the answer is not obvious. To discover the right place, watch how customers shop. What are they doing right before they ask a question? Test sign placement to see if customers read it. Test, and test again until you get it right.

    To help shoppers choose, provide the information they need. When & where they need it.

    Use consistency, organization and information to make your customers’ choices easy.

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    How to Create Effective Retail Signs

    Signage is one of the most important ways to convey your message to your customers. Your store name, promotions, pricing, and product information may all be conveyed through signage. Are you getting these messages across effectively?

    As a customer walks by your store, you have about 3 seconds to let them know what they will find inside. What message are you sending? Professional signage will attract the customer, provide just the right amount of information and invite the customer to enter your store or try your product.

    Unprofessional signage is confusing to the customer and sends a negative message about your store and product. Common problems include too many signs, ambiguous or misleading messages, spelling errors or signs that are difficult to read. I don’t know about you, but I avoid stores that have have signs littered throughout the store that scream, “SALE! 9.99″ and in small print at the bottom they add, “and up.”

    Effective signage has the following qualities:

    1. Quality Production

    You don’t have to spend big bucks to get signs that look professional. Having said that, you still need to be willing to spend a few dollars to create the image that you want to represent your business.

    Consider the lifespan of the sign. Exterior signage that needs to last several years requires a fairly large investment. The shorter the lifespan of the sign, the less it should cost. If you are running a small boutique, producing your own short term promotional or informational signage is perfectly acceptable, provided you have the tools and skills to do it well. If you are producing signs on your own, they should be produced on a computer, not handwritten. This might seem too obvious to mention, but I still see stores using signs that have been written in black felt marker. Use a desktop publishing or word processing program and quality printer and paper.

    If your printer and paper are not good quality, take your computer file to a print shop to produce your image. Mount your final images on a heavy card, illustration board or foam core.

    2. Simple Color Scheme

    Don’t go crazy with color. Pick a simple, two or three color scheme and stick with it throughout the store. Pick a background color, text color and highlight color.

    Make sure that the colors have enough contrast to be easily read. Red on black, while a dynamic and high power combination, does not have enough contrast to be easily viewed. However, if the text is very large, bold and only one or two short words, you might be able to get away with it. Outlining the text with a thin white line will also improve the contrast.

    Be careful with combinations such as yellow/green or orange/pink/red or green/blue. These combinations can be powerful and trendy, but require more work with design to make them legible. Strong contrasts such as white/black, yellow/black, red/white, white/blue increase visibility and legibility.

    3. Easy to Read

    Make your signage easy to read. Don’t try to put too much on one sign. Some signs are so full of tiny images, starbursts, exclamation marks, and small print, that you can’t take it all in. One main image, a headline and a few bullet points are all you need on an informational sign.

    A sign in a store window should be even simpler. You need to get your message across immediately as the customer walks, or drives by. This means you can only use a strong image on your sign, a headline, or a simple combination of both. Some stores only use one word, such as ‘SALE’ or ‘HOLIDAY’ in the window, and provide more information inside the store.

    The more time the customer will be spending looking at the sign, the more information you can include. For example, a sign near your cash register, where your customer will be waiting for a transaction to be processed, can provide details of a contest or return policy.

    4. Clear and Simple Message

    Keep your message simple. Avoid trying to say too much. Choose one main message that you want to convey.

    Do you want to tell about a sale, a price, product info, return policy? Rather than say this all at once, try a sale sign on the top of the rack, price and product info on the tag, and return policy at the cash register.

    When you craft your sign, write down the message you want to get across, then rewrite it in as few words as possible. Keep reducing until you have one to five words for your headline. If necessary, write a small amount of supporting information below.

    5. Well Placed

    Be careful where you place your signage. Place it where it will catch your customers’ attention, but will not block essential elements of your store.

    Think about how customers approach your store. If customers walk by your store, but your store name is only placed high up on your store front, facing the street, how will they see it? You also need to repeat the name on the door or window, and perhaps hanging from an awning or on a sandwich board on the sidewalk.

