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Ask INSTORE: November 2009

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Hiring actors for your commercials, help for your redesign, marketing to Latino families, and more.

[h3]Casting Call[/h3]Ask Instore 11-09

[dropcap cap=Q.][h4][b]I’d like to experiment with some cable TV ads this holiday season but there’s just no way I can put myself before the camera. Where can I find local talent that won’t cost me an arm and a leg?[/b][/h4][/dropcap]

[dropcap cap=A]First, we’d say reconsider your “No way” position. Local ads are so much more powerful with the owner’s face out there. (And if cable TV is too big a step, try a video for your website.) If, however, we can’t convince you, call your local volunteer or professional theater company. They should have some suggestions on the local talent pool.

You could also try a nearby college or university’s drama department. If neither of those is an option, call the television station that will air the spots. They can often help not only with talent, but with scripting and all other elements of production. Finally, look in the mirror one more time. Cock your face to the side, try a line like “Here’s looking at you, kid,” and see what you think. Come on, you can do it![/dropcap]

[componentheading]REMODELING[/componentheading]

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[h4][b]I am a co-owner of a small family store in need of an overhaul. We last remodeled in 1978 and would like to make some changes but need ideas. Who should we talk to?[/b][/h4]

The best place to start is the American Society of Interior Designers, which has a huge database of professionals, and it’s their policy to suggest — at no charge — three people who might fit your needs. Call their referral service at (202) 546-3480, or contact them online at www.asid.org. If you’d prefer to oversee a remodel on your own, we doubt there’s a better portfolio of fine jewelry stores to inspire you than our own monthly Cool Stores or annual America’s Coolest Stores winners.

[componentheading]MARKET RESEARCH[/componentheading]

[h4][b]Our community has changed over the last two decades with a lot more Latino families moving in. How should I market to this demographic?[/b][/h4]

It’s a smart move to ensure your marketing doesn’t exclude the largest ethnic group in the U.S. Phil Nulman of the Nulman Group, an advertising and PR agency, says start by advertising in Latino publications, radio stations and via direct mail (you can purchase Latino household e-mail lists). “Speak to them, invite them into the store, welcome them or they’ll go 40 miles out of their way in some cases to get products from their own cultural orientation.” He also suggests that if you have a Spanish speaker on staff make it known on your website or on any printed matter that “Spanish is Spoken Here” (in English and Spanish).

[componentheading]REMODELING II[/componentheading]

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[h4][b]I need ideas on how to give my store a quick, cheap facelift before the holiday season starts.[/b][/h4]

The problem with quick, cheap facelifts is that they look exactly that — like quick cheap facelifts. Take a hard look at your store and if you find faded or worn fixtures splash out with some cash and get them fixed or recovered. And then focus on creating a killer (but easy-on-the-pocket) winter-themed display in the store. Bare branches, lots of white, big candles, spray-on snow and so it goes. Be bold about moving your merchandise to new locations. Try them in higher or lower positions, with new props or with more space than usual. And if you’ve got a boring wall you just don’t know what to do with, throw up a mirror. People are endlessly fascinated with themselves.

[componentheading]DISPLAYS[/componentheading]

[h4][b]How often should I be looking to change my window display? Should I, for example, do it more often as the holidays approach?[/b][/h4]

There is no hard and fast rule. Rather, the decision to change windows should be more about the flow of traffic in front of the store. The purpose of a window is to capture a customer’s attention and to keep him or her engaged. That means that if a store is in a location where many of the same people pass by every day, it is in your best interest to change the look of the window as often as possible — in some cases, every week or two.

In fact, we know of one store, Marquirette’s Exquisite Jewelry in Montgomery, AL, that changes its display every day. The change can be as simple as keeping a display theme for a month at a time, while changing only one eye-catching element and rotating through various product samples, says Kate Peterson. “For other stores, where foot traffic is not as significant an issue, changing less frequently might be acceptable — but nonetheless, keeping a fresh look — for theme and for product, should be at minimum, a monthly goal.” She adds that successful stores also know that keeping a consistent theme or look — between windows and between windows and interior displays, is a very important part of getting the customer to focus on the product and not on the prop. “The decor should set the scene, but the merchandise should tell the story.”

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[span class=note]This story is from the November 2009 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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