Top Ten Changes for 2012 . Advice to uptown merchants from Barbara Wold

2012, A Year of Change — Top Ten Changes

1. Weekday Convenience and Weekend Experience
These will be the major drivers in 2012 in retailing. The consumer will expect you to provide convenience during the week which may mean you will need to offer different services and possibly longer hours. During the weekend customers want your store to WOW them and therefore more theatrical events will need to be organized on weekends to catch the consumers attention.

2. Avoid the Big Ticket Items
Consumers will be more frugal this year. This reduction in spending will not affect all retailers, in fact sharp retailers in the food and garden sector could see an increase in sales as families stay at home, cooking and gardening become more of a pastime. But, it will be the small ticket items that will prosper. The big ticket items are the ones that you will find difficult to sell. Furniture, carpet retailers, etc. will especially find it more difficult to survive while food and garden retailers whether the storm.

3. Social media de-cluttering as a marketing tool
Many social media gurus are predicting that business people will start analyzing which social media channels are really working for their businesses. Discard some and focus on others. Social media will be a major marketing tool. Those retailers who do not join in the social media marketing surge will quickly get left behind, but it will be a less cluttered social media world.

4. Video and Pictures will grow as Marketing tools
A picture is worth a 1,000 words so the saying goes. Businesses will be putting more videos and more pictures online to sell their story to their customers. This may be an important area to learn new skills.

5. Fewer staff, but better staff
Many retailers have forgotten how important their people are and have forgotten to train them in how to be the best hosts in town. In this area of common sense many businesses are failing badly. Customer interaction will be a real key to success.

6. Networking with other retailers
Independent businesses cannot survive on their own. The future means networking either in a group within the industry sector or with retailers within your community, or better yet, in both areas. To be a truly independent retailer and not engage with other retailers could be a major mistake.

7. Your Local Community will be the key
Customers will engage with retailers that they feel support their community. This is why farmers markets have been so successful in recent years. The consumers want to know your values and want you to be consistent in getting that message across.

8. Price flexibility
All the research shows that price is a driver and nothing will change in 2012. Many retailers have been too inflexible in their pricing and we will see a lot more price flexibility in 2012. This does not mean discounting. There may be special offers, but at the same time other products may be increased in price.

9. Seasonality will reappear
Retailers will need to celebrate all the seasons. Re-embrace the seasons and use this as a marketing opportunity.

10. Fewer but better
There will be fewer retailers doing what you do. But, the retailers who are left will be stronger as a result of the clean out that is taking place.

This is an exciting and challenging period, to quote the QANTAS slogan . . . Enjoy the Journey


Tell me more!
What has worked well for other Main Streets, downtowns and communities like mine?
Please give me ideas for financial help, a proposal and a list of “Hot Topics” —

Barbara Wold International

International Speaker, Author and Business Strategist
Global Retail, Consumer & Tourism Expert
Downtown Revitalization & Merchant Retention
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9795 Jefferson Parkway, Suite F1
Englewood, CO 80112 USA
949.675.8845 (Messages only)
303.284.4486 (Office)

“Helping downtown areas and cities that are going through revitalization in an effort to boost their economic viability. Helping them understand that as the composition of American households continue to shift, so will the mix of retail, in order to succeed and connect to neighboring communities.”

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