The final day started off with a bang in the Grand Ballroom at the CHA 2014 Paper Arts Show, with interested store owners gathered in a round table discussion with CHA Staff and key leaders in the industry. This was a time of sharing and information gathering to find effective ways to promote holiday sales and to discuss how to increase traffic to your store in new and interesting ways.
So what do you need to do? How do you increase sales and keep people coming back to your store? How do you grow your following and engage the community? Let me share some of the hot conversations that took place.
First, find out what products your customers are using and show them the must have accessories that they need to have to go with the items. Do your research and find out “What’s Hot” as opposed to “What’s New”. What’s “hot” are the items that are flying off shelves, the hard to stock items; the products that are top best sellers. What’s “new” may be new items in the market but not necessarily what people are flocking to buy or what’s currently selling. So there’s the difference. Ask the right questions! And while you’re at it, keep PDF printouts to give your customers. This has come up over and over at the Show this week. Customers like having tutorials in their hands. Take a look at the link below to see all of the handouts, graphics and more that CHA is providing here at Paper Arts 2014 to assist you in strategizing your marketing plan.
There’s some great handouts here, graphics and more right at your fingertips! Go online to www.craftandhobby.org and click on Communities/Sections/PaperArts/downloads/ then, click on Atlanta Handouts. Or, click HERE.
Another topic of conversation at the Jumpstart Session: Do you exhibit at consumer shows? Consumer shows are another way to promote your store. Key things you should know for exhibiting are:
- Find out who else will be there. Know what they’re selling.
- Know the price range. Concentrate on thematic items depending on the focus of the show. Is it a holiday show? Bring holiday items. Is it a summer show? Baby or kid focused? Bring products according to the theme.
- Give great discounts on older products and have discount coupons for your store available. Is another store selling the same product? Mark your items accordingly to compete.
- Let’s face it. Theft can be a problem. Keep your big ticket items within view.
- Have a mock up plan of your booth setup in advance as it can take a long time for setup. Maximize your space and make sure your booth has a flow.
- Be prepared to make additional markdowns on items as the day progresses, if sales are slow.
Here’s a few more words of advice from key leaders present today. Courtney from Creativebug says, find out what’s trending and look for new ways to highlight products in your store. DIY is very popular right now. Stamping Fabric? Show displays of whatever is trending.
Several participants shared their participation with CRE8TIME and companies like Meet up, where you can pay a small fee to set up a “group” and link up to other groups in your region. The premise is to create a social media group so local crafters, and crafters from afar, can join your group. Have meetings in your store for free, even thematic events, (knitters, scrappers, metal works, art, etc) and build a following in your area.
After the Seminar was over, attendees continued to hang around and share ideas and thoughts with one another. I spoke with Tonya Minth from The Glitterie in Beechgrove, IN. She’s using Meet up and her group has quickly grown to 300. She’s even utilizing a local artist for wine/craft events. Use someone locally with skills to come in and teach at your meetings. It’s a great way to grow and keep your following.
So much valuable information sharing today. If you missed it, make it a point to be at one of these round tables the next time you attend a CHA Show.
Thanks again to the wonderful folks at CHA for allowing me this opportunity to sneak a peek at the inner workings of the crafting industry. I can’t tell you enough what a wonderful time I’ve had getting to know everyone, meeting so many knowledgeable people, and the great new techniques I’ve learned……THANK YOU!
– Terri Burson