Small Specialty Retailers Have Big Potential
Some specialty retailers are huge chains with hundreds of employees and massive amounts of inventory. But other specialty retailers are small businesses with one location, a small staff, and a tightly focused inventory. ChainDrive has the integrated retail management software that is suitable regardless of size today and it can continue to serve specialty retailers as they grow in the future.
Small specialty retailers often are operating within limitations that other retailers do not experience. The museum gift shop has the constraints of being non-profit along with the limitation of being located in a single, specific site and the need to offer items that the museum-goer will buy.
But if the manager of that museum gift shop takes advantage of the limitations, the customer will make purchases that are unavailable anywhere else. Stocking inventory that reflects the mission of the museum and the interests of the probable customers maximizes the potential for the store.
For example, the Appalachian Trail Museum is in a tiny historic building at the mid-point of the Appalachian Trail. It is located in a state park across the road from the Pine Grove General Store where thru-hikers traditionally stop to eat a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting. There is a log book on the store porch where visitors can read hiker’s accounts of their trip and often there will be a few hikers to talk to.
That means a mix of hiker, tourist, camper, and local picnicker will come to the museum and possibly make a purchase. But those groups are likely to be interested in different products and items specific to the history of the Trail should be available even if they don’t sell well. Books for adults and children share space with T-shirts, stickers, and mugs with the AT logo. Handmade walking sticks and tiny AT medallions are popular.
Inventory has to be managed with an understanding that some things will be in storage for a year or more. A mostly volunteer staff with diverse ability and availability add to the challenge. Moving away from paper spreadsheets and schedules would be a big investment.
Investing In Professional Software Pays Off
ChainDrive’s software for specialty retailers streamlines and automates much of museum gift shop management so volunteers can interact with visitors. It also lays a foundation for future expansion plans like an online shop for a global presence.