You have to change – stand out, re-invent your store and embrace your own uniqueness – you can choose to survive doing business as usual or you can thrive.
If you just want to buy a book, go to a big box book store, but if you want to be immersed in a literary experience go to Town House Books & Café in St. Charles, Illinois. There’s nothing basic or business as usual about this book store. The fact that it’s housed in an historic 1853 home is one of the reasons customers flock to Town House Books; owner David Hunt is another. Walk in the door and David will greet you like an old friend. Town House is so cozy, you’ll want to buy a book and spend the afternoon. They’ll even feed you: the Café serves up soups, desserts and more made from scratch each day. And Town House Books is big on events, so you’re just as likely to meet an author at a book signing, encounter a book club, or enjoy live music in the Café. Visit Town House online at http://www.townhousebooks.com
When you need to add to your growing collection of 400 shoes, check out Sensual Steps Shoe Salon in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. Owner Nicole Jones has created one impressive store, but she didn’t stop there. You like the store? Great! Hold your next party at Sensual Shoes and your guests can shop while being pampered with manicures, pedicures and other special services. We love Nicole’s “Heels on Wheels” shoe-shopping party on wheels. Imagine how fun it would be to have a bright pink Hummer pull up in front of your house, ready to thrill you and your friends with “drinks, desserts, handbags and shoes galore, ready to serve and pamper you like you've never been served and pampered before.”? Check out Sensual Steps Shoe Salon at http://www.sensualstepsinc.com/ and while you’re there sign-up to receive the shop’s e-mail blasts.
So what’s the difference between these retailers and their competition? Easy. We’ve decided there are two kinds of retailers today: Commodity Retailers who make no effort to do much more than they are supposed to do. Commodity retail employees are there just to collect a paycheck, there’s no customer buzz about town and no fizz on the sales floor, merely shelves full of stuff.
And then there are Charisma Retailers™ who thrive on creating an experience that surrounds customers with a feeling they can’t get anywhere else. Charisma retail associates share the same values as the store’s owner or manager: they are there to serve and delight customers.
Any retailer, regardless of what they sell, can be a Commodity Retailer or a Charisma Retailer™. It’s a choice that’s yours to make. Charisma Retailers™ instinctively know they must live in the present while keeping one eye on the future. They read the signs and heed the warnings. They know that the special things they do for customers today, will be the expected things of tomorrow. And they know that competition won’t ease up, so they need to rise above it.
While the concept of the Charisma Retailer™ is still fresh in your mind, sit down in a quiet room with a notebook and pencil. Let your mind wander, imagining what your store will be like a year from now. Who will be your customers and what will they demand of you? What aren’t you doing today that you need to do in order to meet future challenges? Keep this notebook handy and do this exercise for fifteen minutes each week before you go to bed.
In time, you’ll be amazed at how quickly the ideas begin to flow, multiply and become reality. Before long the retail status quo won’t be good enough for you – you’ll have crossed over from Commodity retailing into the rare air Charisma Retailers™ breathe every single day.
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