Often, the owners of a successful shoe business grow to “childhood” and decide to open a department or store of children's shoes. But this project is not always successful, despite the owner’s rich experience. The thing is that the trade in children's shoes has its own specifics both in terms of assortment and in terms of working with the audience. Representatives of leading Russian brands of children's shoes tell about some of the features of the children's shoe store.
How to open so that then does not immediately close? Here are some tips from the director of advertising at Zebra Alexander Vozhdaev:
Before grabbing on a good offer to rent a retail space, you need to analyze the location of the future store. It is clear that you should not open a children's shoe store near factories, factories, car enterprises, that is, where there can be more men than women. It is much more preferable to open a children's shoe store in a sleeping area, where there are enough kindergartens and schools, where there are squares for walking mothers with children and children's playgrounds. When renting a room in a residential area, try to evaluate its potential before opening: are there many new buildings in the area? How many nurseries, kindergartens and schools? How many families with small children live in the area? Or is the area already relatively old, and the store can focus on the assortment for school children and adolescents? Do not hesitate to ask women at the playgrounds what kind of shoes, what brands and where they buy, what kind of shoes are missing in this particular district. This will significantly reduce your risks when purchasing an assortment and initially will optimize it.
It is also beneficial, although somewhat different from a marketing point of view, to open a store not in a residential area, but in the city center: next to children's theaters, parks, circuses, water parks and children's creativity centers. In this case, both the shopping itself and the customer motivation to make a purchase will be more unplanned, spontaneous, but at the same time having a positive emotional background. In such places, gifts and status purchases are often made, so you, as the future owner of the store, must consider these aspects in everything from the name of the store, its display case and interior to its range and conscious pricing policy, which should be at a slightly higher level, than in a sleeping area.
An almost win-win option is to open a department of children's shoes with an existing shoe store for adults, because parents, especially women aged 25 to 45, choosing shoes for themselves, will always be ready to choose and purchase something in the same store for a child. But no matter what kind of premises you rent, remember that according to the results of opinion polls, the acceptable walking time for parents to a nearby store for children's shoes in a sleeping area is 5-10 minutes, or no more than 2-3 short stops by ground transport. When traveling for shoes for a child in their own car, parents are ready to spend time to the store within 20-25 minutes.
Even before the store opens, you should clearly understand how your future customers will find out about it, and what promotions and programs to popularize your store you offer to customers. The easiest, cheapest and most effective way is to peek and analyze the shortcomings, mistakes and mistakes in the nearest stores of your competitors, and try to translate in your store what they failed. In any case, be sure to go to neighboring stores of children's shoes and meticulously evaluate their range, brands, prices, approach to customers, design. Do not think that you are proposing something fundamentally new and thereby win a competitive battle: as a rule, this approach is disastrous for business.
The best time to open a children's shoe store is before the start of the fall school season, that is, somewhere in late July - early August. At this point, the store should already have shoes for school and autumn weather. If you want to further reduce possible risks, open a store before the spring-summer season: then you can play it safe and offer unsold demi-season shoes from the spring season to customers even in the fall. Winter shoes should be offered to customers in such a way that they are already sold by November-December, and in November it is already possible to exhibit festive New Year's collections. January-February are months of calm and holding sales promotion actions, so during this period do not rely on high sales and pre-allocate the budget for necessary expenses. In March-April, you can start selling summer shoes.
Sometimes store owners invest money in promotion, but they make amazing mistakes where they can not be made. For example, they organize a campaign to distribute leaflets with an invitation to a newly opened store, but forget to make a sign for the store or otherwise inform customers that a shoe department has opened in the store. As a result, potential buyers simply cannot find the store advertised with leaflets and live in the full confidence that it is not there.
If you are going to open a monobrand branded store, carefully evaluate your chance of winning. As the experience of the past decade clearly shows, such children's shoe stores are unprofitable, because mothers want to make the final choice of at least 3-5 brands of the same price and functional range in winter, and from 5-7 brands in summer. Conformist buyers committed to only one brand in the children's shoes market are no more than 18%.
How to make a purchase competently? The opinion of Tatyana Ustinova, retail sales development manager for TM Zebra, is:
Before making a purchase, analyze the audience and the place where your store is located. If this is a sleeping area, then buying brands from the upper part of the middle price segment is simply unprofitable. Yes, a certain percentage of buyers will look for them, but mainly in such an area brands and models that require a small margin will be more popular - this way you will ensure sales and attract buyers. However, be sure to leave a choice for those who are willing to pay more, otherwise you will push away this income group and lose your profit.
