Seven Tips to Gain Business

Retailers who want to win sales in the wake of closing Family Christian Stores must act quickly to optimize their position.

When Borders closed because of management issues a few years ago, independent retailers picked up a sizable share of the former chain’s business. However, the indie retailers who captured business didn’t wait for customers to make up their minds on where to shop, they proactively sought the business.

Here are seven tips to prepare for a local Family Christian closure:

  1. Have a Plan: Put a merchandising and marketing strategy together now to fill a marketplace void. What attracted customers to the chain that you might offer or improve upon? What categories will be underserved without the big chain store? DVDs? Bible selection? One veteran industry salesperson said you only have one shot to capture prior customers once the closure occurs, so be ready.
  2. Reassess your store strategy: What will your store be in the new marketplace environment? How will you create a distinction that attracts customers? Does your store only serve Christians or do you have a ministry objective to reach non-Christians? What product or titles might appeal to professing or cultural Christians and attract them to your store? What can you do that Amazon and Walmart can’t?
  3. Connect with Family Christian Store Staff or Liquidators. Share your business cards, brochures, or bagstuffers to direct liquidation customers to your store for future buying. Highlight your specialties and what makes you unique.
  4. Check Competitive Inventory. Visit the local Family Christian store and see what it’s carrying that you don’t and plan your buying to fill the void. You might want to carry merchandise or titles you haven’t carried before, and this might be a good time to bring them in or at least test them.
  5. Clean out Your Inventory. Counter liquidation prices with your own slashed prices on old inventory that you’re not selling anyway. Use the cash to adjust your product selection for better inventory turns.
  6. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. Let your customers, local churches, and your community know you’re continuing to serve the faith community in your town. Use signage in stores for specials or services related to the chain’s closure. Ask your customers what they want you to put in the store. Promote your special order service with quick store or home delivery times. Use social media, email offers, publicity/press releases, and other media to make your store and ministry known.
  7. Be Active in Your Community. Meet people and network at local church, community, and business events. Support or volunteer at community events and host your own events to create fun and excitement in the store.

Read about Family Christian Closing All Stores.

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