Cabinet Maker speaks to Gareth Price, UK divisional Manager at Lynch Sales, about how the company helps retailers make the most of their sales and marketing opportunities during the festive season, and all year round.
At this time of year, while the rest of us are simply looking forward to spending time with loved ones, gorging ourselves silly and enjoying the best that festive television can provide, we must spare a thought for the retailers who, alongside their own festive preparations, are gearing up for what they hope will be one of the busiest times in their calendar.
This has been the philosophy all year round at Lynch Sales, but rather than simply sparing retailers a thought, the company has been actively helping them to get the best out of their sales since its inception in 1914. This has been serving the company - and its middle to top end retail customers - well for more than 100 years.
“One of the ways we help our customers make the most of their sales opportunity is through marketing,” explained Gareth Price, UK divisional manager at the company. “We look at a company’s existing marketing and work closely with the team to see what has historically worked and what hasn’t in order to put together a plan.”
Gareth and the team at Lynch Sales believe that the key is in the marketing mix, and that, rather than relying on one method of promotion alone, there need to be elements of the traditional and new media within this mix. “We recommend that customers use traditional methods of marketing, such as the press, but also add additional value via social media channels. Social media is by no means a panacea for marketing, but it is certainly an essential part of the mix, and one that we use ourselves. As of course, is the original social network - direct mail. But retailers have historically had a tendency to ignore this.”
The company is certainly well placed to advise on direct mails, having been, as Gareth states, “one of the original direct mail companies that has been going for 100 years.” But even within this one channel, there needs to be a balance in the kinds of activities undertaken. “Around 50% of emails get deleted,” he said. “During busy periods, we can all say that we’ve purged our inboxes as soon as we arrive at our desks. So as well as email – which is a quick and cheap way of promoting a sales event, we recommend hard copy, physical direct mails.
“WE RECOMMEND THAT CUSTOMERS USE TRADITIONAL METHODS OF MARKETING, SUCH AS THE PRESS, BUT ALSO ADD ADDITIONAL VALUE VIA SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS”
“Of course, these are more expensive, so they need to be targeted in order to get the desired response, and this is something we can help our customers achieve. Our dedicated teams can take a database and cleanse it so that only up to date, relevant contacts receive the mailers. For instance, we make sure that any contacts who are now deceased are removed from the list. It’s not a nice thing to think about, but it can be very upsetting for a family member or colleague to receive a communication addressed to somebody who has passed away since the previous campaign. Lynch Sales can take this worry away from the retailer.”
This is clearly an approach that works, as Lynch Sales campaigns achieve a response rate of 7%, which is very high for a direct mail campaign. And on top of that, around £100 per head is generated in sales.
As well as the service offering, a key part of Lynch Sales’ success is also its people, as Gareth told us: “The quality of our people is the difference. We need to look after our clients and make sure we retain their loyalty. We have some great coordinators who can get integrated very quickly and work well with customers to achieve this. We are able to get into a store and make suggestions in an objective way as a visitor – it’s always easier to offer advice when you see something for the first time, whereas a customer may not see it because they are there every day. Equally, however, we have had some great feedback from retailers who feel their coordinator is part of their team.”
The international arena has been on everybody’s minds of late, with the impact of Brexit and the US presidential election, but how do the markets compare from the point of view of a company operating in the UK, America and Canada, amongst other countries? Gareth offered us an insight: “We have been in the UK for a long time now, and when we started out we modeled closely on what has been done in the US.
“I have to say that today, there is really not too much difference in the way the different countries in which we operate do business. Perhaps people might turn up a little bit later to sales in some of the other countries, but that aside, it is broadly similar. In fact, where we generate £100 per head in the UK, in the US we generate $100.”
When it comes to new developments, Lynch has just released a ‘Sale in a box’ concept, which is ideal for smaller stores that may be unable to sustain a traditional event. The scaled down version of their copyrighted Sales Events, includes everything a retailer needs to have a successful Lynch Sale, minus the on-site management team, and at a reduced cost to the retailers.
With a wealth of big name retail customers, and a website adorned with endorsements, it’s easy to see that the Lynch Sales Company has provided essential help to clients in the last 100 years. If you would like to join their ranks, visit the company website or call 07974 209761 for a confidential no obligation consultation.
Top tips for retailers
• Change your offering regularly: Look at one of the most successful retailers, Zara. They are constantly changing what they offer. If you keep things exactly the same throughout an entire sales period, there is less incentive for people to come back.
• Have a marketing plan: This can be fluid, depending on market developments, but know which products you will be promoting, when you will be promoting them, and which channels you will be using to do so.
• Change your windows frequently: Show customers and prospects the breadth of your offering by alternating your window displays. When they see something new, they want to know more.
• Merchandising is important: Keep adjacencies impactful for a better opportunity to upsell.
• Always offer value: You can’t kid your customers. It is better to sell something at a genuinely good price than to delude them with an ‘up to 70% off’ sticker. Once trust is lost it is very difficult to get it back. If trust is retained, however, there is no reason that, just because you have sold someone a sofa, you can’t sell them a bed later on. It’s all about the trust factor.