It is Monday the new CEO has some announcements to make: from now on things will be changing. He used his first 30 days to analyze processes and decided to go back to the drawing table. Today he is presenting a fine tuned strategy aligned with the company’s core values. Your job to implement and pay it forward. You know it will impact headcount and some tough decisions have to be made. Frustrating… Yes, however this is the time to show your leadership skills. After a period of some resistance the effects are visible: profit growth. Continue reading Never settle: the added value
The end of 2016 is near, a few more weeks to go. How will this look like for you? Are you hitting budget this year? Sometimes it is good to be reminded of how to increase your spends! I have summarized 10 basic elements which will help you to increase spends in your shops.
- Upsell: Ask the question… every time, every transaction!
- Presentation: highlight those best sellers!
- People: training and focus but most of all: hire the right people
- Place: use your data to plan your store properly
- Price: value for money
- Promotions: you need promotions believe me, but don’t give away your products
- Products: matching the needs of your customers
- Theming: get the story right in your store and you will increase value for money
- Planning: forecast the needs and never run out of stock on your best sellers
- Service: happy people buy
Since the holiday season is about to start, the next post will focus on driving sales during the holidays!
Like in every business: Time and Money are key in Visual Merchandising. And these elements are rare especially Time in peak periods or staff budget in low season to actually improve your store standards. During low season you are often busy with calculations, staff or tasks which are not finished during the peak season. Or simply you now have the chance to use your overtime and take some days off. Below I will describe the major challenges (I faced at different job roles) in Visual Merchandising in a fast moving environment with tide budgets and where time plays a significant role. These are common situations and hopefully will help you think of the standards in your own commercial area. Continue reading Theme Park Retail: 14 Challenges in Visual Merchandising
Before reading this post, make sure you have read my post The Chinese tourist: a cultural difference. Over the last weeks I have visited tourist destinations in China were 20 million visitors annually is the norm. Just think about it: 20 million, that is the complete population of The Netherlands and even then you are 3 million short. In some parks it seemed we were the only foreigners which made us an additional attraction (read: photo set). But it also helped a lot observing behavior and the needs of the Chinese tourist. Making it slightly easier to understand the expectations of this interesting market group. In 2014 the number of Chinese visiting an overseas country increased with 19.49% over 2013. With the increasing salaries we can expect this trend to be continued. So be prepared! I have described the cultural difference between the West and China already which has a major impact on how you should target the Chinese tourist. In this post I will give you my personal view on how you should trigger the Chinese tourist when visiting your theme park or tourist attraction. READ MORE
One of the great benefits working for Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam were the free tickets to other attractions in The Netherlands. There is a special membership pass which allows employees from one attraction to visit the other attraction or theme park.
On a Saturday morning we decided to go to one of the most popular attraction near Amsterdam: De Keukenhof. A seasonal outdoor attraction with over 7 million flowers and bulbs. If you want you can spend the complete day walking around the tulip fields. De Keukenhof is extremely popular with tourists from Asia so expect dozens of touring cars filled with Asian tourist on a single day.
Anyway, after parking the car we headed to the main entrance. Usually with the membership pass you need to collect the tickets at the Guest Service desk before you can enter the attraction. I entered the Guest Service office and saw 2 employees talking to each other. I wanted to wait until they were finished but suddenly there was an ice cold silence. I looked up and saw 4 annoyed eyes staring at me with the look: “what are you doing here…? You are disturbing our conversation!” Without saying a word. I said Hello and asked where I could collect the tickets. The reaction did not surprised me. “You need to buy tickets at the entrance!” I mentioned the membership card and the response was far from friendly pointing to the entrance and telling me that I could walk through. Continue reading De Keukenhof: a colorful experience with a lot of potential!
It is 6 weeks already since I have left Amsterdam to explorer the Asian theme park and attraction market. And although I have visited a couple of theme parks over the last years in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Beijing (read the post about Happy Valley here), Asia keeps surprising me. Last year I did set the goal to relocate to Asia but did not want to settle in China (based on a 3 week holiday trip, which is obviously not really showing the real China). This time China really got me. Due travelling on a budget I pushed myself to blend more with local (tourists) and eat, sleep and travel like a local (as a matter of fact: I write this post during a 10 hour train ride on a standing ticket, yes standing means really standing or sit in the aisle if you beat the competition by running at the platform like I did). Must admit it is far from comfortable but this is China: be flexible and you will enjoy the country, people and all what is crossing your path. And maybe the most important reason for now: it gives you time to observe the behavior of people. Which you should know is totally different from the rest of Asia.
Culture, People and Behavior
The cultural difference between the East and the West is the most important element to keep in mind when driving business or setting up a tourist attraction in China. Although I don’t consider myself as a cultural guru and there are books describing the Chinese culture better than I do. When it comes down to driving spends in tourism destinations it is about understanding guest behavior. Culture affects behavior (or does behavior results to culture?) what will impact your strategy to attract visitors and make them spend within the attraction. READ MORE
The stock management cycle is a common used term during my training on Stock Management. I used this to explain the process of product development to show the importance of forecasting and communication with a buying department. Continue reading The stock management cycle
Like the bigger companies I have worked for: I use to say that staff is the most important capital of the business: they make it or break it. All companies I worked for had core values referring to you as a person and that we as managers take care of you and do not treat you as a number. However despite the fact that we have it written on paper, advertised on the intranet or communicating during the recruitment process there are times we easily forget the value of staff. Exactly these periods were we are losing the focus on our teams are the most important ones: peak season or key trade periods. Teams are at maximum size, operation is at full speed and now it is time to make the difference. During peak trading the pressure on all of us is the highest especially when you are part of a multinational. Continue reading Key elements in managing staff
Last week I had the chance to visit Beijings’ most popular theme park Happy Valley. The park opened in 2006 as the 2nd of the 6 Happy Valley parks in China operated by OCT. Happy Valley has its own metro station ‘Happy Valley Scenic Area’ which creates the opportunity to start the experience from here, like Disneyland Hong Kong and Paris do with special Mickey trains towards the park. However the station just looked like an ordinary metro station in Beijing. I have missed the clear routing within the station to the nearest exit to the park. The entrance does not matched the experience of the (Chinese) website however in front of the entrance there is a kind of a ‘monument’ which is colorful and includes the characters of the park (would be better to place something similar to this on top of the entrance). So the start was not really inspiring but I was curious to understand the commercial strategy of the park. Though the right experience will increase impulse purchases.
Retail in Happy Valley Beijing
The value of Visual Merchandising is impressive. Imagine it is 15 minutes prior closing time and you are standing in a store where there is no overview, no clear walkways and it is either dark or TL-lighting is in place. You came to the store to buy a teddy bear (the one displayed in the shop window) for your nephew but you are not able to find it next to the toys but behind some boxes in a dark corner next to the silverware. You look at the price tag and see that this plate (?) costs you €5,-, at least that’s what the label on the shelf says. (apparently someone did not replenished the store well) You are looking around to find a staff member to tell you the price but there is nobody around. At the till you see the price of €25. This is over your intended budget however you are buying this bear because there was no other option. Since all the stores are closed and you are the only one in this store left you needed to find this product. Now if you had more time… Did you consider going to this store in the first place? You were triggered by the bear in the window but standing in the opening of the store you could have made up your mind. With this experience you would not go back to this store as this will take too much time and probably frustration.
Does the example point out the value of Visual Merchandising? Yes, it does! Continue reading The value of Visual Merchandising (part one)