Just some ideas about Retail to kick around. The face of retail is changing. I know many people like citations for everything but I prefer talking about simple ideas and personal realities sometimes. I read a lot but in the end I trust my instincts.
I recently started a small florist business. I went to floral design school and I knew I was entering a changing industry. Americans have gotten used to cheap, convenient, grocery store flowers and retail florist shops are in sharp decline.
To keep overhead low, I decided to work from home and to have no employees if possible. I renovated my basement and invested in the proper coolers, delivery truck system, etc. I also knew I couldn't, under zoning, have retail customers coming to my house but if I meet with people by appointment to discuss their wedding plans, etc, that is okay. So I have my wedding clients, then for other customers, I joined, (partnered with) FTD, so if anybody goes to FTD online and wants to send flowers to anybody where I live, I get the order. I am also "partnered" with an ECO store, a large Supermarket and a Hospital to sell my flowers. So "partnerships" and new ways of retailing help retailers survive.
New and innovative pieces of your business develop, such as: I have been known to do favors for customers such as stopping to pick up your flower recipient's favorite beverage to accompany your flower delivery, and paying special attention to the cards I use and the penmanship and length of the personal messages.
The best advertising money I have spent so far has been my website. Buying online is the future of most retail. Making sure that my website has everything that Google likes in it has brought many customers to my door. People are just too busy to "go" shopping anymore. Some of the stores where I live are like giant empty museums. I experimented with Local TV ads, the Newspaper and the radio. The TV ads were the least effective.
I recently got an unbelievable endorsement from a Hollywood legend, which I will be adding to the Testimonials section of my website. This kind of "word of mouth" in the small community where I live and work will be the most important piece of the advertising puzzle for a personal service business like mine. How do you generate word of mouth in a society where no one takes the time to talk to each other anymore? Have a Puff Daddy endorse you?
Anyway, Retail is changing big time because of technology and people being so darned busy. We will see more mergers and acquisitions in Retail, just like I'm seeing here on Main Street. I probably just convinced myself to buy Google stock because I really see them as the retail gatekeeper now.