Sevierville, TN
Nov 3-6, 2018
Pigeon Forge, TN
Nov 4-7, 2018

Articles & Guides

Selling Strategies to Help Tourists Want to Spend

Tourism is big business. In fact, the World Travel & Tourism Council recently identified that one out of three jobs is related to tourism in top North American cities. Keeping this in mind, it’s easy to understand that tourism and spending go hand-in-hand. The catch, however, is identifying how you can capture tourist dollars despite the competition that is undoubtedly trying to do the same. To help? Consider the below tips.

Incorporate Name-Drop Merchandise into Your Inventory Strategy

Tourists aim to create memories and likewise, want to remember those moments once they have returned home and are back to reality. To help support them in these goals, merchants situated in tourist areas can benefit from stocking name-drop merchandise in their inventory assortment. As recently explained in an article from Retail Minded, “when customers visit your store, they are often doing so as part of an experience that has been thoughtfully planned and often budgeted for over quite some time. By offering them customized products with names incorporated into these items, buyers feel a stronger connection to want to make a purchase while also gaining a stronger sense of attachment to your unique destination. This is a winning combination for retailers looking to increase their daily sales.”

By choosing to invest in name-drop items, you are investing in your chance for stronger tourism sales success. To discover what name-drop items may be right for your unique business, explore the IGES Show, an annual trade event for retailers that cater specifically to tourist-based businesses.

Strengthen In-Store Merchandising to Trigger Tourist Sentiment

Shopping should be entertaining for customers, particularly when they are on vacation or visiting somewhere new as a tourist. To help accomplish a stronger experience of shopper-tainment for your consumers, consider how merchandising can help.

Through merchandising, retailers can deliver memorable, enjoyable experiences that help lead them to make a purchase. Having merchandising strategies in place that highlight name-drop items, new deliveries, customer favorites and strong-selling items will help to increase your overall sell-thru while also helping to strengthen the customer experience. Using signage strategically placed by these key areas and incorporating an easy-to-navigate store layout are among the best ways merchandising can help lead your customers to want to make a purchase. Strong displays that are engaging, informative and encourage interaction among the inventory and customers are also helpful when it comes to creating memorable store experiences through merchandising. Collectively, these efforts can support you in strengthening your tourism sales and overall store success.

Offer a Range of Price Points & Inventory Options

Understanding your customer is never an easy task, however, it becomes even more difficult when you factor in tourist shoppers. Since no two consumers are the same, it’s important to offer a variety of price points and inventory options when trying to cater to your tourist consumers. Offering items that are affordable and allow for quick, impulsive purchases is ideal, yet also offering items that may take more consideration yet have a higher markup and margin is also healthy for your business. The key here is offering assortment in price and inventory – helping to capture consumer dollars from all customers that may walk into your store.

Finally, as you consider how to best support your tourist customer, also consider where the best inventory can be discovered to create the right assortment for your store. The IGES Show – held annually in Tennessee – is a leader in the souvenir and gift category and has supported retailers in their buying journeys since 2001.

Author: Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Retail Minded

3 Ways to Help Gift Stores Strengthen Their Merchandising

When it comes to brick and mortar stores, nothing is more powerful than the visual appeal your store can offer. From the curb appeal of your storefront to what customers see when they first walk into your retail space, there are countless ways to entice consumers through displays and merchandising. To help? Consider the three tips below when it comes to merchandising your gift store.

  1. Incorporate the Power of Sentiment Through Your Display

Shopping is an experience and as a result, should be treated as one. To help strengthen the experience your store offers, consider how incorporating emotions into your displays can help strengthen your store sales. For example, if you have inventory ideal to be purchased as gifts for new babies or growing families, use signage in your display to remind customers this may make the perfect gift. A simple framed caption of “Make This a Gift They’ll Cherish Forever” strategically positioned near this inventory can help remind customers they need to purchase something – even if this particular something wasn’t on their immediate shopping list. Another idea would be to use window displays to not only highlight store inventory, but also to trigger memories. Nostalgia is a great way to capture customer attention, so consider how using this theme in your displays can also help you capture customer sales.

  1. Highlight Staple & Statement Items Through Merchandising

For every retailer there are essentially two categories of inventory – staples and statements. Staples consist of must-have items that merchants depend on to help keep their sales steady and their customers happy, such as milk is to a grocery store. Statements, on the other hand, are items that are more seasonal, trendy or meant to be a one-time buy with the intent to sell fast. Keeping this in mind, consider how merchandising your statements and staples together can help you capture customer attention. Staples should gain some responsiveness, but it’s statements that ultimately keep customers engaged and curious. Using both in your own merchandising strategy, overlap staples and statements in the same displays so that customers will not only be captivated by what they may need but also by items they will want to impulsively buy. Favorite vendors to consider merchandising in your own store include souvenir and novelty items from Squire Boone, plush toys from Petting Zoo and apparel items from Exist – all of whom will be exhibiting at the upcoming IGES Show in Tennessee from October 31 – November 4, 2017.

  1. Educate & Share Product & Vendor News Through Displays

Among the many advantages a brick and mortar store has compared to an online business is that it can offer hands-on opportunities for consumers to engage with inventory. Through merchandising, stores can share product news via signage, encourage customers to interact with inventory and strengthen the overall engagement between consumers and brands thanks to the physical connection storefronts can bring them. To help do this, use signage to encourage customers to try-on, pick-up or simply touch your inventory – particularly inventory that lends itself to hands-on engagement such as fidget spinners do. Additionally, ask your vendors what they may have to help support you in these efforts and incorporate their display pieces, vendor signage or other tactics into your merchandising strategy. Another tip? Rotate new items into more featured display areas and identify them as “new” or “just arrived” so that your customers won’t miss them.

