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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: February 2009

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Fresh tips to better your store.

There’s nothing wrong with cookies; be clear about your expectations; more.

[componentheading]SUCCESS RECIPE[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Stimulate With Aroma[/contentheading]

If you’ve read INSTORE over the years, you may have noticed a seemingly disproportionate number of successful retailers telling how they offer fresh-made cookies to customers. Now there’s evidence from scientists that this is much more than a simple act of hospitality. A recent study published in the Journal Of Consumer Research found that women were more likely to make impulsive decisions when exposed to “appetitive stimulants” such as the smell of chocolate-chip cookies. What’s it mean for you? Start baking if you want to make your customers feel hungry for the pleasure of a purchase.

[componentheading]MILLENIAL WONDERS[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Get To Know Them[/contentheading]

Chances are you’ve got a few millennials, 18- to 28-year-olds, on your staff. And you may have been wondering why they seem to feel they are entitled to the moon — as well as a flexible schedule, high salary and plenty of vacation time. Ron Alsop of the Wall Street Journal, in his book “The Trophy Kids Grow Up,” argues they were raised to expect constant positive feedback and rewards for everything they participated in. Employers must be clear about what they expect, but they also may want to bend a bit to accommodate top talent. “Employers need to show new hires how their work makes a difference and why it’s of value to the company. Smart managers will listen to their young employees’ opinions, and give them some say in decisions. Employers also can detail the career opportunities available to millennials if they’ll just stick around for awhile.”

[componentheading]ROLL THE DICE[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Play Business Games[/contentheading]

The family that plays together sticks together. And the old saw may hold particularly true when it comes to board games and multigenerational jewelry stores. GenSpring Family Offices has developed a board game called Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves that is designed to be “an enjoyable, nonthreatening conversation starter” for parents who are skittish about initiating a frank family discussion of the challenges of intergenerational wealth transition. The object of the game, like life, is to not run out of money by the time the business is run by the third-generation of family members.

[componentheading]PURPOSE-DRIVEN ERROR[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Turn an Ad On Its Head[/contentheading]

Casey Gallant liked our October tip that you proof your print ads upside down so much, she suggested taking it one step further: “Run the ad upside-down. It’s a virtual guarantee that your ad will get noticed. Just be prepared to field all the calls asking if you did it on purpose,” says the owner of Stephen Gallant Jewelers in Orleans, MA. We’d also suggest a thematic tag line, “Turn her world upside down!”

[componentheading]PAPER, SCISSORS, STOCK[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Buy In Bulk[/contentheading]

This year, do your office-supplies shopping all in one place. The big office superstores all offer online order management, free delivery for orders over $50, and loyalty rewards programs. In addition, Officemaxcommercial.com and Staplescontract.com are free programs that work like managed-travel programs, helping customers track and reduce total office-supply spending through more efficient ordering and discounts for volume buying. Office Depot offers similar services through its bsdofficedepot.com.

[componentheading]TARGET PRACTICE[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Set Goals[/contentheading]

It doesn’t sound like much of a tip but it’s vital you set goals in an extremely specific manner with salespeople, say Ivan R. Misner and Don Morgan, the authors of Masters Of Sales. “Top salespeople are intensely goal oriented.” The more specific the goals, the better the best salespeople tend to do, they argue.

[componentheading]BLAH, BLAH, BLOG[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Set Up a Store Diary[/contentheading]

If you read business magazines you’ve no doubt come across stories touting blogs as a way to communicate with your customers or to help drive Internet traffic to your store. Author Seth Godin believes their greatest benefit may simply be as a tool of record, maybe even with a password. “Use it as an internal diary, a way of tracking each day so that a month or a year from now, you can look back at where you were and how you dealt with the issue of the day,” he writes on his own blog. “Even if no one else on your team reads your blog, the act of creating it will be worthwhile. Perspective is worth a lot more than it costs,” Godin says.

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

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