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Editor's Note

Want to Make More Money? Leave Your Product Comfort Zone

To have the right product for customers, you may have to leave your comfort zone.

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Last week, I was on the phone with our publisher, Matthijs Braakman, whose wife has recently opened an arts and crafts store in their hometown. We were discussing the various issues that confront retailers these days, and he said, “The bottom line is that if you don’t have product that people want, you’re not going to last long.”

It’s true: if you don’t have your product mix right, all the money and cool showrooms and genius social media strategies in the world won’t help you.

With that in mind, we bring you an issue chock-full of new product for show season. In our annual trend report, we show you the latest trends alongside comments from our Brain Squad regarding each style. 

But what will you do with this information?

I hope you’ll consider taking on some new product this season; something that doesn’t qualify as a “staple.” Sure, reordering top sellers is a must, but how do you keep clients coming back for more? You give them something new to look at and enjoy.

It doesn’t have to be expensive. There are more innovative, affordable lines than ever before as fine and fashion have merged into price points under $500. These are the lines that could provide sales growth for 2018.

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You don’t have to go in blind. Read the experts’ advice and ask your fellow retailers what’s proven successful in other markets. Make an educated decision and ride it through the end of the year. Get your staff excited, market your new product and see what happens. 

Hope to see you all in Las Vegas!

Want to Make More Money? Leave Your Product Comfort Zone

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find Inside This Edition

  • 1. Conduct “stay interviews” to find out what makes your employees most happy and productive. (Ask Instore, page 97)
  • 2. Close your store for a week so that everyone can vacation at once. (Brainstorm, page 92)
  • 3. Hire an employee to call past clients with an incentive to update their information. (Best of the Best, page 87)
  • 4. Use questions, not talk, to control the sales process. (Shane Decker, page 98)
  • 5. If a client is intent on a bargain, offer a discount on an older item. (One-Minute Mentor, page 96)

Trace Shelton is the editor-in-chief of INSTORE magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].

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Wilkerson Testimonials | Sollberger’s

Going Out of Business Is an Emotional Journey. Wilkerson Is There to Make It Easier.

Jaki Cowan, the owner of Sollberger’s in Ridgeland, MS, decided the time was right to close up shop. The experience, she says, was like going into the great unknown. There were so many questions about the way to handle the store’s going-out-of-business sale. Luckily for Cowan, Wilkerson made the transition easier and managed everything, from marketing to markdowns.

“They think of everything that you don’t have the time to think of,” she says of the Wilkerson team that was assigned to manage the sale. And it was a total success, with financial goals met by Christmas with another sale month left to go.

Wilkerson even had a plan to manage things while Covid-19 restrictions were still in place. This included limiting the number of shoppers, masking and taking temperatures upon entrance. “We did everything we could to make the staff and public feel as safe as possible.”

Does she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers thinking of retiring, liquidating or selling excess merchandise? Absolutely. “If you are considering going out of business, it’s obviously an emotional journey. But truly rest assured that you’re in good hands with Wilkerson.”

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