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How to Survive the Wine Retail Business

How to Survive the Wine Retail Business


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I recently had the opportunity to sit down with several friends who work in retail stores here in New York City. Over the course of several days and a few long conversations, I began to think of their plight. Not only have they been fairly battered by the economic climate of the past several years, but they are constantly facing new challenges. Better Internet availability of wines, impending approval of wine in supermarkets, the need to keep up with social media’s demands (from maintaining a presence on Facebook and Twitter to rethinking in-store signage and advertising), all combine to make retail a bit of a scary place today.

I’ve put together a few thoughts on what retailers might want to consider while moving forward through 2012, but I’m also reaching out to all of you. I would love to hear what you think about the state of the retail wine business. What do you think forward-thinking retailers should be doing today to make sure their businesses are growing tomorrow?

And retailers, what can you do to help ensure your continued survival? The first point is so obvious that it can be easily forgotten.

1. Remember you are in the service business

Sounds obvious, right? But judging from my experience, this is not always the case. I’m sure many of you might respond that you are in the wine business, which while technically true is a meaningless diversion. Retail wine sales are, by definition, consumer facing commodity sales. Yes, part of that role is providing expertise, but I often see the very fundamentals of commerce being ignored. Like what? How about cleanliness, courtesy and respect?

It is that simple at its base. Keep a clean, well-organized store and consumers are likely to think more highly of you.

Treat customers with courtesy whether they are buying $5 or $500 worth of hooch. You really can’t judge a book by its cover, and I am walking proof of that!

And respect my intelligence, please. I know what corked wine is, and even cooked wine, but I do recognize that many consumers don’t. When those consumers want to return a bottle, it is often because they don’t like it, not because of the defect they claim to detect. We know that, but what I also know from my years in retail is that a minuscule percentage of wine actually gets returned. How little? In my experience, somewhere between one-tenth and four-tenths of a percent.

That is still a lot of money, thousands of dollars on each million in sales, but you should take the hit. Not because of the people who don’t know what corked wine is, but because of the people who do! Treat the wine lovers and wine geeks well and they will not only return but will spread the word about your policy and attitude towards them. I’ve been on the receiving end of both good and bad publicity, there is no doubt which I’d rather see.


How to Survive the Wine Retail Business - Recipes

A few months ago, I read a conversation on the discussion boards of The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). In the discussion, an owner of a small toy store was recollecting a conversation between two young shoppers she had overheard in her store. The couple, upon seeing a toy they really liked, scoffed at the price and mentioned that they had seen the same toy at a larger retailer for considerably less. The storeowner allowed the couple to leave without engaging or purchasing anything, and then took to the discussion boards to express her discontent with suppliers for bending to the whims of her big-box competitors and failing to "help" small specialty stores like hers.

As the co-founder of Wild Creations, a developer and supplier of toy products, I took issue with the discussion. We sell to both small and large retailers, and, sure, we give better pricing based on volume. It's Business 101. We are, however, a small company ourselves and deal with the same pricing pressures as the retail stores we supply. I would never expect our suppliers to treat us like a charity, so our strategy is to differentiate ourselves on something other than price.

I am shocked at how many small retailers fail to see this opportunity. Small retailers, quite simply, cannot compete with the likes of Walmart or Amazon on price and expect to survive, no matter how you slice it. Like Wild Creations, they need to compete on experience.

One of my favorite examples of how a specialty retail store competes on experience is Wonder Works of Charleston, South Carolina. A small chain of four toy stores, it is run by a vibrant and excitable entrepreneur, Christine Osborne. When I take my six-year old son for a visit, we don't expect to get deals from a clearance rack. We expect to have an experience.

Here are five things small retailers can learn from Wonder Works in order to compete on something other than price.

1. Provide Incentive

When you walk into a Wonder Works store, there is typically someone there with a bright smile to greet you and shove a toy in your hands. The stores are small, but there is always room to sample products and interact with others. It's a playground, and kids (and, admittedly, I) love it. As well, Wonder Works regularly holds events, such as outdoor festivals, sidewalk sales, and fundraisers to encourage people to visit.

2. Offer Value

Wonder Works doesn't hide the fact that prices are probably higher. Instead, they create value by providing an experience when you visit. As well, regular patrons are rewarded with frequent specials through e-newsletters and social media. Unlike most small retailers, they put experience ahead of keystone.

3. Differentiate Products

Because large retailers rarely take chances on new products or new developers, specialty stores have the first opportunity to offer exclusive new items. Wonder Works was one of the first stores to offer our Wild Creations' EcoAquarium, and it continues to be one of their best selling products. Now, they are one of the first stores we engage to test new products and ideas.

