Thursday, August 2, 2018

Favorite Entrepreneurial Takeaways from the Retail Success Summit 2018

This past month I attended the 10th Annual Retail Success Summit, presented by WhizBang! Training in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This training is geared towards store owners, but employs principles that can be universal in their business application. Last year I came home filled to the brim with ideas and motivation, so I went back this year hoping for the same.

I was not disappointed! I made an entire book of notes, but I thought I’d pare them down and share a few favorites that other entrepreneurs across various industries can also put to use. 

  1. This one did not come in the form of a session or a tip, but it was used heavily and successfully throughout the conference, and I brought it home to my own July staff meeting for a bit of fun and some great results. This website allows you to create live, interactive presentations where participants can pull out their smartphones, enter a code, and submit their votes. These can be open-ended “word clouds,” multiple choice questions, scales, reactions, and so much more. It’s a great way to keep your audience’s attention, to brainstorm for honest input, and to encourage participation by allowing anonymous responses.  
  2. Hire Good Staff. The saying at the conference was, “To make good chicken, you need to start with good chicken.” If you want a top-notch employee, you need to hire a top-notch person. If you think about your top-performing employee, and that person’s average sale (or output, depending on your industry), and then compare it to the rest of your team’s average, the difference is the income you are losing every time an employee besides your top employee does the work. Be selective; hire and train only people who can reach that top level. 
  3. TOMA – Top of Mind Awareness. “It’s not your customer’s job to remember you; it’s your job to be remembered!” Some of us feel awkward reaching out to our contact lists too often, but communication is key. One particular analogy at the conference stood out to me: If you are set up on a blind date, and at the end of the evening ask for your date’s phone number, you better call that date soon. If you wait six months, it’s pretty certain that the date will have forgotten you and will want nothing more to do with you! It’s the same with our new contacts. When we collect phone numbers or email addresses with the customers’ consent to contact them, we need to find a reason to communicate with them quickly, and then stay in front of them so we are always at the “top of their minds.”  
  4. Be Generous in Accepting Returns (or handling issues). In recent years, several large chains that were famous for their liberal return policies have tightened their rules and imposed stricter policies. But this is not putting the customer first, and studies have shown that more lenient policies actually increase purchases and decrease returns! Why? First, the lower perceived risk gives your customers the confidence to make purchases, and it gives your staff the same confidence in making recommendations to customers, knowing that if it doesn’t turn out to be the perfect purchase, the business will take care of the customer. Second, deadlines force people to take action more quickly. If you are undecided about whether you want to keep or return your brand new widget on Day 29, you’re more apt to bring it back if your options expire on Day 30. Finally, the “endowment effect” says that the longer we keep something, the more we become attached to it. Nordstrom offers a great example of a customer-friendly return policy: “We handle returns on a case-by-case basis with the ultimate objective of making our customers happy….We'll always do our best to take care of customers—our philosophy is to deal with them fairly and reasonably.”

These are just a few bright tidbits that came out of two inspiration-filled days at the Summit. If you like these and are hungry for more, check out, where you can sign up for the Whizbang! “Tip of the Week” email and learn about other available training. We’ve already started implementing some of the action items from the Summit in my own business with great success, and my team is excited to keep rolling them out in the months to come!

No comments :

Post a Comment