7 Secrets of Highly Successful Retailers

7 Secrets of Highly Successful Retailers

Tuesday, November 17 2015

Struggling to compete with the big stores or simply looking to take your business to the next level? In August 2015, we brought in the industry’s most sought-after specialists to address those topics for our highly popular MAGIC Seminar Series.

Here are 7 strategies highly successful retailers implement to thrive no matter the retail climate—or competition.



1. Be extremely selective about who you hire.

It sounds obvious, but a selective approach to hiring is often overlooked, especially in a high-turnover industry like retail.

As Mel Kleiman, author of “Hire Right, Manage Easy,” says, “The most important decision a manager makes everyday is who is allowed in the doors to help take care of customers. If you hire the wrong people, all the fancy management techniques in the world won’t bail you out.”

2. Rethink the way you recruit people.

It may be hard to find a good job, but it can be just as hard to find the right employees. But if you’re strategic and assertive, finding the right people can reap huge dividends.

Mercedes Gonzalez of Global Purchasing Companies explains, “You have to find the right people. Poach them from other stores. People who are good have jobs.”

Mel Kleiman recommends being just as strategic about when you post your job listings online, suggesting employers post at night because talented, employed people look for jobs after work. He says, “Don’t look for employees. Look for employees looking for a better job.”



3. Don’t buy more, buy smarter.

Educate yourself on trends and what your specific customer wants. You don’t always have to have more merchandise, but you do have to have what your customer is looking for.

Paul Erickson of RMSA offers, “Too much of your money can get stuck in unproductive inventory. You have to have a strategy. Overbuying is the #1 cause of excessive markdowns.”


4. Make sure your markup covers your mistakes…and more.

You cannot choose an arbitrary markup. Many novice retailers simply go by the MSRP, or multiply the wholesale price by a certain percentage, but that may not cover your bottom line, let alone offer you a profit.

As Paul Erickson says ”You have 3 key elements you need to cover in your markup. Markdowns, operating expenses, and desired net profit.”



5. Know your unique value and sell THAT.

“You can never compete with price. No one wins the price wars,” says Gonzales.

Believe it or not, money is not the only motivator for today’s consumer. If you’re not a major department store, chances are people are shopping your store for your unbelievable customer service, your eye for undiscovered brands and unique items, or your sense of community.  Figure out what makes you different from other retailers and market that.

6. Find unique ways to get people in the door.

We’ve all encountered snobby, rude sales staff, or been to an overall uninviting store. And chances are, we never went back. There are so many amazing ways to get people in the door—and often, they have nothing to do with clothes.

As Mercedes Gonzales says, “You have to have that wow moment.” She suggests offering cookies, having universal cell phone chargers, or setting up a kids play area,.

The more people want to spend time in your store, the more likely you are to find new, satisfied customers.

7. Always curate your merchandise.

“Tell them why they should buy merchandise,” says Paul Erickson.

In a competitive retail climate, customers are overwhelmed with options. Smart retailers make their customers’ shopping experience easier by constantly curating their inventory. Make a section for employee picks, tell them what’s just arrived and what’s just marked down, frame “as seen on” celebrity editorials, or highlight your best sellers. The options for curated collections are endless, and can increase the likelihood your merchandise gets seen—and purchased.


For more expert tips and insider info, register for MAGIC and attend our MAGIC Seminar Series for free.