Speak to any anyone, basically anywhere in the country this year, and ask them how are they doing, and most of the time you hear “I am so done with winter!”. It has been a brutal winter, especially for those in the Mid-Atlantic, New England and Midwest parts of the country. But surprisingly, other areas that are not normally thought of as “winter” states are being affected. From Atlanta to South Carolina, to Texas, everyone has a bad weather story to share this past few months. A lot of retailers rely on customers walking in, and if there is a snowstorm or if it is just too cold, many times those sales just go away and it is so hard to make them up. So what can a retail store do in these situations and during these times? Here are a few tips on how to make snow days turn into opportunities to strengthen your customer relationships:
1. Make follow up phone calls to your customers – we all have so much work all the time, and this is a good time to look over our “to do” list or “action plan” and make those phone calls we have been pushing off.
2. If you have no more follow up phone calls – check in with your best customers. If you are snowed in, chances are many of your customers are as well. Use this as an opportunity to give them a call and check in on them. Let them know about what is new, did you bring in a new line that you think they would like? Is it around a holiday and you want to remind them to update their wish list. Is your wish list online? If so encourage them to take some time today to update the list from home or tell them to email you some items they want you to add to their in house wish list.
3. If the store is open, make sure your customers know about it. Post on your social media channels; send an e-blast to your customers letting them know and tell them to come in for some hot chocolate with marshmallows and donuts.
4. Encourage them to come in when the weather gets better for a free jewelry cleaning. For some moms, staying home means lots of baking with the kids and cooking for the family. Let them know that if their rings are getting a little too covered with all that good food, come in and have them look like new again (and then tell them to bring in some of those delicious cookies!)
5. If bridal is a strong area of business for your store, investigate whether there are some local bridal shows that you should participate in. Getting out of your store and doing these shows gives you an opportunity to target a large group of consumers that are specifically looking for your product. But don’t just show up to the shows, you have to be prepared. Make the experience fun and relevant. Bring your tablet or IPAD and, while at the show, encourage soon to be brides and grooms to try on rings and take pictures of them on, then automatically post these pictures to your instagram and/or pinterest page, and ask them to do the same. Remember, most of these shows are not for selling, they are more of a marketing expense and a way to get your name out there.
Ultimately, none of us can predict the weather. Storms and inclement conditions affect us all and have an impact on our sales. One important thing to remember when budgeting for the year, is to take into account that you will loose some days to bad weather. Putting this in your plan from the beginning, helps with the stress as it is happening.
At the end of the day, try to make the most out of a no win situation that you just have no control over!