    Make sure signs don’t block traffic flow, displays, or the view of the interior of your store. Here’s an example of signage placement that could be improved! http://www.inspire.bc.ca/articles/donotenter.html

    Window signage may not be visible to customers for other reasons that you do not realize. Is there a parking meter blocking the view of your window? What about a loading zone where delivery trucks park for a large part of the day, obscuring part of your store from view?

    Check for reflections on the window that make your interior signage invisible during the day. You’ll need to check this at various times of the day to find out what happens to the light and reflections depending on the position of the sun. You can improve the visibility of your signage by improving the display lighting inside, and by using light colors in your windows. Light colored signage will stand out, while dark colors will recede and virtually disappear behind reflections on the glass.

    After placing your signs, double check how they look from a customers point of view. Step back and approach the store as a visitor. Walk from front to back and look at all your signage critically and reposition as necessary.

    Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

    The simpler you keep your signage the better. Reduce visual clutter, and focus on getting your most important message across to your customer. You will attract more walk-by traffic, and avoid confusing your customer. Your sales should increase as a result.

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    Avoiding Sign Chaos: Why Your Signs Need Job Descriptions

    Signs seem simple. But they’re more complicated than you realize.

    Unless you know the secret to creating great signs.

    The secret to great signs has two parts:

    1. Great signs have job descriptions.

    2. A great sign has only one job to do. One sign, one job, one message.

    When you don’t know and apply this secret, you can easily fall into sign chaos. One symptom of sign chaos is multi-tasking. A multi-tasking sign has a job description that reads, “Any other duties as required.”

    Multi-tasking signs are easy to spot. These signs send too many messages. They try to do a little of everything at once. A sign that has too many jobs to do, isn’t really effective at any of them.

    A past client had a sign in her store featuring a new product. Great message. Great graphic. The problem was that the sign also showed the logos of the main product lines the store carried. And the store’s own logo. And a list of the locations of all the stores in chain. The sign didn’t have one message. The sign was trying to do three jobs, instead of one.

    When a customer sees that sign, he doesn’t know what to pay attention to. Is the sign directing him to a new product? Or is it telling him to go look for other brands the store carries? Or should he visit another location closer to his home?

    There’s too much information. The customer doesn’t care about all the logos. He doesn’t care where the other locations are. He’s already in the store. Most of the messages on the sign don’t connect with the customer. He doesn’t know what to pay attention to. He ignores it. He walks on by.

    The job of the sign is to tell the customer to pay attention. Signs need to be confident. Assertive. Not wishy-washy. A sign with one job, states the message clearly. The sign needs to say, “Hey! Something new! Pay attention to this!”

    So, now we know that great signs have one job. How do you decide what job your sign needs to do?

    Signs in different areas of the store, have different jobs. They tell the customer what to pay attention to in different zones of the store.

    The job description for each type of sign is defined by its location size, colour, font size and type of message.

    Create a plan for your signs based on these job descriptions. You’ll be on your way to calming the sign chaos in your store:

    Directional signs – These signs tell you where to go. When a customer comes into the store, she looks around the store to decide where to go. These signs are large, simple, and easy to read. They are overhead, above eye level. They either hang from the ceiling or are mounted on the walls above fixtures.

    Define departments or categories with these signs. They are meant to be understood quickly in a glance. Use one or two words in a large, easy to read font. Directional signs are meant to be viewed when the shopper enters the store. Even small stores can consider using directional signs or category signs. They will help customers to quickly find the right section of the store.

    Sale or Promotional – Choose one basic style for sale signs. (Tip: Unless you are a bargain basement discount store – stay away from pink and orange starburst signs!)

    If you need more than one size of sale sign for different areas of the store, keep the design, layout and font consistent between sizes. Sale signs can be used as posters, fixture signs, or shelf talkers (attached to the shelf edge) to draw attention to good deals in the store.