Finally, remember that when merchandising your gift store, also consider how your customers interact in your store space. Are they frequent customers or does your store cater to out-of-town guests more often? Is your store located in a destination area or are you located in a high traffic part of town with many walk-in customers?

When you look at all the factors that influence your customer base, this will also help you in your merchandising strategies – particularly when identifying if your customers are frequent visitors to your store or not. Consider how signage hung from the ceiling to better direct your customers to what they may be looking for, for example, can offer value to your merchandising strategy, as well as make sure to use good old fashioned customer service to support your display efforts. Collectively, these efforts and those mentioned above will help you get on track to strengthening not only your store merchandising goals but also your store sales.

Author: Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Retail Minded

Supporting Today’s Souvenir Shopper: 3 Realities You Need to Know

‘Retailers, listen up.

Gone are the days of marketing your store and inventory to one niche audience of consumers. Instead, customers nowadays vary tremendously and demand the attention they each want and – quite frankly – deserve. After all, there are a lot of choices when it comes to shopping, so why should a customer choose to shop with you versus your competitor?

We know… a thousand reasons… and we agree. The catch? You need to communicate these reasons effectively with both your existing customers and potential customers so that they are as excited to shop with you as you are excited to welcome them to shop at your store. To help? Consider the below tips when helping to support the ever-growing, always evolving consumer demands of today’s modern consumers.

Tip #1: Offer your customers personalization.

‘Me, me, me.” Get the idea?

Customers love the idea of personalized attention that they believe speaks uniquely to them. To help, consider how name-drop items can add value to your store inventory and ultimately your store sales, as well. Since name-drop items – which are essentially items with either their names or the name of your demographic area, destination location, etc. are identified – can help customers connect themselves more individually to your store inventory, this is always a good idea. Beyond that, however, consider how above and beyond customer service can help support today’s modern customer. At the very least, this should include store standards identified among all your employees on how to greet your customers, support them during their shopping experience, provide them top-notch service during the check-out process and retain them as long-term customers through specific marketing strategies identified by your unique store. When customers feel that they are being pampered and taken care of from stores they support, they are more likely to maintain loyalty to those businesses. Keep this top of mind as you plan your store marketing and selling strategies to help keep customers keep you top of mind, as well.

Tip #2: Consider how your customers’ research items they want to buy.

It used to be that consumers would visit stores and research products along the way. Nowadays, however, customers navigate many roads – both physically and digitally – before ever making a purchase. Keeping this in mind, how are you currently supporting your customers when it comes to their product navigation?

As a retailer, it’s critical to consider where your customers can find you as part of their inventory research. This may include social media, Yelp, your own website, conversations from friends, your physical storefront and more. Among the top considerations, however, will ultimately be whether you carry the inventory today’s consumers want to purchase. To help, be sure you are staying up to date with industry trends and relevant vendors within your unique niche market. Tradeshows, such as the International Gift & Expositions Show (IGES) in Tennessee, are among the best ways to do this. By attending tradeshows, you are gaining on-point industry news on the latest trends and market insight while also connecting with vendors – both new and existing – and experiencing industry networking and educational events, as well, such as IGES offers. Factoring in tradeshows as part of your customer management is an essential part of your overall store strategy – and one you need to prioritize right away.

Tip #3: Train your employees to understand the various consumer demographics.

Want to know one of the best kept secrets in retail? It’s simple really, yet very effective.

‘Learn to read your customers.

Consumers – just like books – have a lot of details attached to them. It’s important that employees aim to understand the variations among consumers – just as books offer, as well – so that they can better support them in their customer service efforts.  This doesn’t happen overnight, but the constant nurture and care of good employee training can help strengthen your store efforts in supporting customers and how they want to shop. Millennials, for example, may respond better to interactive displays and the encouragement to take a selfie in your store (something signage can easily remind them to do) while Baby Boomers would prefer good old fashioned customer service with knowledgeable sales staff and the understanding that sometimes, these customers just want to be left alone.

When you factor in the variations among consumers and how you support them, these details add up to the success – or failure – of your store. Making sure your business understands your consumers is among the top ways in strengthening your store success, so be sure to factor in tradeshow attendance, customer service and understanding the variations among consumers as part of your priorities in helping to support your store.

Author: Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Retail Minded


Gift Industry Trends that will Boost Your Bottom Line

From the shores of Malibu to the sandy white beaches of Marco Island to the snow-capped mountaintops of the Rockies and all destinations in between, the latest souvenir trends from the industry’s #1 resort gift show experts are all featured right here. Capitalize on the insider knowledge with these downloadable guides available to you, compliments of the International Gift Exposition of the Smokies®.

The Resort Gift Show in the Know

Powered by Emerald Expositions’ and in partnership with our media partners, Souvenir, Gifts & Novelties, Retail Minded, Museums & More, Gift Shop Magazine, & Independent Retailer, discover souvenir trends, best business practices, money-saving resources, merchandising tips and so much more with our seasonal trend guides and monthly articles. Read about vendors and retailers keeping the spirit of resort gift shows in America alive while uniting this treasured community.

The International Gift Expo of the Smokies® offers year-round product guides and key exhibitor showcases to help buyers find the best products in every category: name drop items, wholesale resort apparel, plush, keepsakes, collectibles, souvenirs, games, toys, customizable gift items, personal care products, licensed items, novelties, kiosk items, promotional, gourmet, personalized jewelry and accessories, Made-in-America products, Handcrafted goods and more. View and download our interactive guides to shop IGES® vendors year round.

Hear from experts in the Souvenir & Travel industry on economic outlooks for resort gift shops, National Parks, Zoos & Aquariums, Museums, Amusement Parks, Waterparks, and discover new trends emerging in destination travel.