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While 2014 may be in full swing, it’s not too late to make that New Year’s resolution for your store or company. To help spark some inventive, beneficial and effective ways to make 2014 your best year, SNEWS and the Outdoor Industry Association partnered to bring you the Ten Tips for Retailers in the New Year.
1. Be social — Leverage social media to reach your loyal customers and engage new ones like online retailer Backcountry.com did with its Facebook and website promotion of its holiday shopping guide.
2. Get outside — Take a hike with your customers or colleagues. Appalachian Outfitters in Peninsula, Ohio hosted a fall hiking series with trekking pole manufacturer Leki to promote participation and engagement with customers. Whatever it is, make sure to have some fun and remember why we all love the outdoor industry.
3. Host a movie night — Who doesn’t love an aspirational adventure movie now and then? Renting a movie and a projector is an inexpensive and fun way to encourage your customers to hang out in the store for a little bit … and those (optional) discount cards can help you move some stock after the movie ends. Lake of the Sky Outfitters in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. is doing just this on Feb 15, 2014.
4. Teach. Teach. Teach. — Educate your employees and be open to talking with them often. The Outdoor Industry Association provides frequent seminars as part of their Outdoor University program. Don’t have time for a seminar, make sure you and your employees read the latest issues of SNEWS Retail College.
5. And don’t forget to learn — Be open to input from customers, staff and other retailers. For example, Horny Toad writes the Specialty Retail Collective blog for retail owners, managers, buyers and merchandisers with content specific to help create the best retail experience possible.
6. Join — Go beyond your retail store, warehouse or office cube and become a member of the Outdoor Industry Association. You not only will benefit from networking opportunities, educational events and trade show discounts, but you also will be part of the larger industry voice that advocates for national issues to promote funding for outdoor recreation, positive trade policies and public land use rights.
7. Educate your customers — An in-store clinic is a great way to turn that “outsidesy” college kid into an outdoorsy adult. Teach them how to pack, the ins-and-outs of Leave No Trace, how to pick a good spot to pitch a tent – earn their trust and build their confidence.
8. Stand Out — You’ve got a great team, a great location and fantastic gear, so why not shout it from the rooftops? Put your name on shirts and bottles and let your customers sell your shop for you through branding. If they’re so enthusiastic about your shop that they wear your shirt out on the trail, that’s a good sign and a great way to bring more like-minded people into your store.
9. Get moving — Experiment with your floor in the spring. Has your climbing department been languishing in the same location for the past three years? Is your camping gear not selling as well as you had hoped? Move a slow department and see what happens – not only will your customers see the store in a new and fresh light, but your staff gets to touch some gear they previously might have overlooked.
10. Give back — Creative giving can be a local coat drive at your store or a large-scale national campaign. SmartWool deemed October “Socktober” and partnered with Kid President to drive donations for 1 million pairs of socks to homeless shelters across the country. Not only did they support this giving campaign they also surprised one loyal SmartWool customer with a box of socks each week in October