4. Get Online

Although Wonder Works is still small by comparison, they offer a fantastic toy catalogue and website to support the in-store experience. It should be no secret that online shopping will continue to become a preferred method of shopping, so offering your clients this convenience will be a key to success.

5. Go Social

Wonder Works excels at attracting and, more important, retaining fans, especially on a local level. A playful newsletter, constant updates to their website, and social media channels, and an owner that is ubiquitous in Charleston and throughout the toy industry, assures that customers and fans are engaged constantly. No matter how small your retail company, you need to be engaging your customers through social media.

For any small business, competing with large competitors with vastly greater resources is always daunting. For specialty retail stores, the challenge is ten fold. To succeed, retail business owners need to work hard. plain and simple. Wonder Works' Christine Osborne is one of the hardest working individuals in the toy industry, but if there is one thing you will learn from her and Wonder Works it never seems like work!

Do you have a success story about a small retail business that is beating the odds and succeeding? Please share below!


How to Survive the Wine Retail Business - Recipes

A few months ago, I read a conversation on the discussion boards of The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). In the discussion, an owner of a small toy store was recollecting a conversation between two young shoppers she had overheard in her store. The couple, upon seeing a toy they really liked, scoffed at the price and mentioned that they had seen the same toy at a larger retailer for considerably less. The storeowner allowed the couple to leave without engaging or purchasing anything, and then took to the discussion boards to express her discontent with suppliers for bending to the whims of her big-box competitors and failing to "help" small specialty stores like hers.

As the co-founder of Wild Creations, a developer and supplier of toy products, I took issue with the discussion. We sell to both small and large retailers, and, sure, we give better pricing based on volume. It's Business 101. We are, however, a small company ourselves and deal with the same pricing pressures as the retail stores we supply. I would never expect our suppliers to treat us like a charity, so our strategy is to differentiate ourselves on something other than price.

I am shocked at how many small retailers fail to see this opportunity. Small retailers, quite simply, cannot compete with the likes of Walmart or Amazon on price and expect to survive, no matter how you slice it. Like Wild Creations, they need to compete on experience.

One of my favorite examples of how a specialty retail store competes on experience is Wonder Works of Charleston, South Carolina. A small chain of four toy stores, it is run by a vibrant and excitable entrepreneur, Christine Osborne. When I take my six-year old son for a visit, we don't expect to get deals from a clearance rack. We expect to have an experience.

Here are five things small retailers can learn from Wonder Works in order to compete on something other than price.

1. Provide Incentive

When you walk into a Wonder Works store, there is typically someone there with a bright smile to greet you and shove a toy in your hands. The stores are small, but there is always room to sample products and interact with others. It's a playground, and kids (and, admittedly, I) love it. As well, Wonder Works regularly holds events, such as outdoor festivals, sidewalk sales, and fundraisers to encourage people to visit.

2. Offer Value

Wonder Works doesn't hide the fact that prices are probably higher. Instead, they create value by providing an experience when you visit. As well, regular patrons are rewarded with frequent specials through e-newsletters and social media. Unlike most small retailers, they put experience ahead of keystone.

3. Differentiate Products

Because large retailers rarely take chances on new products or new developers, specialty stores have the first opportunity to offer exclusive new items. Wonder Works was one of the first stores to offer our Wild Creations' EcoAquarium, and it continues to be one of their best selling products. Now, they are one of the first stores we engage to test new products and ideas.

4. Get Online

Although Wonder Works is still small by comparison, they offer a fantastic toy catalogue and website to support the in-store experience. It should be no secret that online shopping will continue to become a preferred method of shopping, so offering your clients this convenience will be a key to success.

5. Go Social

Wonder Works excels at attracting and, more important, retaining fans, especially on a local level. A playful newsletter, constant updates to their website, and social media channels, and an owner that is ubiquitous in Charleston and throughout the toy industry, assures that customers and fans are engaged constantly. No matter how small your retail company, you need to be engaging your customers through social media.

For any small business, competing with large competitors with vastly greater resources is always daunting. For specialty retail stores, the challenge is ten fold. To succeed, retail business owners need to work hard. plain and simple. Wonder Works' Christine Osborne is one of the hardest working individuals in the toy industry, but if there is one thing you will learn from her and Wonder Works it never seems like work!

Do you have a success story about a small retail business that is beating the odds and succeeding? Please share below!


