Ballet is the heart and soul of dance retail. It’s the reason most of your stores are coated in pink paint and why more than 75 percent of your merchandise features frills, ruffles or tulle. Ballet customers include babies, school-age dancers, pre-professional students and teachers. And the money they dish out for apparel, shoes and accessories makes up the bulk of your revenue. With so much riding on one category, there’s no room for error. That’s why DRN dedicates an entire issue to the ballet business. From the hottest dancewear styles to the best new business moves, we’ll show you how to boost your ballet sales.
To help you plan 2012 orders, we talked to top dancewear makers to find out what’s new and what’s selling. In “Ballet Fever” (pg. 20), get the inside scoop on the latest fashionable and sophisticated ballet looks. Then stock up on the season’s prettiest knitwear to keep aspiring ballerinas warm. Whether you’ve got a beginner or an advanced student, assistant editor Kristin Schwab found the best styles in “Winter Warmers” (pg. 16). And don’t forget to fill your shelves with all the extras—like toe pads, ribbons and tape—that dancers can’t live without. In “Dance Bag Essentials” (pg. 14), we show you the best new options for these must-haves.
Placing the smartest orders is only half the job. Increase your marketing and promotional efforts to meet higher sales goals. In “Effective E-mail Campaigns” (pg. 24), retailers offer their ideas for creating messages that really do get read. And in “The Do’s and Don’ts of a Group Fitting” (pg. 34), we show you the best ways to run a lucrative pointe shoe event—without hassles or stress.
November is a month reserved for giving thanks, and there’s much to be thankful for this year. High quality and great service—two hallmarks of your business—are important to consumers once again. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumer spending has risen. While buyers still make purchases on a need basis, most now say they are looking for the best value rather than the lowest price. That’s why this issue is dedicated to all the ways you can offer more value this winter.
Round Out Your Inventory with Versatile Dancewear: Give your customers more bang for their buck with well-made styles that can be worn to any type of class. In “Dancewear for Any Day” (pg. 16), we show you the most wearable items on the market. You can also find the best lineup of skirts in “Sheer Beauty” (pg. 14).
Make Over Your Fitting Rooms: The fitting rooms can make or break a sale. A few quick fixes to your lighting and fixtures can enhance your customers’ experience. In “Dressing Up the Dressing Rooms” (pg. 26), we give you the resources you need to create a fitting room that sells.
Upgrade Your Technology: Mobile payment applications make processing transactions easier—especially those held outside of your store. Retailers who use these new card-processing tools report that they are more cost-effective than any other option currently on the market. Plus the novelty of running the checkout on her iPhone never fails to excite a customer, says Jo Steadman, owner of Freestyle Dancewear in South Williamsport, PA. Learn more about how you can implement services like Square and GoPayment today in “Turn Your Smartphone Into a Checkout” (pg. 34).
I’d love to hear the ways you’ll be adding value to your
customers’ shopping experience this winter.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that the back-to-school crowds have thinned out, it’s time to start thinking about the next rush—holiday performance season. Winter recitals are a great opportunity to get your name recognized. There are several things you can do this month to set yourself up for a successful season. Here are a few of my ideas:
Restock Your Shoe Selection: Chances are your
inventory is low after a busy fall. Now is the time to replenish.
In “Top-Selling Soles” (pg. 16), we show you the most popular styles in all genres that are sure to be in demand once winter performance rehearsals kick into high gear.
Organize Off-Site Sales: Sometimes you need to look beyond your store to build your customer base. This winter, partner with a local studio to display your merchandise at its winter recital. In “Off-Site Recital Sales” (pg. 34), we show you easy ways to set up a kiosk, plus tips on marketing and the best inventory to display.
Try Something New: We’re always encouraging you to keep your store fresh, and the same rule applies to us at DRN. This month, we’re excited to introduce a new column full of effective marketing ideas. Turn to “Laurel’s Leads” (pg. 36) for three great holiday promotions from top retail consultant and DRN Expo speaker Laurel Tielis.
Try something new this winter and let us know how it turns out.
E-mail your ideas to email@example.com.
The holidays are approaching, and with them comes the unique opportunity to reach out to new—and nondance—customers. Over the next few months you’ll start welcoming the family and friends of your loyal dancers. As you help them select gifts, showcase your knowledge of the products you carry. Once you educate and impress these new customers, they will spend more and return often. That’s why we dedicated this entire issue to the most effective sales techniques and the hottest holiday products. Read on to learn how you can extend your marketing efforts to reach more customers this Christmas.
