There are so many challenges facing retailers today and we want to support you so you can not only navigate the new landscape, but also grow, be profitable and create the business you imagined when you first started. To help, Nancy Georges ‘the Retail Miss Fix-It’ will be answering your questions every fortnight.
Why did you become a consultant?
I started Paper Magnolia, a high-end stationery wholesale business, in 2004. A few years into it I realised that the wholesale model was no longer sustainable going forward, that technology had changed how producers and retailers access each other. I had to make a decision, I only had two options:
1 Be the brand builder and open stores and find other suitable retailers
2 Change occupations
I chose #2―I had started to use social media for Paper Magnolia and had retailers asking for help getting into social media, which invariably led to a business development meeting… And the rest as they say is history.
I get enormous satisfaction from working with businesses to provide insights into creating a business that is in line with the current marketplace and practices, to identify the areas they need to address to create a more profitable business and to provide support and education to make the changes happen.
What one mistake do you see retailers make frequently that they often aren’t aware of?
This is a hard one. I have to say there are two:
1 They have their blinkers on and are not up-to-date with what is happening outside their walls. If they are aware they are not sure how to make a change.
2 They don’t consider that as retailers, they are businesses as well. A retailer runs a business, not a hobby. Commercial considerations and expectations must be applied.
Can you explain why I need a retail strategy to grow my business?
A strategy gives the business direction and clarity. A lot of thought and processes are invested in creating and developing it―the ‘thinking’. Once created, then it ‘simply’ needs to be executed―the ‘doing’, assessing and measuring. The energy and resources should not be spent on thinking and doing at the same time.
The strategy provides the ‘blueprint’ and instruction for the direction of the next steps.
What advice can you provide to retailers who are finding it tough during this transition period?
Seek the information and those who can help you. You probably don’t know what you don’t know, so begin to learn with an open mind.
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Don’t take what you don’t know as personal criticism, the changes in the past few years were rapid and unprecedented.
Start by creating your strategy.
What information do retailers and wholesalers need?
1 Definitely insights and information on the industry they didn’t know
2 Case studies of great retail execution
3 Retail business discussions
4 Answers to their questions
5 Help to take the next steps