How to Survive the Wine Retail Business - Recipes

A few months ago, I read a conversation on the discussion boards of The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). In the discussion, an owner of a small toy store was recollecting a conversation between two young shoppers she had overheard in her store. The couple, upon seeing a toy they really liked, scoffed at the price and mentioned that they had seen the same toy at a larger retailer for considerably less. The storeowner allowed the couple to leave without engaging or purchasing anything, and then took to the discussion boards to express her discontent with suppliers for bending to the whims of her big-box competitors and failing to "help" small specialty stores like hers.

As the co-founder of Wild Creations, a developer and supplier of toy products, I took issue with the discussion. We sell to both small and large retailers, and, sure, we give better pricing based on volume. It's Business 101. We are, however, a small company ourselves and deal with the same pricing pressures as the retail stores we supply. I would never expect our suppliers to treat us like a charity, so our strategy is to differentiate ourselves on something other than price.

I am shocked at how many small retailers fail to see this opportunity. Small retailers, quite simply, cannot compete with the likes of Walmart or Amazon on price and expect to survive, no matter how you slice it. Like Wild Creations, they need to compete on experience.

One of my favorite examples of how a specialty retail store competes on experience is Wonder Works of Charleston, South Carolina. A small chain of four toy stores, it is run by a vibrant and excitable entrepreneur, Christine Osborne. When I take my six-year old son for a visit, we don't expect to get deals from a clearance rack. We expect to have an experience.

Here are five things small retailers can learn from Wonder Works in order to compete on something other than price.

1. Provide Incentive

When you walk into a Wonder Works store, there is typically someone there with a bright smile to greet you and shove a toy in your hands. The stores are small, but there is always room to sample products and interact with others. It's a playground, and kids (and, admittedly, I) love it. As well, Wonder Works regularly holds events, such as outdoor festivals, sidewalk sales, and fundraisers to encourage people to visit.

2. Offer Value

Wonder Works doesn't hide the fact that prices are probably higher. Instead, they create value by providing an experience when you visit. As well, regular patrons are rewarded with frequent specials through e-newsletters and social media. Unlike most small retailers, they put experience ahead of keystone.

3. Differentiate Products

Because large retailers rarely take chances on new products or new developers, specialty stores have the first opportunity to offer exclusive new items. Wonder Works was one of the first stores to offer our Wild Creations' EcoAquarium, and it continues to be one of their best selling products. Now, they are one of the first stores we engage to test new products and ideas.

4. Get Online

Although Wonder Works is still small by comparison, they offer a fantastic toy catalogue and website to support the in-store experience. It should be no secret that online shopping will continue to become a preferred method of shopping, so offering your clients this convenience will be a key to success.

5. Go Social

Wonder Works excels at attracting and, more important, retaining fans, especially on a local level. A playful newsletter, constant updates to their website, and social media channels, and an owner that is ubiquitous in Charleston and throughout the toy industry, assures that customers and fans are engaged constantly. No matter how small your retail company, you need to be engaging your customers through social media.

For any small business, competing with large competitors with vastly greater resources is always daunting. For specialty retail stores, the challenge is ten fold. To succeed, retail business owners need to work hard. plain and simple. Wonder Works' Christine Osborne is one of the hardest working individuals in the toy industry, but if there is one thing you will learn from her and Wonder Works it never seems like work!

Do you have a success story about a small retail business that is beating the odds and succeeding? Please share below!


How to Survive the Wine Retail Business - Recipes

A few months ago, I read a conversation on the discussion boards of The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). In the discussion, an owner of a small toy store was recollecting a conversation between two young shoppers she had overheard in her store. The couple, upon seeing a toy they really liked, scoffed at the price and mentioned that they had seen the same toy at a larger retailer for considerably less. The storeowner allowed the couple to leave without engaging or purchasing anything, and then took to the discussion boards to express her discontent with suppliers for bending to the whims of her big-box competitors and failing to "help" small specialty stores like hers.

As the co-founder of Wild Creations, a developer and supplier of toy products, I took issue with the discussion. We sell to both small and large retailers, and, sure, we give better pricing based on volume. It's Business 101. We are, however, a small company ourselves and deal with the same pricing pressures as the retail stores we supply. I would never expect our suppliers to treat us like a charity, so our strategy is to differentiate ourselves on something other than price.

I am shocked at how many small retailers fail to see this opportunity. Small retailers, quite simply, cannot compete with the likes of Walmart or Amazon on price and expect to survive, no matter how you slice it. Like Wild Creations, they need to compete on experience.

