Retail revival

Written by Kim Shiffman

What are the hottest ways to grow retail revenue? PROFIT asked speakers appearing at the Passion for Retail conference in Vancouver on May 4.

Dai Manuel

Partner & COO, Fitness Town Inc.Surrey, B.C.

“I believe in social media. We have a blog, a Facebook group and we’re on Twitter. We can’t afford a national ad campaign; social media is inexpensive and has good ROI. Foot traffic and sales conversions have increased by 50% in the past two years since we started doing social-media marketing. The trick is not to use it to spam people. We don’t post anything that’s sales- or product-driven. We provide content that people find value in, so we’re nurturing the relationship.”

Tom James

Co-Founder, The Urban Tea Merchant, Vancouver

“There’s opportunity in really creating an experience for the customer. Experiential retailers don’t just sell products; they define a lifestyle€¹and people then identify with that lifestyle. There’s a stimulation of the senses that makes people feel the experience, and then it automatically attaches to your value system. The widget you came to buy is still important, but you’re also buying the brand and the lifestyle. Every retail concept has the opportunity to be somewhat experiential.”

Mark Startup

President & CEO, Shelfspace, Vancouver

“Twenty years ago, retailers had to invest up to $40,000 in automated point-of-sale systems; today, they are available for pennies a day. The use of these technologies is now widespread, and yet many retailers are still not using them to their fullest benefit. When you’re going to trade shows and making commitments to purchase goods, you ought to know which are your most profitable products. Retailers who ignore this information are missing a huge opportunity€¹and taking a big risk.”

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