Retailer to Retailer: Maintaining sane in an insane market

Retailer to Retailer: Maintaining sane in an insane market

Cheryl Kees Clendenon, proprietor of In Element Interiors

By Cheryl Kees Clendenon

The top of the world isn’t coming. I stated it. I imply it. Can all of us simply cease for a second in our hectic day and acknowledge this truth?

Whether or not you run a design agency, a big retail retailer or a small dwelling accents boutique, we’re all conscious of the challenges going through our busy trade. It’s talked about advert nauseam in Fb teams, on frantic texts amongst enterprise proprietor associates, within the halls of bigger firms and within the avalanche of emails from distributors that start with, “On this unprecedented yr…”.

Provide and demand is hitting us laborious. Distributors and reps are juggling the identical points however we’re their shoppers and clients. Blaming them and subjecting customer support folks to a scene from Psycho is a little bit of irony once we are fuming about our personal shoppers and clients not “understanding” the scenario.

Now, how you can proceed with out shedding our thoughts, our sanity or our lunch the following time “the” letter arrives or a consumer tosses a tantrum worthy of an Oscar? (For those who have been me you would possibly purchase a number of of those statuettes and provides them out with a bottle of wine — however that’s my humorousness.)

Put together your group for what lies forward. I worry it will worsen earlier than it will get higher. They will help you put together your shoppers and clients. Arrange coaching to deal with the present lead instances and the stress of a consumer or buyer being upset. Communication is essential. Nobody desires to be misled.

Cease apologizing to your clients or shoppers. They get one apology and that’s sufficient. As an alternative, supply a concise clarification as to what the availability chain catastrophe appears like and the information you’re on their group and are doing all of your best to reduce the inconvenience.

Distract shoppers and clients with one other focus. Now we have opened up a Candle Studio and have plans to have occasions revolving round this in a small occasion area on our property. It’s an amazing event-based revenue middle with low entry prices, and it may expose folks to your store or studio.

There’s no time like the current to hone in on robust relationships with clients and distributors alike. Strong relationships require glorious communication, which may clean wrinkles. Discuss to your reps. Have them are available for lunch-and-learns. Understand they and customer support are in the identical boat all of us are.

Plan for ground stock buying like by no means earlier than. This forces even the smaller boutiques to be ahead fascinated by budgets and gross sales figures and projections into fourth quarter and Q1 of 2022. Make your lists for market in June and discover a small warehouse you possibly can lease for those who do not need one.

If you’re a small retailer or designer, it’s extremely possible a few of your accounts may very well be in jeopardy. When provide is low and demand excessive, the low hanging fruit shall be reduce first as a result of it’s a vendor’s market. If it catches you unaware, the fallout will be large.

Give attention to the way you ship your consumer expertise. We begin the connection off with a win once we ship a small present card to Starbucks or a desert store with a hand-written observe in our branded observe playing cards to all new consultations. We at the moment are making an attempt native tie-ins in order that we are able to cross-promote.

If none of that works, and you continue to get in any other case rational people driving you batty, then maybe take a web page out of my very southern granny’s guide: make your response to the umpteenth inquiry, “Effectively bless your coronary heart.” Grasp saying this with equal elements compassion and rebuke and you’ve got the quintessential response.

You want all your wits about you heading into the remainder of 2021 and Mrs. Cranky Pants or Mr. Stress Bucket isn’t allowed to steal your mojo. They are going to make it via this. So will you.

Cheryl Kees Clendenon owns In Element Interiors, a retail store and full-service design agency in Pensacola, Fla., and runs a Fb group for designers and retailers known as Small Enterprise Suppose Large. You possibly can e-mail her with feedback or questions at

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