One of my favorite examples of how a specialty retail store competes on experience is Wonder Works of Charleston, South Carolina. A small chain of four toy stores, it is run by a vibrant and excitable entrepreneur, Christine Osborne. When I take my six-year old son for a visit, we don't expect to get deals from a clearance rack. We expect to have an experience.

Here are five things small retailers can learn from Wonder Works in order to compete on something other than price.

1. Provide Incentive

When you walk into a Wonder Works store, there is typically someone there with a bright smile to greet you and shove a toy in your hands. The stores are small, but there is always room to sample products and interact with others. It's a playground, and kids (and, admittedly, I) love it. As well, Wonder Works regularly holds events, such as outdoor festivals, sidewalk sales, and fundraisers to encourage people to visit.

2. Offer Value

Wonder Works doesn't hide the fact that prices are probably higher. Instead, they create value by providing an experience when you visit. As well, regular patrons are rewarded with frequent specials through e-newsletters and social media. Unlike most small retailers, they put experience ahead of keystone.

3. Differentiate Products

Because large retailers rarely take chances on new products or new developers, specialty stores have the first opportunity to offer exclusive new items. Wonder Works was one of the first stores to offer our Wild Creations' EcoAquarium, and it continues to be one of their best selling products. Now, they are one of the first stores we engage to test new products and ideas.

4. Get Online

Although Wonder Works is still small by comparison, they offer a fantastic toy catalogue and website to support the in-store experience. It should be no secret that online shopping will continue to become a preferred method of shopping, so offering your clients this convenience will be a key to success.

5. Go Social

Wonder Works excels at attracting and, more important, retaining fans, especially on a local level. A playful newsletter, constant updates to their website, and social media channels, and an owner that is ubiquitous in Charleston and throughout the toy industry, assures that customers and fans are engaged constantly. No matter how small your retail company, you need to be engaging your customers through social media.

For any small business, competing with large competitors with vastly greater resources is always daunting. For specialty retail stores, the challenge is ten fold. To succeed, retail business owners need to work hard. plain and simple. Wonder Works' Christine Osborne is one of the hardest working individuals in the toy industry, but if there is one thing you will learn from her and Wonder Works it never seems like work!

Do you have a success story about a small retail business that is beating the odds and succeeding? Please share below!


How to Survive the Wine Retail Business - Recipes

A few months ago, I read a conversation on the discussion boards of The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). In the discussion, an owner of a small toy store was recollecting a conversation between two young shoppers she had overheard in her store. The couple, upon seeing a toy they really liked, scoffed at the price and mentioned that they had seen the same toy at a larger retailer for considerably less. The storeowner allowed the couple to leave without engaging or purchasing anything, and then took to the discussion boards to express her discontent with suppliers for bending to the whims of her big-box competitors and failing to "help" small specialty stores like hers.

As the co-founder of Wild Creations, a developer and supplier of toy products, I took issue with the discussion. We sell to both small and large retailers, and, sure, we give better pricing based on volume. It's Business 101. We are, however, a small company ourselves and deal with the same pricing pressures as the retail stores we supply. I would never expect our suppliers to treat us like a charity, so our strategy is to differentiate ourselves on something other than price.

I am shocked at how many small retailers fail to see this opportunity. Small retailers, quite simply, cannot compete with the likes of Walmart or Amazon on price and expect to survive, no matter how you slice it. Like Wild Creations, they need to compete on experience.

One of my favorite examples of how a specialty retail store competes on experience is Wonder Works of Charleston, South Carolina. A small chain of four toy stores, it is run by a vibrant and excitable entrepreneur, Christine Osborne. When I take my six-year old son for a visit, we don't expect to get deals from a clearance rack. We expect to have an experience.

Here are five things small retailers can learn from Wonder Works in order to compete on something other than price.

1. Provide Incentive

When you walk into a Wonder Works store, there is typically someone there with a bright smile to greet you and shove a toy in your hands. The stores are small, but there is always room to sample products and interact with others. It's a playground, and kids (and, admittedly, I) love it. As well, Wonder Works regularly holds events, such as outdoor festivals, sidewalk sales, and fundraisers to encourage people to visit.

2. Offer Value

Wonder Works doesn't hide the fact that prices are probably higher. Instead, they create value by providing an experience when you visit. As well, regular patrons are rewarded with frequent specials through e-newsletters and social media. Unlike most small retailers, they put experience ahead of keystone.

3. Differentiate Products

Because large retailers rarely take chances on new products or new developers, specialty stores have the first opportunity to offer exclusive new items. Wonder Works was one of the first stores to offer our Wild Creations' EcoAquarium, and it continues to be one of their best selling products. Now, they are one of the first stores we engage to test new products and ideas.