    Most people associate sales or discounts with the colour red. If you use red for sale signs, don’t use it for other signs in the store. This will help you colour code the store. Having a code helps your customers find things easily.

    Fixture signs signs are placed close to eye level. They may also be on a tabletop or shelf . They describe the products found on one fixture. They may designate a subcategory, new products, or a price point. The font used is smaller than directional signage. These signs are meant to be read as the shopper is walking through the store. The text is limited to one to three words. The sign attracts the shopper’s attention to the merchandise on that fixture. She is encouraged to pause and take a look.

    Product Information – As the shopper gets closer to the merchandise, she slows down and takes more time. The signs right next to the product can be smaller and more detailed. These signs provide the basic information that a shopper needs to make a decision. Include the product description, a few bullet points of features and benefits, and the price.

    Signs at this level may stand on a shelf or table top, or be attached as a shelf-talker. For general product information, a 3 x 5” size works great.

    You don’t need product information signs for every product. Be selective. Use product information to highlight key products.

    Price Labels – Price labels are crucial. If you are not pricing your products clearly, you are losing out on potential sales. Pricing on the shelf helps with restocking.

    For high end stores, you can use small, elegant tent cards to display prices. You can use this to price products individually, or list several products on one card.

    Store Policies – Policy signs are usually placed near the cash desk, on the door or at a fitting room. State the policy wording in as positive a tone as possible. Use the same font and colours as the rest of your signage. Get rid of hand written signs taped to the cash register. Font sizes for signs on the front door, or in the fitting room should be large enough to read from several feet away. At the cash desk, they need to be large enough to read while standing in line.

    Every store is different. All stores have different sign needs. Use these basic job descriptions to plan the signs you need. And calm the sign chaos in your store.

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    Decoding the Store: Why You Need Effective Signs

    Retail stores are like coded messages to customers.

    Filled with information.

    Shoppers receive messages from all aspects of the store. The store front, layout, product selection, displays and lighting all convey information about what the retailer has to offer. They’re all part of the code.

    Our minds process this code so quickly, we don’t even stop to think about it. We are constantly taking in information, sorting it and making decisions.

    Usually when we shop, we are familiar with the code. We easily sort the information we need make our way through the store. We know our way around the local supermarket. We have favourite places to shop for clothes. For routine purchases, we usually don’t need help to find what we need. Many of the stores we shop in use similar layouts, and have product lines we already understand. We understand the code.

    But what if a shopper doesn’t know your code?

    New customers don’t know your code. Your store might as well be an alien environment.

    Imagine the first time customer stepping into your store:

    She pauses inside the door to get her bearings. She is bombarded with visual information. Information about the departments, products, categories, and displays. She doesn’t know which way to go first.

    She feels she doesn’t belong. Products have special names she doesn’t understand. She has trouble finding prices. She doesn’t what makes one product different or better than the next.

    She feels like an outsider trespassing in a special club. You can help this customer feel comfortable as soon as she walks in the door. Before you even speak to her.

    The secret is to provide a key to your code right away.

    The key helps the shopper understand your store. She quickly moves from feeling like an outsider, to being an insider.

    The key is signage. Effective signs help shoppers feel comfortable in an unfamiliar environment. Signs welcome new customers. Give directions. Explain new products. Compare benefits. Signs display prices and draw attention to sales and promotions.

    They help shoppers find fitting rooms, or know what kinds of payments are accepted. The customer learns how to find her way around. Signs help her navigate and decode the information she needs to find merchandise quickly and easily.

    But what about those stores that go crazy with signs? Some retailers create signs willy-nilly. Without a plan. Sometimes they think ‘more is better.’ Instead of decoding the store for the customer, they add to the confusion. In most stores, the problem is usually not too many signs. It’s too many colours. Too many fonts. Too many sizes. And too many messages.