Special dancewear, like leotards with velvet details and rhinestone trim, excites everyone and makes the perfect gift for every dancer. No gift-giver will be able to resist the new dressed-up styles from top makers we feature in “Effortless Elegance” (pg. 18). We’ll also show you the best gifts under $20. We searched high and low for the newest and most exciting dance related stocking stuffers. Turn to “Petite Presents” (pg. 16) so you can start your holiday order right away.
Make shopping even easier for customers by offering a gift registry feature on your website. The added service will not only attract more business this winter, but will work for you all year long. Learn how you can build your own in “Make a Wish (List)” (pg. 22). With a little effort, you can have yours up and running by Black Friday.
Since your business is constantly evolving, employee training should be ongoing. In “Training Days” (pg. 35) learn three successful staff training techniques—including the best ways to teach pointe shoe fitting and new role-playing exercises. Then schedule a staff meeting right away. The more quickly you build your sales team, the faster you’ll build your revenue.
What are you doing to build your business this holiday season? Share your special events and promotions with us. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Basics may be simple in terms of style, but when it comes to ordering, displaying and selling them, things can get a little complicated. As one of your best-selling categories, it’s no surprise that you invest a great deal of time and money into this dancewear staple. That’s why this issue is all about how to make the most of this fundamental category.
Rethink Your Displays: Basic black leotards are a necessity for nearly every dancer, but don’t ignore how you present them in your store. Changing the colors of your fixtures and playing with quantities can make a difference in how customers see the product—and entice them to buy more. We asked several established retailers—including the managers at Capezio’s flagship store in New York—how they make basics pop. Turn to “Displaying the Basics” on page 22 to hear what they have to say.
Expand Your Selection: Basic dancewear styles are not limited to leotards. Try adding a rainbow of legwarmers or expanding your selection of pink and tan tights. The more essentials you stock, the more quickly you’ll become the go-to source for dancewear in your community. See all the new and best-selling legwear styles you need in “A Leg Up” (pg. 16).
Spell It Out: Consider the signage you use to direct customers around your store. After all, it’s the finishing touch of each display. Is the font clear and easy to read? Have you included the appropriate information? Are they visible? See “Secrets of Signage That Sells” (pg. 20) to help you create signage that sells.
The ideas in this issue can be applied to any category. Whether you’re working with practice leotards or performance-worthy dance dresses, try something different this year to increase sales. Then, share your advice and ideas with us. E-mail email@example.com.
In a few short weeks the back-to-school season will be in full swing. That means long and often chaotic days—but also large profits—are ahead. You spent the summer getting ready for the crowds. Now, take a closer look at your business practices, and fine-tune the areas that bring in the most revenue during the fall. In this issue, we look into a few changes you can make this month to prepare your store for the rush.
[bf: Increase your order for kidswear] Baby ballerinas are a large part of what makes back-to-school so successful. Having extra tutus and tiaras will up the wow factor of your displays, and whatever is left over after the rush will quickly sell in the coming months. For all the ruffles and frills fit for a dance boutique, see “Twinkle Toes” (pg. 14).
[bf: Don’t forget the moms] As Zumba continues to gain popularity, the number of dance moms who sign up increases. You can educate women on the importance of wearing dance sneakers to class while they are shopping for their daughters’ schoolwear this fall. In “ZUMBA!”, (pg. 20), we share easy event ideas and quick promotions you can use to get more Zumba dancers to shop at your store.
[bf: Refresh your selling space] The rest of your shop is important, too. Dancers won’t know you have new gear if your displays and signage look the same. To find out what will work best this fall, we turned to professional retail consultants for tips from national chains. In “Best in Class,” (pg. 22), learn how stores like Macy’s and Target refresh their look for fall.
[bf: Wrap it up] Long after you accept payment, keep up the excitement of the shopping experience with creative packaging. In “In The Bag,” (pg. 28) we show you how handing out a new shopping bag at the end of each customer’s visit will effortlessly lead to her next.
What do you do in July to prepare for back-to-school? Share your favorite last-minute planning tips with us. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates.
-Libby Dowd, Editor
Expectations for back-to-school season are high. The increase in popularity of categories like ballroom, liturgical and Zumba brought in new customers during the slow season, and those shoppers will stay loyal this fall. In this issue, we offer smart sales and merchandising ideas that will prepare you for larger crowds and make this year more successful than the last.