4. Get Online

Although Wonder Works is still small by comparison, they offer a fantastic toy catalogue and website to support the in-store experience. It should be no secret that online shopping will continue to become a preferred method of shopping, so offering your clients this convenience will be a key to success.

5. Go Social

Wonder Works excels at attracting and, more important, retaining fans, especially on a local level. A playful newsletter, constant updates to their website, and social media channels, and an owner that is ubiquitous in Charleston and throughout the toy industry, assures that customers and fans are engaged constantly. No matter how small your retail company, you need to be engaging your customers through social media.

For any small business, competing with large competitors with vastly greater resources is always daunting. For specialty retail stores, the challenge is ten fold. To succeed, retail business owners need to work hard. plain and simple. Wonder Works' Christine Osborne is one of the hardest working individuals in the toy industry, but if there is one thing you will learn from her and Wonder Works it never seems like work!

Do you have a success story about a small retail business that is beating the odds and succeeding? Please share below!


How to Survive the Wine Retail Business - Recipes

A few months ago, I read a conversation on the discussion boards of The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). In the discussion, an owner of a small toy store was recollecting a conversation between two young shoppers she had overheard in her store. The couple, upon seeing a toy they really liked, scoffed at the price and mentioned that they had seen the same toy at a larger retailer for considerably less. The storeowner allowed the couple to leave without engaging or purchasing anything, and then took to the discussion boards to express her discontent with suppliers for bending to the whims of her big-box competitors and failing to "help" small specialty stores like hers.

As the co-founder of Wild Creations, a developer and supplier of toy products, I took issue with the discussion. We sell to both small and large retailers, and, sure, we give better pricing based on volume. It's Business 101. We are, however, a small company ourselves and deal with the same pricing pressures as the retail stores we supply. I would never expect our suppliers to treat us like a charity, so our strategy is to differentiate ourselves on something other than price.

I am shocked at how many small retailers fail to see this opportunity. Small retailers, quite simply, cannot compete with the likes of Walmart or Amazon on price and expect to survive, no matter how you slice it. Like Wild Creations, they need to compete on experience.

One of my favorite examples of how a specialty retail store competes on experience is Wonder Works of Charleston, South Carolina. A small chain of four toy stores, it is run by a vibrant and excitable entrepreneur, Christine Osborne. When I take my six-year old son for a visit, we don't expect to get deals from a clearance rack. We expect to have an experience.

Here are five things small retailers can learn from Wonder Works in order to compete on something other than price.

1. Provide Incentive

When you walk into a Wonder Works store, there is typically someone there with a bright smile to greet you and shove a toy in your hands. The stores are small, but there is always room to sample products and interact with others. It's a playground, and kids (and, admittedly, I) love it. As well, Wonder Works regularly holds events, such as outdoor festivals, sidewalk sales, and fundraisers to encourage people to visit.

2. Offer Value

Wonder Works doesn't hide the fact that prices are probably higher. Instead, they create value by providing an experience when you visit. As well, regular patrons are rewarded with frequent specials through e-newsletters and social media. Unlike most small retailers, they put experience ahead of keystone.

3. Differentiate Products

Because large retailers rarely take chances on new products or new developers, specialty stores have the first opportunity to offer exclusive new items. Wonder Works was one of the first stores to offer our Wild Creations' EcoAquarium, and it continues to be one of their best selling products. Now, they are one of the first stores we engage to test new products and ideas.

4. Get Online

Although Wonder Works is still small by comparison, they offer a fantastic toy catalogue and website to support the in-store experience. It should be no secret that online shopping will continue to become a preferred method of shopping, so offering your clients this convenience will be a key to success.

5. Go Social

Wonder Works excels at attracting and, more important, retaining fans, especially on a local level. A playful newsletter, constant updates to their website, and social media channels, and an owner that is ubiquitous in Charleston and throughout the toy industry, assures that customers and fans are engaged constantly. No matter how small your retail company, you need to be engaging your customers through social media.

For any small business, competing with large competitors with vastly greater resources is always daunting. For specialty retail stores, the challenge is ten fold. To succeed, retail business owners need to work hard. plain and simple. Wonder Works' Christine Osborne is one of the hardest working individuals in the toy industry, but if there is one thing you will learn from her and Wonder Works it never seems like work!

Do you have a success story about a small retail business that is beating the odds and succeeding? Please share below!


