Creating a unique offering is hard work, it means time spent tracking down product spotted while travelling or in media, and constantly questioning the selection. It also means making the effort to visit trade shows abroad or local fairs, in order to use a spread of suppliers.
Here are some further suggestions:
- Think about the visual impact, the mixture of colours and texture as well as height and groupings.
- It may help to create a mood-board in advance of each season to focus your buying and ensure that the team understands the vision.
- Review past seasons, this will ensure that you re-think the selection, keeping the impact fresh and interesting.
- Be ruthless – if it does not start selling, then clear it out.
- Listen to what the customer is asking for, and keep a book on the shop floor so you can see whether it is 2 customers or 20 customers.
- Even with the best product selection, a bad atmosphere or service experience is always recalled first.
- Spend time when you need to - I have found myself spending a disproportionate amount of time finding and negotiating with a new supplier for 3 skus, only because I knew that they would make the difference between interesting and amazing.
Never forget - the selection should never be purely a reflection the Buyers taste, but a recognition of who their customer is; their needs, and a few surprises. Every store needs a little fairy dust.
Angela Creasy worked within Retail extensively, latterly as Head of Home and Beauty in Liberty, and prior to that in Harrods, as Buyer for Cosmetics, Fragrance and Men’s Grooming. Angela is now an International Business Consultant to Retailers and Brand owners.