Get to know retail expert Lorraine Rouse

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We’re very excited to announce that Retail NZ’s very own Lorraine Rouse, will be presenting the upcoming Retail NZ workshops, across the South Island.

Lorraine is passionate about engaging with retail businesses – she’s supported local businesses for over a decade. Communicating with SME business owners and managers every day, she understands what makes a successful store.

She also has a long history of retail experience herself, having worked for over a decade as a multi-site franchisee with Bakers Delight.

We’ve chatted with Lorraine about her personal and holistic take on today’s retail environment and how she managed her retail business, leading and lead a team of up to 50 crew.

Going through the Motions?

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Successful retailers are passionate, and they’re not just going through the motions. You’re winning when you’re engaged; you regularly reassess and review, and think about all aspects of your business.  I understand some days are better than others –  when you get a call at 2am, its not usually a baker excited to tell you about a new recipe. You become good at problem solving and adapting.

Understanding “the Customer” is paramount.  Ask yourself  “what’s your secret sauce to ensure a customer shops with you. What’s your customer experience? Does that experience match your brand, both in-store and online?” Keep fresh, keep checking and questioning.

Building a successful team?

A strong recruitment process is key. Recognise the individual strengths of your team members; nurture and develop them. You also need to build robust processes and continually measure and review the outcomes.

How do you engage the team and keep them motivated?

If I share information about the business and performance with my team, they have a vested interest. We would hold regular team meetings & management team meetings, sharing business goals, profit and losses, marketing plans, comparing between stores. We saw this as a way to create a single team vision; all driving to a common goal.  This helped create a healthy competitive rivalry between the stores.

What is a vital key to success in today’s retail environment?

Today it’s necessary to have an online presence. For most shoppers 5 years ago, shopping online was an option. Now, it’s an expectation. Retail being online is a shopper’s paradise, and it’s a key opportunity for engaging with your customers.

Your online presence needs to reflect all aspects of your in-store experience – from customer service, to visual merchandising, to key product range.BlogImage300x200px-LorraineRouse2

Retail online is a progression, not a trend, and it’s important for your store’s longevity. It’s vital for being visible and accessible for your customers and the community.

How is community vital for retailers?

You need to know: who are the groups and communities surrounding your business? This is vital for understanding your customer, and it’s a key aspect of marketing and brand awareness.

It’s about connection, and it goes both ways. Customers can feel like you get them, and you can tell your story and give brand understanding.

This way, you can engage with who your customers are, and customers feel good knowing that they are buying from a local store, that supports local interests. It’s a win-win.

BlogImage300x200px-LorraineRouse3Best things about retail?

3 things:

1) Supporting and developing individual team members and seeing them grow.

2) Building a positive team culture.

3) Customers. It’s awesome when you see or hear of customers who introduce friends and family to your business, through word of mouth – you can’t beat it!

Here are Lorraine’s “Pro tips”

  • Understand and exceeding your customers’ expectations,
  • Attention to detail in all aspects of business: product, presentation of staff, and merchandising,
  • Communicate well and regularly about business performance and / or objectives.
  • Care, I really care about, my business, my team, and most of all, my customers.
  • Dedicate time to work on your business, as well as, in it.

Click here to find out more about the retail workshops Lorraine will be presenting:

  • Retail Planning and Strategy
  • Retail Product and Merchandising
  • Selling Successfully While Knowing Your Legal Obligations

“Lorraine and Sue are excellent presenters – very inspiring! Thank you!”
– Ingrid Wyllie, Morgan & Page

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