If there is strong competition around - for example, you open a point of sale in a children's shopping center - your store should be somewhat different from the rest. It would seem that this is clear to the child, but too many store owners are stepping on the same rake, not even interested in what competitors are selling. Be sure to evaluate the assortment of neighboring stores and decide how you will differ: an exclusive collection, focusing on one of the assortment groups or price. And maybe you will be able to distinguish yourself by the high professionalism of the sellers who will be able to give the necessary advice to young mothers, as well as quickly and easily help you choose shoes for your child. Remember that by betting on a lower price and dumping your competitors in order to win back your share of buyers, you risk staying at the end of the season with nothing and no purchase for the next season.
With a competent approach to the choice of pricing policy and the formation of the assortment, one should start from the place of the store and its actual area on which shoes can be laid out. The quantity of goods must be such that the shoes can be presented presentably, in accordance with the implacable laws and standards of merchandising, and not as in a warehouse or in a show room (read more about the rules of visual merchandising in a children's shoe store read in this issue) If the actual space does not allow you to imagine all the assortment groups, make more emphasis on those that you are sure of, and form groups that you do not want to be in demand in this place, form at least - 1-2 articles.
In the case of an unlimited budget and a large area in the store should be fully presented shoes of all age groups of children. There are only 7 of them: nursery, small children, preschool, school (girls), school (boys), girls and boys. Shoes in each group can be conditionally divided into categories: for example, shoes for girls, low shoes for boys, removable and festive shoes should be presented in school shoes. During the demi-season, parents of schoolchildren buy boots, boots or rubber boots, shoes with the use of membrane technologies, in winter - winter boots, boots, snow boots, high fur boots or felt boots. It is also worth considering the choice of sports shoes. The listed categories are, in principle, conditional, and shoe brands for convenience divide their assortment in even more detail - into 10-30 categories for all half-age groups. When choosing an assortment for a store, one should consider in each category the choice of 3-5 items in winter and 5-7 in summer for both girls and boys. If you multiply the number of articles in each category by the number of categories of shoes that will be presented in your store, you will get an approximate quantitative composition of your assortment. “Approximate” because the area of the store is of great importance: figuratively speaking, do not try to “push the crop from the entire potato field into the trunk of the Cossack.” In addition, you will have to refine and optimize the assortment matrix both during and after the end of the first season, when it becomes clear which categories in this store are selling better and which are worse. Selling everything equally for everyone is a disastrous strategy, comparable only to trying to cook soup from 1 kg of salt, 1 kg of potatoes and 1 kg of onions. Therefore, if you want to succeed in your store, “mix the ingredients” in the right proportions.
Even at the purchase stage, you should understand which model will fall into the group of popular products, and which article constitutes a marketing risk. Depending on what potential this or that pair has, it should have its margin. It is extremely illiterate and inefficient to put a single margin on the entire assortment of the store, no matter how familiar and simple this method may seem. Selling a profitable product with the same margin as a highly profitable one, you simply deprive yourself of money. For shoes that will be sold in large volumes, the margin should be less than for high-quality and expensive models. This will provide greater turnover.
As a rule, in a children's shoe store with its pronounced seasonality, the most popular models are open and closed shoes for kindergarten, sandals in the summer, rubber in the fall, and winter boots in the winter. All year round, replaceable shoes for the school are in demand. Winter shoes are usually sold by November-December, so January and February are months of calm with rare purchases for children whose leg has suddenly grown. You can’t count on sales in these months, so you should prepare for the calm of sales in advance, setting aside the budget for salaries and other fixed expenses.
Remember that a properly selected assortment is not a guarantee of a store’s success. Many store owners have to be content with low sales simply because they believe in the "gas station principle" - "put the hose in the tank, the gas went." But it’s not enough for the store to buy a “certain standard” assortment and wait for profit: for the product to be sold, you need to constantly work with it, analyze sales and customer preferences, train sellers and, receiving information from them to clarify the assortment matrix, improve and comply with merchandising standards. According to the estimates of the owners of successful shoe stores, 80-85% of sales success depends on the work of qualified and competent personnel, and it’s the attentive and professional sellers who can tell you which product is best in the store. Unfortunately, a lot of store managers believe that if they have 15 years of experience selling shoes, they don’t need advice - especially from the sales staff. As a result, they make gross and obvious mistakes even at the stage of assortment formation and lose profit where they could increase it.
|Please rate the article|