Competing with the big box retailers can be a challenge for the independent photo retailer in today’s economy. Think outside the box! The best ways to increase sales and provide a better overall experience for your customers is to accessorize your big merchandise, educate your customer, maintain superior inventory management and carry the newest technology.
Accessorize Your Merchandise
Be creative with merchandising your products and maximize your sales with the addition of accessories. Especially in the photo industry, accessories are the perfect way to increase customer loyalty, enhance your customers’ shopping experience and, above all, maximize your profits. In order to maximize the additional profit to each sale, be sure to not only carry all the accessories for each camera, but also display these accessories next to each camera. By using this merchandising tactic, you are increasing the need to buy everything together. Explain the need for the accessories – a larger memory card, camera case and extra battery should be sold with the initial point-and-shoot camera purchase. Offer a bundling discount when you purchase the camera and accessories together. More customers will purchase everything at once when they feel they are getting a great deal. Digital imaging products and accessories are extremely hot during the fourth quarter season. This bundling incentive will become increasingly important for bringing in big profits during this holiday shopping season.
Education is the Key
Customers seek out the store with the most knowledge about the products they sell. They want to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each product and how that relates to their overall needs. Independent photo retailers continue to draw customers because of their increased product knowledge and expertise. Continue to gain insight on each item you sell and pass on that knowledge to every customer. Understand their requirements for a camera and match them appropriately with the product that best fits their needs. Furthermore, educate the customer on how to use the camera. Provide an educational session on the use of each setting, how to shoot a better photo and how to print each photo. Offer classes on how to use cameras. This class may be increasingly more important for first time users of digital SLR cameras. Customer education leads to customer loyalty. Furthermore, these seminars will produce additional sales when the need arises for additional lenses, tripods and external flashes. Enhancing the overall purchasing experience will continue to increase customer loyalty and purchase satisfaction.
Reduce Your Overhead
Managing the inventory strategically is another method of staying competitive in today’s industry. Having too much inventory on hand can become difficult to manage and very expensive. A distributor such as DBL Distributing is a necessary component to controlling overhead and making educated purchases. Utilize the logistical expertise of a distributor and purchase products as you need them. Superior inventory management is using a distributor as your personal warehouse. Waiting for product is not a disadvantage any longer with distributors owning distribution centers on the east and west coasts. Distributors can also guide you in purchasing the necessary products and accessories to fit the needs of your business. The distributor sales forces assist their customers with matching the appropriate accessories with each camera to ensure you purchase the right products to fit your customers’ needs and maximize your profits on each sale.
Innovation Always Sells
Innovation always sells. A photo retailer who carries the hottest products on the market will amaze their customers with all the newest technology. Since the photo industry is always developing products with the latest technology and picture quality, it is important to stay ahead of the competition and market these products to your customers. A photo retailer can rely on distributors for expert advice related to newest and most innovative products on the market. DBL and other distributors train its sales force to know the hottest products and accessories before anyone else. Gain insight from these industry experts to understand what to purchase next to stay ahead of the competition.
In today’s market, independent retailers can really thrive if they know what to buy, how to merchandise it, how to sell it and when to purchase more. A positive customer experience will go a long way! yy
Bruce Kuperman is Senior Vice President of Sales for DBL Distributing.