How to Survive the Wine Retail Business - Recipes

A few months ago, I read a conversation on the discussion boards of The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). In the discussion, an owner of a small toy store was recollecting a conversation between two young shoppers she had overheard in her store. The couple, upon seeing a toy they really liked, scoffed at the price and mentioned that they had seen the same toy at a larger retailer for considerably less. The storeowner allowed the couple to leave without engaging or purchasing anything, and then took to the discussion boards to express her discontent with suppliers for bending to the whims of her big-box competitors and failing to "help" small specialty stores like hers.

As the co-founder of Wild Creations, a developer and supplier of toy products, I took issue with the discussion. We sell to both small and large retailers, and, sure, we give better pricing based on volume. It's Business 101. We are, however, a small company ourselves and deal with the same pricing pressures as the retail stores we supply. I would never expect our suppliers to treat us like a charity, so our strategy is to differentiate ourselves on something other than price.

I am shocked at how many small retailers fail to see this opportunity. Small retailers, quite simply, cannot compete with the likes of Walmart or Amazon on price and expect to survive, no matter how you slice it. Like Wild Creations, they need to compete on experience.

One of my favorite examples of how a specialty retail store competes on experience is Wonder Works of Charleston, South Carolina. A small chain of four toy stores, it is run by a vibrant and excitable entrepreneur, Christine Osborne. When I take my six-year old son for a visit, we don't expect to get deals from a clearance rack. We expect to have an experience.

Here are five things small retailers can learn from Wonder Works in order to compete on something other than price.

1. Provide Incentive

When you walk into a Wonder Works store, there is typically someone there with a bright smile to greet you and shove a toy in your hands. The stores are small, but there is always room to sample products and interact with others. It's a playground, and kids (and, admittedly, I) love it. As well, Wonder Works regularly holds events, such as outdoor festivals, sidewalk sales, and fundraisers to encourage people to visit.

2. Offer Value

Wonder Works doesn't hide the fact that prices are probably higher. Instead, they create value by providing an experience when you visit. As well, regular patrons are rewarded with frequent specials through e-newsletters and social media. Unlike most small retailers, they put experience ahead of keystone.

3. Differentiate Products

Because large retailers rarely take chances on new products or new developers, specialty stores have the first opportunity to offer exclusive new items. Wonder Works was one of the first stores to offer our Wild Creations' EcoAquarium, and it continues to be one of their best selling products. Now, they are one of the first stores we engage to test new products and ideas.

4. Get Online

Although Wonder Works is still small by comparison, they offer a fantastic toy catalogue and website to support the in-store experience. It should be no secret that online shopping will continue to become a preferred method of shopping, so offering your clients this convenience will be a key to success.

5. Go Social

Wonder Works excels at attracting and, more important, retaining fans, especially on a local level. A playful newsletter, constant updates to their website, and social media channels, and an owner that is ubiquitous in Charleston and throughout the toy industry, assures that customers and fans are engaged constantly. No matter how small your retail company, you need to be engaging your customers through social media.

For any small business, competing with large competitors with vastly greater resources is always daunting. For specialty retail stores, the challenge is ten fold. To succeed, retail business owners need to work hard. plain and simple. Wonder Works' Christine Osborne is one of the hardest working individuals in the toy industry, but if there is one thing you will learn from her and Wonder Works it never seems like work!

Do you have a success story about a small retail business that is beating the odds and succeeding? Please share below!


How to Survive the Wine Retail Business - Recipes

A few months ago, I read a conversation on the discussion boards of The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). In the discussion, an owner of a small toy store was recollecting a conversation between two young shoppers she had overheard in her store. The couple, upon seeing a toy they really liked, scoffed at the price and mentioned that they had seen the same toy at a larger retailer for considerably less. The storeowner allowed the couple to leave without engaging or purchasing anything, and then took to the discussion boards to express her discontent with suppliers for bending to the whims of her big-box competitors and failing to "help" small specialty stores like hers.

As the co-founder of Wild Creations, a developer and supplier of toy products, I took issue with the discussion. We sell to both small and large retailers, and, sure, we give better pricing based on volume. It's Business 101. We are, however, a small company ourselves and deal with the same pricing pressures as the retail stores we supply. I would never expect our suppliers to treat us like a charity, so our strategy is to differentiate ourselves on something other than price.

I am shocked at how many small retailers fail to see this opportunity. Small retailers, quite simply, cannot compete with the likes of Walmart or Amazon on price and expect to survive, no matter how you slice it. Like Wild Creations, they need to compete on experience.

One of my favorite examples of how a specialty retail store competes on experience is Wonder Works of Charleston, South Carolina. A small chain of four toy stores, it is run by a vibrant and excitable entrepreneur, Christine Osborne. When I take my six-year old son for a visit, we don't expect to get deals from a clearance rack. We expect to have an experience.

