George Whalin, of Retail Management Consultants, presented “Strategies for a Changing Retail World,” on Jan. 16 at the same time and place as the previous two sessions. To start, he identified several challenges facing music retailers, among them a difficult economy, conservative consumer spending, fierce competition, and difficulty attaining profitability. Noting that many retail stores are stuck in the past, refusing to change, he bluntly said, “If you’re not willing to change, [your business is] going to die.” He argued that the lifeblood of business is strategic thinking—a retailer must strategize in all aspects of his or her business. He also advocated a focus on “performance improvement tools,” urging session attendees to monitor such things as conversion (close) rate, number of daily transactions, average sale amount, the store’s pricing strategy, merchandise presentation, and more. In essence, he said retailers must begin each day with the same thought: “What are we going to do today to increase sales, maximize profits and better serve our customers?”
He boiled his advice down to six essential tips. First, he said stores must strive for constant improvement. He broke this down in several ways, citing the need for continual improvement with respect to policies, systems, procedures and business activities; customer knowledge; vendor and customer relationships; customer service; and Internet presence. The other five strategies revolved around distinguishing one’s business: He specifically emphasized distinguishing one’s store, selection, marketing, staff, and services. He rhetorically asked, if your company is just like every other, why should people go to your store?
If you simply thought of the Percussion Marketing Council (PMC) as just another organization, your opinion most certainly changed. The organization burst onto the scene when it hosted Chad Smith, drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Smith, brother of PMC member Brad Smith, teamed up with the PMC to launch Percussion in the Schools, which brings percussion into a school assembly activity that includes non-music makers. Chad Smith will be providing clinics at lucky schools. “This is an opportunity I jumped at,” he said. “This is the future. This is the next generation of players. Kids have a lot of distractions. It’s so important they have passion for an instrument.”
More information can be found at www.playdrums.com.
Editor’s Note: For much more news about the NAMM show, see our photo spread in this issue as well as our March issue.
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