In order to top last year’s sales, make sure your style selection matches customer demand. This fall, basics remain among the most requested categories, and in “The Barre Necessities” (pg. 16), we’re showing the current must-haves from your favorite manufacturers. Since no style or dancer is the same, fashion editor Kristin Schwab shares tips on fitting the right leotard to each body type.
Another great way to increase back-to-school sales is to focus on one of your other top selling category—pointe shoes. Introduce a pointe shoe loyalty club, and you’ll not only grow your customer base, you’ll have a new way to give back to existing shoppers. Plus, there are other advantages to tracking dancers’ pointe shoe purchases. Learn more in “A Shoe In” (pg. 34).
The more shoes you sell, the higher the demand for tights will be. Make your legwear selection easy to shop with a few tweaks to your current display. In “In Good Form” (pg. 22), we share three tights displays that prevent customers from making a mess of your inventory.
In this issue you’ll also find coverage from the 2011 DRN Expo. See exclusive images from the exhibit hall and a recap of the educational breakout sessions (pg. 20). The education you received at this year’s Expo will help make back-to-school season a success.
What are you doing in your store to build back-to-school sales? Tell us what shopping incentives or merchandising plans you plan to implement this year. E-mail email@example.com.
Back-to-school may still be a few months away, but May is the time to place your orders. You’ll want to be ready when crowds of eager dancers flock in for armloads of new product, so we packed this issue with advice to get you ready for the busy season. Here’s DRN’s checklist for fall planning.
Order Early: Start with our handy Back-to-School Buying Guide (pg. 20) to keep track of deadlines and incentives from top makers. You’ll want to hang on to this for a few months—several of the
discounts extend well into September.
Order Wisely: Now is also a good time to check with local studios for any changes to their dress codes. More teachers are recommending their students seek out technical fabrics—and there are lots out there. Writer Courtney Rae Allen explains the latest textiles in “Fabric Forecast” (pg. 22).
Add Lots of Options: Our experts are recommending that you stock plenty of dance and active wear separates this fall. Dance teams need jazz pants to wear to early season practices, and a good selection of workout tops will catch the eye of fitness enthusiasts. We’ve got the latest styles and best-sellers in “Let’s Get Physical!” (pg. 16).
Enhance Your Image: Polish up your displays with some new ideas. In “Product Placement” (pg. 27), Leslie Groves offers tips on how to make a $5 product look as if it should cost $15.
Take a Break: Last—but certainly not least—make time for a vacation. We know it’s not easy to leave your store, but it is possible. In “Vacations 101” (pg. 34), we spoke to three storeowners to learn how they prepare their store, and staff, for their absence.
What does your back-to-school checklist look like? Tell us what you do during the summer months to get in gear for fall. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
With summer comes an end to your slow season. Intensives are around the corner and dancers are ready to update their shoes and apparel. They already need to shop; now give them a reason to pick your store. Position yourself as a dance expert and always have something new to offer, and you’ll gain extra business. Read on—we’ve filled this issue with ideas you can put to work right away.
Replenish your racks with fresh product. Dancers want to stand out during summer training, so show them new leotards in bold colors. And don’t forget the basics for students with a dress code. We’ve got them all in “Summer Sophisticates” (pg. 16).
You should also consider adding a new product category—it’s the fastest way to reach more customers. The demand for praise garments was once a regional trend, but the popularity of liturgical dance is spreading. In “Liturgical Dance Spreads Its Wings” (pg. 20), we spoke to retailers from New York to North Carolina to find out how they connect with the liturgical dancers in their area and how they accommodate their apparel needs. The most orders for liturgical wear are placed before Christmas and Easter, says Tolbert Yilmaz, president of Eurotard. That should set you up for the post-back-to-school and late-winter lulls.
Focusing more marketing to kids year-round is another smart way to boost sales. No baby ballerina will be able to resist the extra attention she’ll receive at an event just for her. The most effective in-store events target dance moms, too. Win the loyalty of both this summer with these effective ideas in “Child’s Play” (pg. 24).
Then, find out in “Retailer Roundup” (pg. 25) how tuning in to your community’s needs will increase sales. For example, Lyn Naruo of Step-N-Up Hawaii expanded her “Store to Your Door” program to Zumba studios when she noticed a lot of classes being held nearby. “Zumba is big year-round,” she says, “so when my sales drop, this helps keep things going.”
We want to hear about any exciting changes you’re making this summer. Share your stories with me.