Here are five things small retailers can learn from Wonder Works in order to compete on something other than price.

1. Provide Incentive

When you walk into a Wonder Works store, there is typically someone there with a bright smile to greet you and shove a toy in your hands. The stores are small, but there is always room to sample products and interact with others. It's a playground, and kids (and, admittedly, I) love it. As well, Wonder Works regularly holds events, such as outdoor festivals, sidewalk sales, and fundraisers to encourage people to visit.

2. Offer Value

Wonder Works doesn't hide the fact that prices are probably higher. Instead, they create value by providing an experience when you visit. As well, regular patrons are rewarded with frequent specials through e-newsletters and social media. Unlike most small retailers, they put experience ahead of keystone.

3. Differentiate Products

Because large retailers rarely take chances on new products or new developers, specialty stores have the first opportunity to offer exclusive new items. Wonder Works was one of the first stores to offer our Wild Creations' EcoAquarium, and it continues to be one of their best selling products. Now, they are one of the first stores we engage to test new products and ideas.

4. Get Online

Although Wonder Works is still small by comparison, they offer a fantastic toy catalogue and website to support the in-store experience. It should be no secret that online shopping will continue to become a preferred method of shopping, so offering your clients this convenience will be a key to success.

5. Go Social

Wonder Works excels at attracting and, more important, retaining fans, especially on a local level. A playful newsletter, constant updates to their website, and social media channels, and an owner that is ubiquitous in Charleston and throughout the toy industry, assures that customers and fans are engaged constantly. No matter how small your retail company, you need to be engaging your customers through social media.

For any small business, competing with large competitors with vastly greater resources is always daunting. For specialty retail stores, the challenge is ten fold. To succeed, retail business owners need to work hard. plain and simple. Wonder Works' Christine Osborne is one of the hardest working individuals in the toy industry, but if there is one thing you will learn from her and Wonder Works it never seems like work!

Do you have a success story about a small retail business that is beating the odds and succeeding? Please share below!


How to Survive the Wine Retail Business - Recipes

A few months ago, I read a conversation on the discussion boards of The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). In the discussion, an owner of a small toy store was recollecting a conversation between two young shoppers she had overheard in her store. The couple, upon seeing a toy they really liked, scoffed at the price and mentioned that they had seen the same toy at a larger retailer for considerably less. The storeowner allowed the couple to leave without engaging or purchasing anything, and then took to the discussion boards to express her discontent with suppliers for bending to the whims of her big-box competitors and failing to "help" small specialty stores like hers.

As the co-founder of Wild Creations, a developer and supplier of toy products, I took issue with the discussion. We sell to both small and large retailers, and, sure, we give better pricing based on volume. It's Business 101. We are, however, a small company ourselves and deal with the same pricing pressures as the retail stores we supply. I would never expect our suppliers to treat us like a charity, so our strategy is to differentiate ourselves on something other than price.

I am shocked at how many small retailers fail to see this opportunity. Small retailers, quite simply, cannot compete with the likes of Walmart or Amazon on price and expect to survive, no matter how you slice it. Like Wild Creations, they need to compete on experience.

One of my favorite examples of how a specialty retail store competes on experience is Wonder Works of Charleston, South Carolina. A small chain of four toy stores, it is run by a vibrant and excitable entrepreneur, Christine Osborne. When I take my six-year old son for a visit, we don't expect to get deals from a clearance rack. We expect to have an experience.

Here are five things small retailers can learn from Wonder Works in order to compete on something other than price.

1. Provide Incentive

When you walk into a Wonder Works store, there is typically someone there with a bright smile to greet you and shove a toy in your hands. The stores are small, but there is always room to sample products and interact with others. It's a playground, and kids (and, admittedly, I) love it. As well, Wonder Works regularly holds events, such as outdoor festivals, sidewalk sales, and fundraisers to encourage people to visit.

2. Offer Value

Wonder Works doesn't hide the fact that prices are probably higher. Instead, they create value by providing an experience when you visit. As well, regular patrons are rewarded with frequent specials through e-newsletters and social media. Unlike most small retailers, they put experience ahead of keystone.

3. Differentiate Products

Because large retailers rarely take chances on new products or new developers, specialty stores have the first opportunity to offer exclusive new items. Wonder Works was one of the first stores to offer our Wild Creations' EcoAquarium, and it continues to be one of their best selling products. Now, they are one of the first stores we engage to test new products and ideas.

