Building a quilting store requires a lot of work – from selecting products to finding a space to lease to hiring employees. Once your store is up and running, what’s next? That’s where retail strategy comes into play. It is a process of getting people interested in your quilts and boosting in-store sales.
Approximately 20% of small businesses fail within their first operational year. It is critical to have a well-rounded retail strategy in place to prevent your store from succumbing to disaster. This article aims to guide fabric and sewing businesses about surefire ways to raise brand awareness, increase sales and strengthen customer loyalty using the right retail strategies.
Understanding the Quilting Market
The first and most important step is to closely study the quilting market and understand how it works. Explore your target audience and their preferences through surveys, online polls, and questionnaires, and stay on top of current trends and demands. As per Sean Roylance, CEO of Like Sew, “If you have a smaller population that you cater to, then it’s probably more important to appeal to a broader audience because you only have a certain number of people that can potentially come into your store.” Another key factor is to analyze your competitors and see what pricing and successful sales strategies they are employing. This will enable you to identify your problem areas and work on them.
Defining Your Unique Value Proposition
Standing out from the crowd is very important in a competitive environment, and this can be achieved by strategically highlighting your store’s unique selling point. If all the products appear the same, your potential customer won’t know which quilt is right for them.
While catering to your main audience is important, it is equally important to add personality to your quilting store. Sean said, “One of the other things I felt like I’ve seen is that in so many cases, the people who are successful are the ones who make their shop a little bit of a reflection of themselves.”
Moreover, you need to convince the customer that they will benefit from your using your products, so it is crucial to highlight the advantages of shopping at your store. Lastly, creating a compelling brand identity and story will make your business more relatable and your store more inviting to potential customers.
Store Layout and Visual Merchandising
We’ve all heard “first impression is the last impression,” and that quote rings true for retail stores. Before a customer comes close to buying your quilts, your store layout must encourage them to enter. Improving the look and feel of your store, from the exterior paint to landscaping and parking, will do the job.
Next, your products should be attractive enough to entice the customers to make the purchase. This can be achieved by visual merchandising, including vivid colors and eye-catching displays highlighting product features. Optimizing the store layout for a seamless customer experience is another important retail strategy element that will encourage sales.
Product Assortment and Inventory Management
Product assortment and inventory management are crucial for ensuring the success of a quilting retail store. Product assortment involves carrying a range of diverse quilting products to fit varying customer needs, while inventory management ensures that you carry enough merchandise that shoppers want, with neither too much nor too little on hand. This also includes assessing the demand for different types of fabrics, patterns, and accessories to optimize the customer experience.
Customer Engagement and Experience
Having the right products isn’t enough. As a quilting retail store owner or manager, you have to ensure that your products are backed by exceptional customer service and personalized assistance. This will help buyers feel more valued and ultimately garner loyalty.
Besides customer experience, it is important to boost customer engagement as well. This is because the more emotionally invested a customer is, the stronger connection they will have with your brand. Organizing quilting workshops, classes, and events are good options for increasing customer engagement.
Moreover, leveraging technology for online engagement and building an online quilting community can diversify your target audience and reinforce your brand image.
Marketing and Promotion
Marketing is an integral component of any retail strategy since it advertises your businesses to new and existing customers, creates a buzz, and generates revenue, which is the bottom line for most businesses. Developing a comprehensive marketing plan targeting the 4 Ps (product, price, place, and promotion) is a good start.
Next, utilize popular digital marketing channels, such as social media and email campaigns, and identify which ones generate the most traffic. A good way to reach the masses is through collaborating with popular influencers, bloggers, and local quilting groups. Through trial and error, you will better understand which channels work best for your quilting retail store and which don’t.
Enhancing Online Presence and E-commerce
In the current digital era, building an online presence is a must for the success of any business. It helps provide more sales opportunities, particularly for customers who live far from your store or can’t make it in during business hours. The first step is to build a visually pleasing and responsive website that offers a seamless e-commerce experience.
Back it up with popular social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok. Post and update these platforms regularly and pay close attention to customer feedback, such as their testimonials and reviews.
Customer Loyalty and Retention Strategies
First sales are great, but getting repeat buyers is even more important. Increasing customer loyalty and retention can drastically grow your profits, so make sure to implement loyalty programs and rewards for repeat customers. These could include special discounts, “Buy 1 get 1 free” deals, or a surprise gift on special occasions like their birthdays. If you don’t have the budget to offer financial perks, a simple email showing your gratitude for their loyalty can sometimes be effective.
Another way to retain customers is by collecting feedback and actively addressing complaints or concerns. Remember, if you don’t improve your product or service, your customer will quickly find a seller who will. Personalized follow-ups and communication are also excellent for building long-term relationships.
Adapting to Market Changes and Continuous Improvement
Due to technological advancements and ever-evolving technology, markets today are highly dynamic. As a quilting business, you should always stay updated with the current industry trends and adapt to them accordingly.
Analyzing sales data, customer feedback, and market insights for improvement is a must and will prevent your business from being left in the background. The trick is to embrace innovation with open arms and explore new quilting products and techniques to satisfy customer demands as they change.
Developing a retail strategy is mandatory for the success of any business, and a quilting store is no exception. It is crucial to first study the market, its ongoing trends, and demands to understand customer needs and then come up with the right marketing strategies to convey your brand message.
Inventory management is another key element that can be achieved using innovative software such as Like Sew, and it will ensure that you always have enough stock to effectively meet customer demands. Remember that setbacks are normal, but adapting to the changes and quickly recovering from the pitfalls will ensure your business keeps flourishing.