    Signs are not meant to be the main attraction. Good signs draw your attention to the product. They guide the shopper to find what she needs.

    Effective signs have:

    1. Only one message per sign. Any more than that, and you confuse your customer even more.

    2. No more than three fonts, or font variations. A basic rule of thumb is a display font for occasional headings, a sans-serif style for the majority of the text, and a bold weight of the text style. Once the fonts have been chosen, use the same ones for all signs.

    3. A simple colour scheme. A good basic is black or white text with one or two high-contrast colours. Another colour can be used with black or white to highlight sale or special merchandise.

    4. A similar layout and design. Signs should coordinate with each other. Not compete for attention. Ideally, the signs coordinate with the store’s other marketing materials and website.

    Effective signs help your customers decode the store. Both new and returning customers can find what they need quickly and easily.

    And isn’t that what you want?

    Give your customers the key to the code.

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    Eight Retail Event Essentials

    Community events can be great marketing and selling opportunities for retailers. Events give you the chance to increase your profile and brand awareness in the community, attract new residents and tourists into your store, and increase sales.

    On the other hand, regular customers may avoid shopping during congested events. Other shoppers may be deterred by a lack of available parking. Retailers may find that walk-by traffic increases, but shoppers don’t come into the store.

    Maybe you can identify with retailers like these:

    • • Carole owns a women’s clothing boutique in the downtown of a mid-sized city. Every year at the annual weekend Summerfest event, she puts a couple of sale racks out on the sidewalk. She brings in an extra staff member to stand outside and hand out balloons, while keeping an eye on the merchandise. Carole is disappointed that the increased traffic at Summerfest hasn’t resulted in more sales in her store.
    • • Jim & Susan just opened a day spa that retails bath and body products in Calgary. They’re looking for ways to become more integrated in the local community. They want to show their support for next year’s Stampede, but are wondering how to tie it in with their product and identity.
    • • Eric owns an urban pet boutique in Vancouver. With the 2010 Olympics on the horizon, he wants to come up with Olympic themed ideas to attract shoppers to his store.

    What can you do to get the most mileage out of participating in one of these kinds of community events?

    1. Set a goal for the event. Be clear about what you want to achieve through your participation in the community event.

    Do you want to increase sales at the event itself?
    Do you want to encourage local visitors to visit the store for the first time?
    Do you want to use the event to build new relationships in the community?
    Are you trying to build recognition of your store name and brand?
    Is your goal to get tourists to visit your store and make a purchase?
    Do you want shoppers to have a great in-store experience, and shop from your online store when they return home?

    2. Start planning early. Depending on the size of the event and what your goals are, you may need to plan several weeks to a year or more in advance. Consider what your needs will be for marketing, staffing and inventory for the event.

    3. Consider special promotions or products. Are there particular products that tie in well with the upcoming event? Consider carrying a limited supply of a special product just for the event, or stock up on a popular item and give it an event price. If you have giveaways, find a way to brand them with your name and logo.

    4. Create your own events. Host your own kick-off party a few days or a week before the big event. During the event, make sure something is always happening in your store that will draw customers in. If you don’t create a reason for them to come in, they won’t. Invite a volunteer to do facepainting for kids in the store, have some kind of food available, host live music, or an artist in residence. You could also offer short talks, workshops or book reading.

    Mini events in your store don’t have to be expensive. Try to use volunteers, or find someone who will benefit from doing a joint promotion with your store. Whatever you do, tie it in logically with your product and target market.

    5. Create unique themed displays. Get creative with displays, and don’t be afraid to use humour. Brainstorm how you can tie into a community event in a unique way. A bale of hay and a cowboy hat in a display with bath and body products doesn’t send any message at all. Instead, a vignette display of clothes piled on the floor, a cowboy hat on a chair, next to bath products & candles can have a sign asking, ”How will you relax after the rodeo?” Strive to make a connection in the customer’s mind between the event and your product.

