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Creating a Customer Avatar: Part Two

customer avatar

Last week we learned what a customer avatar is and the data points that help create one. This week we build your customer avatar and learn a new marketing technique.

Building Your Avatar

As you know, a customer avatar represents your ideal customer. To build your customer avatar, it helps to think of an actual person. What products does she buy? What is she looking for?

After thinking of an individual, expand to your customer base. What questions come up frequently? Are you getting similar comments on your social media posts? These areas are great places to start to determine where to focus your efforts. If you still need ideas, check out our Customer Avatar Worksheet or consider sending a survey to your clientele.

Generosity Marketing

Once you know your customer the next step is to foster those relationships. There’s a lot of noise in the marketplace to cut through; how can you fulfill your customer’s hopes?

Enter generosity marketing. Generosity marketing is based on the theory if you give something away for free, it instills a sense of trust between you and your customers and lays the foundation for returning customers. The alternative (offering promos and discounts) is a more assertive sales tactic and makes customers feel like targets.

Offering things like rewards programs, giveaways, events, and charitable commitments are all pieces of generosity marketing. Being a thought leader is too. Applying these and enhancing the sense of trust between you and your customers are all excellent ways to elevate your business from the competition.

Inspiration for this post came from “Customer Avatars and Generosity Marketing” by Flossie Arend published in the October 2022 issues of American Quilt Retailer. Next week we’ll cover the second part of this post: marketing to your avatar.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Creating a Customer Avatar

customer avatar

Why do your customers chose to shop with you? If you don’t know the answer to this question, practice the below exercise to keep differentiating yourself from the pack.

What is a customer avatar?

A customer avatar represents your ideal customer. Creating a customer avatar is important because they are the type of person that purchases your products.

To design your company’s avatar, consider your customer’s demographics, characteristics, hopes, and fears.

  • Demographics: What is your customers age, location, gender, job status, education level, economic status, etc.
  • Characteristics: What are your customers habits, skills, and skill level? Are they in the market for bulk fabric at low costs, or artisanal fabrics for a range of crafts? These are two very different types of customers.
  • Hopes: Your customers hopes are the benefits they receive from your business. Are your customers experienced quilters, or wanting to learn?
  • Fears: Your customers fears intersect with your business’s solutions. How can you address your avatars pain points?

Customer data points

We already have demographic information on over 29,000 quilters thanks to the 2021 Quilter’s Survey. The average quilter is a retired female in her 60’s. She already knows how to quilt and starts nine to 11 quilts a year, working on them about 6 hours a week. She shops based off fabric choices and location (around 30 minutes away) and has increased her online shopping about 30%.

To get your business’s demographics, check out your social media analytics, or consider adding Google analytics to your website for additional data points.

Inspiration for this post came from “Customer Avatars and Generosity Marketing” by Flossie Arend published in the October 2022 issues of American Quilt Retailer. Next week we’ll cover the second part of this post: marketing to your avatar.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Budgeting for Inventory: Part Two

inventory management

Last week we covered how to budget for inventory with funds you have. (Remember, if your inventory account is empty, don’t buy more inventory!) In part two of our budgeting for inventory series, we cover what inventory to stock and how to avoid supplier marketing schemes.

Buy with your customers in mind

First, know who you’re shopping for. If your client description is as overarching as “knitters” “quilters” or “scrapbookers” you’re not differentiating yourself enough.

Second, think of who your best customers are. A list of clients likely jump to mind, but note, your best customer doesn’t have to be the highest spender. Rather, your best customer can also be the most enthusiastic or a promoter of the store.

Once you have a list of 10-20 shoppers, buy with them in mind. Ask yourself before purchasing any product if it is something your best customers would like. If they won’t like it you shouldn’t buy it.

Finally, try to find a happy-medium when ordering inventory. You don’t want to buy so much product that it overwhelms your top customers, but you also want to have enough to satisfy demand.

Shop smart for inventory

Another thing to keep in mind are marketing campaigns from vendors. Vendors will use tactics to create a sense of urgency, such as “limited supply” or “limited-time-offering.” Remember, you should only purchase inventory if it makes sense for your store and you have enough funds in the account.

Inspiration for this post came from The Not-So-Obvious Basics of Buying by Gwen Bortner published in the October 2022 issue of Creative Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Set Up Your Demonstration Station

demonstration

Showing is always better than telling. If you don’t have a demonstration station set up in your brick-and-mortar store, this is your sign.

Prep for your demonstration

Set aside an area to set up your demo. This should include a sewing machine (even if you don’t sell them) with tasteful and colorful fabric and matching thread in the bobbin (both upper and lower). You should, of course, have the thread and fabric as products in your store. Better yet—products the customer can’t purchase at big box retailers.

Also completed should be a sample with examples of what you’re about to demo. For instance, if you’re demonstrating appliqué your sample should display needle turn, satin stitch, decorative stitch edge, raw edge, embroidered appliqué, etc.

Execute

The customer has entered the store, you’ve greeted them, and they’ve asked for your help. Now what?

Simply ask if they have a moment to show how it works. Never make assumptions during the demonstration as to what knowledge the customer is bringing with them.

As you walk through each step of the demo, highlight the products you’re using and show the customer why they’re your favorite. Allow the customer to take a few stitches on the machine, showing the needle down feature and how the knee lift helps with accuracy.

Once finished, ask the customer if they have any questions. The more demos you give, the more objections you’ll learn to handle, and what responses work best.

Inspiration for this post came from “The Power of Demonstration” by Kay Brooks published in the April 2022 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Keeping Up with the Competition

competition

Keeping up with the competition can be hard when you’re going against big-box stores and online quilt shops. We’ve got four tips to set yourself apart so you stay in front of customers minds.

Approaching the customer

Keep the pressure off the customer by greeting them as they enter the store. Instead of asking “May I help you?” say “Nice to see you!” instead. The goal is to make them feel welcome, not to put them on the spot, and a greeting is the same as letting the customer know you’re there and available.

Hosting events

Think about it this way; there are two restaurants that serve essentially the same menu right across the street from each other. One restaurant has people inside and around it, and the other is empty. Which restaurant are you going to eat at?

It’s a proven sales tactic that if you make your retail store look like the place to be, more business will follow. Hosting events is a great way to ensure your store stays full—and just because we’re in a pandemic doesn’t mean that fun has to stop. Host virtual events, and personally invite customers to those events. You may want to keep some small (so they feel more exclusive) and others larger to continue to build community with your client base.

Encourage self learning

People like to help themselves. Many companies have guides that answer frequently-asked customer questions. What size needle do I need? What do different thread weights mean? Post these guides on social media (and don’t forget to tag the companies!) as well as by the product on your sales floor.

Optimizing your online presence

Encourage your customers to show off how they use your products on social media through store-specific hashtags. Make sure your website includes photos of employees, the facade of your brick-and-mortar store, and a video of the sales floor. Following these tips will help to set your store apart from the rest of the competition.

Inspiration for this post came from “Become the Go-To Quilt Shop,” by Kate Colleran, Joanne Hillestad, and Kris Poor, published in the June 2020 version of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.