Retail Briefs


Tapping into Women’s Feelings Can Increase Sales

March 1, 2015



Just before my trip to New York for Curvexpo, I ran to a nearby mall to grab some things for the trip. Specifically, I needed a fresh-looking black shirt.

As I looked around the clothing department of one store, I was approached by a salesperson who asked if she could put some items in a dressing room for me – which she did. I tried on the two black shirts I had found, but wasn’t feeling excited about either of them, so I left. On the way out, I received a quick, friendly farewell from the saleswoman.

At the next store, I went into the equivalent department and was, again, approached by a salesperson. This time, she asked me some questions about what I needed, and why. I told her about my trip as we poked through the racks, looking at black shirts. We pulled a few things and she showed me into a dressing room. As I tried on the shirts, she came back to check on me. She had pulled a few more items – some more black shirts, a vest and a tissue-thin sweater. Both the vest and the sweater were on sale, and she thought I might like having them for layering in the New York cold.

I left the store with a black shirt and the sweater. She more than doubled my sale by being thoughtful about my particular situation, and I genuinely appreciated it. And the sweater – it was seriously cold in New York this year!!

That saleswoman embodied the essence of up-selling.

She successfully encouraged me to increase the overall dollars spent, and did it without acting pushy. In fact, the opposite – I walked away from the store grateful for her help and thrilled with my purchases. I felt like I had received personalized, thoughtful service, and I spent more as a result.

That store didn’t have to do anything to get my extra business. I was already there. All the advertising, SEO and publicity work had already paid off when I crossed the store’s threshold – what differentiated my experience in store #1 and store #2 all came down to the feeling I had working with the salespeople.

In fact, according to a study by McKinsey & Co, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Tapping into customers’ feelings is the key to winning the hearts, minds and (ultimately) the spending of the women you serve.

To get more information on specific tools to employ in an up-selling program, you can download the free eBook, The Art of the Upsell.

The next time I go shopping, I’ll bypass the first store and start at store #2. If that particular saleswoman is working, I’ll look for her – all because of how I felt in my interaction. That saleswoman converted me a more loyal customer, and the store will get more of my dollars as a result.

acSpecialty lingerie boutiques are ideally poised to engage customers on a similar level – or better. In this day of impersonal service and disconnection, independent retail stores are in the best position to grow and thrive by putting the art of upselling into place.

Learn more by downloading your copy of The Art of the Upsell now.




5 Ways to Fail at Curvexpo

February 15, 2015



With the trade shows coming up, you get to choose how you want to approach them. Many will discover new ways to grow and thrive. Some will not.

Here are 5 things you can do to fail at your Curvexpo experience:

1) Don’t Have a Plan

Arriving at a trade show without doing any prep work for your meetings with vendors is like the nightmare of showing up naked and unprepared for your college finals. Buying goes far beyond your opinion of what’s pretty. It’s strategic and data-driven. Doing some analysis of your numbers will make your buying easier and much more profitable.

2) Don’t Network

Most specialty retailers work long hours and have limited time to compare notes with other lingerie business owners. Being at Curvexpo should be a kid-in-a-candy-shop experience. You’re surrounded by row after row of incredible lingerie and hundreds of other people who are equally engaged in the business of selling it. If you keep to yourself, only talking to your co-workers and generally not taking the opportunity to mingle and chat people up, you’re losing an opportunity to create relationships with people who speak the same language yet don’t compete with your business. So go ahead and start a conversation with a stranger – you never know what you’ll learn.

3) Do Stick To The Brands You Know

The show can be hectic and your time is short. That’s understandable, but keeping your head down and only considering the brands you already stock is limiting. You are the ambassador for your customers and oftentimes you’re the only business who can offer a boutique brand or even a particular category, like bra-sized swimwear. Keeping your eyes peeled for something new and special – and leaving some room in your open-to-buy to surprise and delight your customers – can make a tremendous difference between a business that’s adequate and one that’s excellent.

