Most of my emphasis in my marketing pursuits deals with preserving the retail environment. For many years retail store front owners have expressed to me their frustration with the existence of home based businesses. Over the years some of my “home based business owners” have opened up stores. Also, in recent times some retail store owners have down sized to home based businesses being able to shed the brick and mortar expenses, employees and inventory, focusing strictly on invitations. Keeping their phone number has allowed them to generate invitation inquiries and make appointments.

It’s father’s day and have been in this industry longer than I have been a parent (since 1981) so I am going to give out some fatherly advice. We are now in a new sales climate that unites home based businesses and retailers. The biggest vulnerability retailers in the stationery industry have is the increase of invitations being sold online discounted or full price (it doesn’t matter). We all know how important word of mouth is, and when invitations are purchased online and purchasers start recommending web sites instead of retailers, a shift in consumer behavior takes place that could evolve into online purchasing becoming the standard.

The more online sales, the less excitement about the whole invitation process. The average price is lower online. There is less customization online. That impacts the preferences of the recipients of these invitations. Home based retail stores, sell the value of the invitation, allow customers to see and feel it, give them option to customize. This impacts retailers everywhere as most guest lists contain addresses way beyond the local area of the host. Let’s say an Encore Studios custom layered Bat Mitzvah invitation with a pocket, that was purchased at a home based business in Chicago is sent to a guest in Los Angeles. The recipient loves the invitation, is planning a Bar Mitzvah and wants to do something similar. She can look on Google and will know right away that she cannot to do this online. She knows an invitation store in Los Angeles, brings the invitation in to see if they can do it and the store gets the sale. So this is an example of how a home based business can help generate business for another retailer.
The caliber of the average owner of a home based invitation is high. Many owners are successful, intelligent and creative women who chose to leave their career to have a family and want to continue to channel their talents into something challenging and income producing. How can that positively impact a local retailer? Sometimes home based business owners give it up for one reason or another but the experience they have is highly specialized. I have spoken to numerous retailers who have hired former home based business owners as managers or part time employees who perform way better than someone who had to be trained. Also if you wanted to sell your business, who would be a better candidate to sell your business to than someone with experience in your industry that is looking to go to the next level. I have helped several retailers sell their business by matching them with a home based business who was ready to expand.

To conclude and go back to the business of spending Father’s day in the spirit it was meant to be spent; I will summarize by saying retailers and home based businesses need to unite in the same mindset. Do whatever you can to bring customers in and get them off the computer. If you are ready to move in that direction, I can help. Summer is a good time to plant the seeds of marketing strategies that could sprout in the fall and winter. Take another look at my marketing strategies at Local Traffic Builder.

To the fathers that may be reading this remember always what is your most important job and I hope you have or had a happy Father’s Day.