Client Type: Retail Store

Challenges: Low Sales, Low Profits, Pending Street Construction


I began working with this store in November 2011. First thing we had to do was begin tracking key numbers like number of customers, conversion rate, and average dollar sale. The first day we began tracking was the week after Thanksgiving. The store had 161 customers enter the store during the day and captured 16 sales. The 10% conversion rate meant lots of room for improvement. Average dollar sale was approximately $35. Another area for improvement.


We addressed the conversion rate by improved customer engagement while in the store, talking to them about new items, ability to look for their needs and developing relationships – basically just talking to the customers. The second step was to create specials of the day/week that were featured and signed near the cash register as an impulse buy. The goal was to get them to buy something, even if it was just a $5 item. One inexpensive item that was in demand was skeleton keys, which we featured with signage. A by-product of the creating an item of the day/week, we also created a want to return to see what was featured in following weeks. During the summer months to convert the traffic, we sold iced bottled water. Other items developed were a wish list and lay-a-way. We are in the process of rolling out a frequent shopper program designed to increase loyalty and increase the number of times a customer shops.


The street and sidewalk construction, improvements began in the early spring and lasted until just after Thanksgiving. Traffic patterns for all stores were impacted with wooden bridges being built from the street to the store entrance as the sidewalks were being improved. Vehicle and foot traffic were greatly impacted, with several stores going out of business and quoting a newspaper article in the local newspaper, one merchant conveyed that his sales were off 40% during the construction. My client actually increased sales many of the months and ran a slight decrease in the final month of the construction. To combat the lack of traffic due to the street and sidewalk work, we created a Hard Hat Sale. The key elements of the sale were that if a customer purchased a plastic Hard Hat for $1 they were entitled to a discount for every return visit while the street and sidewalk work continued. We captured the customer’s details (name, etc.) and added them to the database to ensure they got their discount upon their return, as well as helping build their database for future marketing endeavors. Of course, this discount negatively impacted profit margin percentages, however, the return traffic created by this promotion caused many additional sales that resulted in more profit dollars. Result was better sales and profits than other shops on the street and positioned the store to take off when the street work ended. December 2012 was the biggest month in the stores history, producing a 78% increase in sales over the previous December, which prior to this, was the biggest sales month in the stores history. By the way, YTD through July 2013, the store is up 73% to LY. Another positive of having sales during the street and sidewalk work, was that the business took advantage of closing businesses and offices adjacent to them and expanded their square footage, enabling them to rent space to others.


Case Results


Currently the store is experiencing a 73% YTD increase in sales, conversion rate is over 30%, a 200% increase over their base and average transaction is $58, a $23 increase.