    Leading up to the Olympics, a pet boutique display might show dog sporting events with accessories, or pet merchandise that represents Vancouver. Props or graphics can help to get the message across. Cartoons of pets could be used to create large scale posters, or adhesive window graphics to attract the attention of walk-by traffic.

    If all else fails, try using colour as a theme by creating displays that use one or two of the colours from the official event, or apply the event theme in your own store.

    6. Consider in-store traffic flow. How will you handle an increase in visitors? How will you manage line-ups? Perhaps you can remove a fixture or two from the sales floor to allow better traffic flow. Consider roping off an area for line-ups or in-store activities.

    Provide something for customers to do while waiting in line-ups. Providing entertainment, video monitors, interaction with staff, or something to read, helps to keep customers from getting antsy while waiting for service.

    7. Create effective signage. When your store is busy, you are not going to have time to give the same level of customer service that you normally provide. Effective signage can help provide information that customers need to find what they are looking for, and make buying decisions. Signs can provide:

    • • information about promotions, sales or discounts
    • • answers to common questions that customers ask
    • • pricing information
    • • suggestions of complimentary merchandise
    • • product features and benefits
    • • product information
    • • special event information or instructions
    • • an invitation for shoppers to sign-up for a VIP list or email newsletter
    • • information for tourists wanting their purchase shipped home for them

    Thinking ahead about the types of information and signs that will be needed for your event will help your customer to have a more enjoyable experience in your store.

    8. Start marketing well before the event. Don’t wait until the event arrives to create displays and marketing. Create anticipation for the upcoming event by putting up in-store posters and signs. Announce the dates of the event, planned in-store activities, as well as any special promotions, discounts, incentives or products. Create a series of displays and change them weekly leading up to the event.

    Don’t forget to communicate your plans to event organizers and the media. They’re usually more than happy to let people know how local businesses are participating and supporting community activities. Event organizers may even have some tips and ideas for how you can get involved and make the event even more successful for you.

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    Best of Vancouver Retail


    What does beautiful Vancouver have to offer shoppers?

    What can we learn by looking at what great retailers do well?

    A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of hosting a couple of guests from Great Harvest Bakery head office in Dillon, MT. We spent the day on a tour of the best Vancouver retail. What a fabulous way to spend the day – visiting stores, talking retail, snacking on the best baking in town, and making new friends.

    I learned what a fabulous company Great Harvest has created. Their stores are all franchised, and they have a deep commitment to their store owners, and communities.

    We visited the well-known born-in-Vancouver success stories – MEC, Lululemon, Aritizia, and many more examples of retailers who are doing what it takes to deliver what customers want. Our day was jam-packed with stores. Some of them had so much to see we had a hard time leaving to move on to the next one!

    Some of the things these retailers do well:

    • Tailoring each store to fit the community. Many of these stores are NOT using the cookie-cutter chain approach to store design. They might have many locations, but the best of these retailers are demonstrating to their customers that they are active and involved in their local community. The stores maintain a strong brand and identity, while adapting it in each location to reflect the personality of the neighbourhood.
    • Great signage. Shoppers are hungry for information. The best retail examples have strong signage to help customers find what they are looking for – quickly and easily – and make an informed decision.
    • Good lighting in key areas. Lighting enhances texture and colour. Lighting displays well makes them sparkle, and draws the customer in.
    • Positioning displays to attract attention. Displays are used throughout the store – always keeping in mind the customers’ point of view. What does the customer see when she walks in the store? Stands next to a table? Waits in line?

    These are just a few of the many points we noted on our tour. Stay tuned…we may just open up the tour soon so you can join us…and get one of our fabulous swag bags of samples too!

    The Great Harvest team with me at the end of our tour, in Coal Harbour:

    My new associate, Marie-Claude, (on the left) joined us for the day as well:

    Photos courtesy of Kaylee, Great Harvest Bakery.

    I hope to see some of you on the Best of Vancouver retail tour soon!

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