4. Get Online

Although Wonder Works is still small by comparison, they offer a fantastic toy catalogue and website to support the in-store experience. It should be no secret that online shopping will continue to become a preferred method of shopping, so offering your clients this convenience will be a key to success.

5. Go Social

Wonder Works excels at attracting and, more important, retaining fans, especially on a local level. A playful newsletter, constant updates to their website, and social media channels, and an owner that is ubiquitous in Charleston and throughout the toy industry, assures that customers and fans are engaged constantly. No matter how small your retail company, you need to be engaging your customers through social media.

For any small business, competing with large competitors with vastly greater resources is always daunting. For specialty retail stores, the challenge is ten fold. To succeed, retail business owners need to work hard. plain and simple. Wonder Works' Christine Osborne is one of the hardest working individuals in the toy industry, but if there is one thing you will learn from her and Wonder Works it never seems like work!

Do you have a success story about a small retail business that is beating the odds and succeeding? Please share below!


How to Survive the Wine Retail Business - Recipes

A few months ago, I read a conversation on the discussion boards of The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). In the discussion, an owner of a small toy store was recollecting a conversation between two young shoppers she had overheard in her store. The couple, upon seeing a toy they really liked, scoffed at the price and mentioned that they had seen the same toy at a larger retailer for considerably less. The storeowner allowed the couple to leave without engaging or purchasing anything, and then took to the discussion boards to express her discontent with suppliers for bending to the whims of her big-box competitors and failing to "help" small specialty stores like hers.

As the co-founder of Wild Creations, a developer and supplier of toy products, I took issue with the discussion. We sell to both small and large retailers, and, sure, we give better pricing based on volume. It's Business 101. We are, however, a small company ourselves and deal with the same pricing pressures as the retail stores we supply. I would never expect our suppliers to treat us like a charity, so our strategy is to differentiate ourselves on something other than price.

I am shocked at how many small retailers fail to see this opportunity. Small retailers, quite simply, cannot compete with the likes of Walmart or Amazon on price and expect to survive, no matter how you slice it. Like Wild Creations, they need to compete on experience.

One of my favorite examples of how a specialty retail store competes on experience is Wonder Works of Charleston, South Carolina. A small chain of four toy stores, it is run by a vibrant and excitable entrepreneur, Christine Osborne. When I take my six-year old son for a visit, we don't expect to get deals from a clearance rack. We expect to have an experience.

Here are five things small retailers can learn from Wonder Works in order to compete on something other than price.

1. Provide Incentive

When you walk into a Wonder Works store, there is typically someone there with a bright smile to greet you and shove a toy in your hands. The stores are small, but there is always room to sample products and interact with others. It's a playground, and kids (and, admittedly, I) love it. As well, Wonder Works regularly holds events, such as outdoor festivals, sidewalk sales, and fundraisers to encourage people to visit.

2. Offer Value

Wonder Works doesn't hide the fact that prices are probably higher. Instead, they create value by providing an experience when you visit. As well, regular patrons are rewarded with frequent specials through e-newsletters and social media. Unlike most small retailers, they put experience ahead of keystone.

3. Differentiate Products

Because large retailers rarely take chances on new products or new developers, specialty stores have the first opportunity to offer exclusive new items. Wonder Works was one of the first stores to offer our Wild Creations' EcoAquarium, and it continues to be one of their best selling products. Now, they are one of the first stores we engage to test new products and ideas.

4. Get Online

Although Wonder Works is still small by comparison, they offer a fantastic toy catalogue and website to support the in-store experience. It should be no secret that online shopping will continue to become a preferred method of shopping, so offering your clients this convenience will be a key to success.

5. Go Social

Wonder Works excels at attracting and, more important, retaining fans, especially on a local level. A playful newsletter, constant updates to their website, and social media channels, and an owner that is ubiquitous in Charleston and throughout the toy industry, assures that customers and fans are engaged constantly. No matter how small your retail company, you need to be engaging your customers through social media.

For any small business, competing with large competitors with vastly greater resources is always daunting. For specialty retail stores, the challenge is ten fold. To succeed, retail business owners need to work hard. plain and simple. Wonder Works' Christine Osborne is one of the hardest working individuals in the toy industry, but if there is one thing you will learn from her and Wonder Works it never seems like work!

Do you have a success story about a small retail business that is beating the odds and succeeding? Please share below!


Watch the video: Πως Σκέφτηκα τις Ιδέες για τις Δικές μου Επιχειρήσεις u0026 Γιατί η μία Απέτυχε. Stefi Vasilopoulou (May 2022).