Michael Davis, retail sales manager of Zootique@CPZ, thinks if your gift shop doesn't have and active Facebook and Twitter account, you are missing out on incredible free opportunities to engage your customer and make your shop seem relevant and exciting.
1. What makes your store unique?
My shop, Zootique@CPZ, is unique in that we’ve tired to position ourselves as a destination shopping location, as well as a zoo gift shop.
We have the luxury of exterior access to the shop without the customer having to pay zoo admission. We’ve tried our best to market ourselves as a place to purchase unique, one-of-a-kind gift items.
2. What is your retail background?
I have been in retail since 1996. I was in store management at the department store level with Dillards, Mervyn’s, Linens N’ Things, Burlington Coat Factory and Belk Department Store. I wanted to make the transition to smaller, more hands-on retailing. The opportunity to run the retail operations at Cameron Park Zoo opened up just as I was moving to Texas from Kentucky. I have been in position here as retail sales manager/ buyer since 2010.
3. What is the most popular product you sell?
Seven of our 10 most popular SKUs are plush items, with plush from Adventure Planet and Aurora as our best sellers. We also do great business with Laser Gift Utility Tools and Solar KeyChains, as well as Safari Ltd.
4. What are your top three retail tips?
1. Communicate with your staff constantly, let them know top sellers, what is hot, what we need to focus on and keep them involved in future plans. An engaged, informed sales associate is your best tool in retail.
2. Make sure your shop is well-lit and inviting. Dark spots, burned out bulbs, dust — all these can make your shop look like you are going out of business. The customer will treat your merchandise only as well as you treat it.
3. Use social media to your advantage. If your gift shop doesn’t have and active Facebook and Twitter account, you are missing out on incredible free opportunities to engage your customer and make your shop seem relevant and exciting. You also should take advantage of every resource ZAG has to offer. Networking with other buyers is an amazing benefit, and tips and suggestions from other retail pros and the flow of information from vendor to buyer is a great asset.