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Eileen McClelland

How to Compete with a GOB Sale? Just Let it Ride

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When Susan Eisen, owner of Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry and Watches in El Paso, TX, contemplated Christmas 2015, the mental picture was unnerving.

She had learned that two competing stores were planning major going out of business sales.

Eileen McClelland


Managing
editor at
INSTORE Magazine.

W

hen Susan Eisen, owner of Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry and Watches in El Paso, TX, contemplated Christmas 2015, the mental picture was unnerving.

She had learned that two competing stores were planning major going out of business sales.

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“We’re all on Main Street here,” she says. “One is a quarter mile down the road; the other is a half a mile up.”

Too close for comfort.

She wondered how she could compete with GOB sales at such a crucial time of the year.

“A lot of us have to deal with that,” she says. “What do you do if you’re staying and everybody else is going?”

In fact, she’d been through it before, just three years ago when another competitor was closing up shop.

“I called 10 national and local marketing companies to try to find out what to do – should I ignore it? Do more advertising? You know what happened? I got 10 different answers, and when I was done I was back at square one. It was like, well, nobody really knows.”

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She put her faith in consistency.

“So I just let it ride. The same thing I did on this one pretty much, let it ride, and do what I was going to do regardless. Luckily, for us, everything was fine.”

In fact, she noticed that her average sale went way up for Christmas 2015.

People who wanted to spend $200 to $400 went to the sale, she surmised.

People who expected to spend more, valued their retail relationships, and were looking for something special, came to her store.

“They were our loyal customers and new people, and bridal people,” she says.

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She had made a few adjustments with marketing, investing a bit more in digital marketing and search engine optimization. One thing that’s always aggravating in that situation is that customers get confused and think Eisen is going out of business, she says.

“We were very conservative in what we were spending because I didn’t know what the future would bring. I didn’t want to overspend on advertising or merchandise.”

Now Christmas is over, but Eisen can’t rest easy.

Last time a competitor closed, three more moved into the area.

“But you do have an advantage if you know the customers and you know the market,” Eisen says.

 

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