Does going green get a business out of the red and into the black? Will it bring you more shoppers? Clearly, it depends on the customer base, but more people are becoming conscious of the need to make better use of resources by conserving energy.
So what’s the best way for you as a retailer to go green and drive traffic to your store? Start by thinking in terms of words beginning with the letter R. Reduce, reuse, recycle, repair, and if you want to make sure to captivate customers, don’t forget reward (because I assure you, they won’t).
R Words Rock
Ours is a country where we need to reduce everything–from waste to waists. If you sell apparel, you can start a club where shoppers meet weekly to share diet tips. You can go green by serving greens.
The reward to you? Weekly trips to your store. The reward to customers? A discount of 5 percent when they lose 5 pounds, 10 percent when they lose 10 pounds, and so on. It’s definitely the season to do this, with summer fast approaching, and low prices on fruits and vegetables.
Own a restaurant, a gourmet retail shop, or do you sell meals from a food truck? Reduce waste by encouraging customers to reuse products like plastic spoons, forks, and glasses, as well as wooden chopsticks. The reward to you? A savings on the cost of doing business. The reward to customers? A coupon or discount on their next meal.
Are you an indie bookstore owner? Sponsor a Bring a Book, Take a Book evening, so that people can recycle their old books, giving away ones they’ve read and taking others that are new to them. Once they’re there, most people will browse and buy a book or books from you. That’s your reward. The reward to them is wine and cheese, or coffee and cookies, as well as a discount on any purchases.
Do you sell housewares or home goods? Reward customers who buy reusable linen dish towels or cloth napkins with a gift with purchase. How about napkin rings or a towel holder?
Host a Repair Fair
If you’re an independent hardware store owner, have a Repair Fair for broken items. From sunglasses that need an ever-so-tiny screw replaced, to rewiring lamps, changing plugs, or fixing zippers on suitcases, briefcases, and handbags, shoppers will seek out your services.
Charge a fee if they want to keep what they’ve brought in once it’s fixed, or give them a discount on a new purchase. In either case, donate the takings to a charity of your choice. You’ll increase the opportunity of getting coverage for your business in the media, and elevate your standing in the community.
Jewelers can restring inexpensive necklaces (or teach a class to show shoppers how to do so), replace clasps, and clean rings and things to update their look. Again, charge a fee to those who want to keep the items, and give a discount on new purchase to those who donate.
The reward to you is renewing contact with your customer base as well as bringing new customers into your store. And, once again there’s the possibility of publicity for your donation to a non-profit. The reward to customers is spring cleaning their jewelry boxes of old items, and replacing them with new ones at a good price.
Are you a wordsmith? If you own a writing service, jump on the reuse, recycle, repair bandwagon by offering a special price to rewrite or update resumes. With the economy doing better, more people are thinking about changing jobs. The reward to them is the potential of a better job. The reward to you is untapped business.
If you want more ideas about bringing in business, I can help. I’ve been a retail reporter at Women’s Wear Daily and Home Furnishings News, a columnist at the Miami Herald and a correspondent at People.
I’ve also handled the marketing and public relations at major corporations and small businesses. Need a speaker or a consultant? Get in touch at Ask Laurel (one word) at laureltielis.com or connect with me at LinkedIn.
For easy and effective ways to bring in more business, follow me on Twitter @laureltielis and read Ka-Ching! How to Ring Up More Sales.
Copyright © 2012 Laurel Tielis