You Are the Expert
Eleven years ago Lisa Myers, a university teacher with a Ph.D in English, opened her store, hoping to carve a niche with the many local moms and young women in her neighborhood—a semi residential street, parallel to the main shopping drag in Philadelphia’s Center City. She made her decision to quit teaching and start retailing, and she imagined her days would be spent selecting product, pricing goods, and standing at the counter ringing up sales to customers who would just come in the door.
But Lisa’s store soon faced stiff competition. When she first opened, she had a niche, but soon there were multiple outlets directly competing for her customers. Some were copy cats, others riding a trend, and one competitor was a former employee. This created price pressures familiar to all of us. Lisa’s challenge was not only in finding a way to get customers in the door the first time, but even more importantly, she needed to keep them coming back. “Sure product quality and selection are crucial to making a sale,” says Lisa, “but not enough to keep her coming back.” (Yes, Lisa sells almost exclusively to women.)
Keeping them coming was so important because roughly 70 percent of Lisa’s revenues are generated by only 30 percent of customers, which means she must make every effort to foster a relationship with every new face walking through the door. Lisa’s strategy was to distinguish her store and help her customers love her by offering classes, and so she built on her experience teaching and started to educate her customers with classes and learning opportunities for all levels.