Get a theme/brand/niche. One of THE most important things in marketing is that you have to occupy a place in the heart of your customers. There are many words spent on talking about what this means, but for the time being I will keep it brief. This means that you need to ANCHOR your brand to an emotion, a thought or a competitive advantage. Tom Peters calls it a UPOV*8, ie a Unique Point Of View in 8 words or less. It has to be something that sets you apart from the rest, can be easily defined and creates an AURA around you. Everything you then do has to REINFORCE this. Greenpeace – protect the fragile earth Aston Martin – Beautiful, Luxurious, Serious Drivers McDonalds – Fast food, low cost, good service.
Atmosphere. Anyone who is familiar with The Wizard will know about using multiple Thought Particles to create an atmosphere. In a retails store this part is critical. Use lighting; colour, spot, candle, globe. Create effects, dazzle, subdue, highlight. Use Smells; Floral, food, leather, Grass. Awaken the senses. Use colour; Complimentary (Violet & Yellow, Indigo & Orange). Antagonistic Use sound; Loud, soft noise, music, fast, slow It is up to you to come up with the rest. Singapore Airlines, the smell has been patented Stores, the lighting is sparse, and standard
PZAZZ – Create steam, drama, velocity. Hire, fast working ferocious staff/Actors who fight/rollerbladers/gymnasts/circus clowns. It is like those funny home videos, you just can’t help but look.
HIRE Good Salespeople – This really should be rule number one, because it is that good. You are defined by those who work for you. Get the right people on the bus (http://www.jimcollins.com/). Use your brand to hire people that “FIT”Always make room for good sales people.
Define yourself – That is you, the owner. In the military they have stripes that define who you are. A wise man once said to me, “what is the point of being somewhere, if no one knows you are there.” Wear, use, have a bright red tie. Die your hair. Dress like a Mime. Your team and customers deserve to notice who you are.
Business Names must be obvious – a good practical point. Don’t call yourself “Dave’s” because no one will know what you sell. Give yourself a name that both defines what you are and what you do. Look through the dictionary. Find words that sum up what you are about.
Business Location Location Location!! – You can not underestimate the benefits of a good location. High Visibility, good foot traffic, access to distribution centres. Pay for a high traffic location, it is VERY cheap advertising.
Invest in good Signage – Get someone to design your sign and shop front WELL. It is extremely important when setting up the store.
Share your vision with everyone – All your employees, regular customers, friends and family should know what your store/business is all about. It should be reflected in the brand, the smell, the products and the processes. Make it visible, make it a slogan, make it count.
Handle complaints immediately and thoroughly– Make sure you take complaints on board. They are constructive critisim. Even if you think the perpetrator is a fruit loop, he may be saying what everyone else is thinking. Tom Peters talks about talking to the lunatic fringe. From these comments, you may be able to improve service in leaps and bounds.
Give something back – Most companies are starting to get it. Pick a good cause and get behind it. Sponsoring local sports teams is good. Planting a forest is better. Leverage is the key. Make sure you publicise what you are doing. Don’t turn it into a marketing campaign, but make sure everyone in your sphere is aware of it.