4) Do Only Focus On Buying

You’ve been in business a long time. You know how to fit, and have trained your staff. Gotcha. What else can you learn? This year there are seminars designed to boost the exact kind of business you run. Where else will you have a chance to learn something that’s so specifically tailored to you? Going in with an “I already know this” demeanor simply means that you’ve decided not to expand your universe at Curvexpo. It’s worth asking if that’s serving you in the long haul.

5) Do Think of Curvexpo As a Task

Curvexpo is work. You’ve taken time – and possibly traveled – to perform one of the most vital acts for your business. Buying. If you approach buying with an “all work and no play” mentality, you can lose a sense of fun that might have translated to your customers. The work of a specialty lingerie business is inherently emotional – we engage with women’s self-esteem, body image and confidence. If you’re all business in the task of buying, that energy can – and will – be translated into the act of selling.

Yes, being at Curvexpo is part of the job. Yes, analysis and strategy are beneficial. And at the end of the day, when your customers walk out of your store loving themselves just a little more than when they walked in, you boost the women you serve and your business. That means being aligned and engaged for your best possible buying experience.

Want to refine your inventory for even higher profits? You’re invited to apply for a free strategy session to discuss the precise strategy you need to grow.





Is your business EXCELLENT? Or merely ADEQUATE?

February 1, 2015



This question might keep you up at night. If it doesn’t I invite you to ask yourself why not. You spend a ton of time in your business. Maybe more time than you spend on anything else in your life.

Including time with your family.

Including sleep.

So ensuring your business is EXCELLENT in all things is incredibly important.

I see many businesses decide that ADEQUATE is good enough. If you’re one of those people, let me save you some time – there’s no need for you to read any further.

I was talking to a retailer recently, and she was complaining about her business. She was frustrated by her customers, her employees, and her vendors. She wanted to be more successful … Read more



A Preview Of Salon International De La Lingerie

January 5, 2015


There are many great reasons to visit the Paris Salon De La Lingerie. Of course, Paris is an inspiration in itself.

Whether the weather is blue skies, typical January gray, or the occasional – and unexpected – snow (I’m looking at YOU, 2013) the city’s romantic air always engages a lingerie-friendly mindset.


This year, thousands of buyers will descend on the Porte de Versailles (last year more than 16,000 of them) to see upwards of 400 exhibiting brands. These buyers and thousands of other visitors will explore the six distinct worlds of the show.

Many will focus on the DESIGNER LABELS, which showcase the luxury collections, and THE ESSENTIALS, which make up the market’s key lingerie and corsetry brands.… Read more



2014 Retail Briefs Year In Review

December 22, 2014



2014 is ending already? Wow – this year was a blur! Seems like summer was yesterday. Last winter’s endless snow and cold could have been the day before that. And yet…we’ve covered a lot of ground together in this Retail Briefs column.

Let’s take a quick look back at some of the highlights of our time together here.

We started the year by wrapping up our series on buying strategy, with a look at markdowns to SKU analysis. A solid buying strategy is the bedrock of any lingerie retail business. By taking the time to understand core customers and what they buy, a business can be extremely targeted in making inventory decisions. That means selling more at full price, jumping on … Read more



Success Is All In Your Mind

December 7, 2014



In my last column we talked about setting yourself up for success in 2015. Now that you’ve mapped out a rosy future, how can you set yourself up to make those goals a reality?

While there are a lot of business complexities that go into hitting your targets, it’s always easier to blame external factors for business challenges. Here are some I hear on a regular basis:

  • “The economy is terrible and my customers are just not spending on lingerie.”
  • “I can’t find good employees. They are…(fill in your problem here – lazy, inexperienced, disloyal).”
  • “My customers mostly want inexpensive beige T-shirt bras. They won’t spend more than $(fill in your perceived lower price point here).”
  • Or the close cousin, “My
Read more