Be Our Guest!
I am on the same journey and quest to become a Remarkable Retailer that you are on…and have tried many different approaches to product selection over the years, but one decision that we made many years ago has continued to pay off in a variety of ways. To be a Remarkable Retailer or an Exceptional Entrepreneur, you must step outside of your comfort zone and do something that other businesses are NOT doing!
Zig when everyone else Zags!
My friend and co-worker, Sandy Brooks gave me a book titled “Crazy is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging when everyone else Zags” by Linda Rottenberg (I mentioned this in an earlier post as well), and I think adding a Gourmet & Kitchenware department to your existing store may seem a little “Crazy” to some store owners. However, you need to take steps to set your store apart from all of the other cookie-cutter businesses that are out there!
That one decision I mentioned earlier was the decision to commit to a Gourmet Foods/Kitchenware Department in our retail store, stop dabbling in gourmet foods and take our selection and our service to a new level. We made this decision several years ago and it has been a game changer for our store! It changes the atmosphere of your business when you offer drinks and a small snack to the customers shopping in your store.
Today we’re going to talk about 5 Great Reasons to Go Gourmet!!!
1. Hospitality: When you offer food or drinks to your guests that are shopping in your store, those shoppers are more deeply connected to you and your store. They tend to linger longer with a drink in their hand, and seem to be more open to hearing about the other products that you offer.
2. Hands on: Doug Fleener talks about getting something into the hands of our customers. Gourmet and Kitchenware provide such a good opportunity to get a conversation started with our clients. Intro’s such as “Have you tasted our new____________, or have you tried this cool little kitchen gadget? These are easy ways to engage with our customers on a very practical level.
3. Gourmet Samples: These simple gourmet mixes become the “MILK” item in your store, and once your customers know there are “goodies” in the back, they will walk the entire length of your store to get a little treat, thus at least walking by a large variety of products in the store.
4. Practical Gift Giving: Our customers are looking for practical gift giving ideas as many people are not interested in another “knick-knack” for their home. Gourmet Foods & Kitchenware are a great choice for practical gifts. They make great corporate gifts, and can easily be shipped across the country. People “use up” these gifts and tend to want more!
5. Higher Sales: When shoppers linger in your store, they do tend to purchase more items. When people are sipping cider or lemonade, having a little bite of a dessert, soup or dip, they slow down for a little bit and take a look around their surroundings. This is a good chance for us to interact with them and thus begin a “relationship” with them, rather than a fast transaction.
How to do it!
Commit to serving gourmet samples DAILY (no matter what) and sample at least 3 items plus a drink. This way people can count on your store being a special place that they can invite a new friend to…we all love to “surprise & delight” our friends with something a little “extra.”
Our Top Selling Gourmet Lines:
Savory Fine Foods – Savory Saltine Seasoning
Dutch Valley Foods – Jake & Amos Hot & Sweet Pepper & Corn Relish
Ravens Nest Specialities – Raspberry Jalapeno & Pumpkin Butter
Molly & Drew Beer Bread Company – Original Beer Bread, Dips & Desserts
Wind & Willow Soups, Dessert Mixes
Country Home Creations – Savory & Sweet Dip & Dessert Mixes
Choose a “Vendor of the Week”
Just like the “Candle of the Month” offers, highlighting a Gourmet or Kitchenware Vendor each week allows you to introduce your customers to several items from the same line. You can take photos at market or pull images from the vendors website to post to your Facebook Page or use in your weekly email. This provides content that is more “social” than most business posts.
The VALUE of Recipes
Print out Recipes of what you’re sampling using your mixes and display them by the product you are sampling. Again, it gives something for the customer to pick up and have in their hand. We also publish our recipes to our Recipe Blog, which now has over 700 recipes! (We’ve been doing this for awhile!) Recipes are a perfect thing to post to your Facebook Page.
Bring your Staff onboard to make MAGIC happen!
We are all looking for ways to set our businesses apart from the rest, and it is always up to US to make the magic happen! You WILL meet resistance from your staff, especially long time staff members when you implement this new plan because it requires mixing up dips or desserts, SERVING people, cleaning up crumbs, etc. and it is much easier for them NOT to do this. I can tell you that it is completely worth the effort to create an atmosphere of warmth and welcoming in your store. You would never invite friends over to your home and not offer them something to drink and at least a little snack. The same holds true for your store.
Be OPEN to CHANGE!
Remind your staff that a business that is not open to change is not going to remain open, and that goes for staff members as well…Retail is all about changing it up from last season or last year and those staff members that are creative and willing to change are the rock stars!
I hope today’s episode has challenged to you some way, whether you choose to “Go Gourmet” or not. We are all in a do or die economy and this is one way we can “ZIG” when everyone else “ZAGS.” Being on the Journey to Remarkable is sometimes messy and can involve cracker crumbs, soups or chocolate! I am reminded that our success is truly in the journey, not at the finish line.
Today’s Action Items:
Find a 6 foot space at the back of your store that you can create a small “Gourmet” department in. Start with a simple drink like Hot Apple Cider (sell Aspen Mulling Spices or Raven’s Cider Mix to flavor it with of course), or in the summer, you can serve ice water with cucumber or lemon slices in it or lemonade.
Place small orders with 3 or 4 proven gourmet food vendors and commit to sampling each day:
1 sweet dip
1 savory dip
Savory Saltine Crackers (our top SKU)
Seasonally, soup is very easy to sample, by the way!
Savory Fine Foods
(Top Sellers: Original Savory Saltine Cracker Seasoning)
Dutch Valley Foods
(Best Sellers: Jake & Amos Brand Hot & Sweet Pepper Relish; Medium Corn Salsa)
Raven’s Nest Specialties ~Monica Smith, owner
(Best Sellers: Raspberry Jalapeño Jam, Pumpkin Butter, Mulling Spices)
Molly & Drew: The Beer Bread Company ~ Molly Wilson Kohler, owner
(Best Sellers: Original Beer Bread; Beer Cake Mixes, Dip & Dessert Mixes)
Wind & Willow
(Best Sellers: Soup Mixes, Cheeseball Mixes, Dip Mixes)
Country Home Creations ~ Shirley, owner
(Best Sellers: Excellent Sweet & Savory Dip Mixes)
My recommendation for the above product lines is purely from our experience in selling these product lines in our retail store. No compensation has been offered or required for this testimonial….These are just great lines and I highly recommend them! ~Vicki Adrian
As always, I am available to answer questions, share thoughts and ideas and even help you get this new department up and running in your own stores. Just send me an email at Vicki@remarkableretailer.com or give me a call.
Thank you for joining us today for this episode of “Remarkable Retailer.” I hope you’ve found some tips, tools and tactics for taking your business to the next level.
Until next time…Remember, you always have choices in life… Choose to be Remarkable!
PO Box 260 Buhler, KS 67522