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Dave Seehafer of Global Wave Ventures recommends retailers focus on these points.
Specialty service: What the big chains don't have - product selection, knowledge, insight and experience.
Build customer loyalty
Store personnel/training: Hire the best, pay them well, give incentives, delegate
Inventory management: Polish open to buy plans, examine where you are making money, what's selling and what isn't.
Private label: This can help your margins and brand your store.
Online: Don't treat it like a stepchild. It needs to be a separate focus.
Tom Holbrook, executive vice president, strategic brand development at Quiksilver, gave this advice:
Analyze data: Examine selling and margin information on a weekly basis. The brands have learned about the power of this information from watching how the big national retail chains operate. Many independent stores don't create similar reports enough.
Quarterly reports: Create a quarterly report card that compares how brands are performing in relation to each other and the performance of sales reps. Share that information with brand sales managers.
Nuggets from Snowsports Industries America presentation by Ed Wray.