It’s Friday so it must be biz day! Although I’m actually taking a day out and doing no business thinking what so ever today as I’m taking my two nieces (aged 3 and 5) to see the Gruffalo, have lunch in the Rain Forest Cafe and then we’re ending up in Hamley’s where they are choosing a present each. Fun hey.

Before I get onto the biz section I just want to mention that we are looking for a part time florist to join our team and work in our cabin in the West End. If you’re interested please email careers@abigailahern.com. Our florists are juggling many balls right now from making the hugest wreaths (more on that another day) to bouquets for the holidays to running flower classes so you’ll be working on lots of different stuff.

Right then down to biz.

If you’re like me with a bricks and mortar store you will have spent considerable money on rent. 12 years ago I remember our rent was £18k, now it’s scarily climbed into the 6-figure mark. I need to take a deep breath every time I say or think that!?

Whether you’ve paid £18k or £100k+ for rent you can’t leave it up to chance, luck or any kind of good fortune hoping that customers will find you or even buy from you. Never rely upon anything.

First impressions count. How your store looks and how your customers are treated by your staff is key. Employ people who are passionate about your brand. Making small talk, engaging people goes a long way. Make sure it all reflects your brand aesthetic.

Words matter. Having the right retail speak as well is fundamental. I used to be in the store full time many moons ago and I can tell you from experience that saying things like “I can’t do that” vs. “I think the best solution might be”, goes down far better. Rather than “I don’t know” how about “that’s a great question let me find out for you”. Or “we’re closed” vs. “is there something I can help you quickly with right now”. Pay attention to what you say and be willing to go the extra mile for customers.

The worst line I have ever heard was a number of years back when I was in Greenwich outside of NYC and the sales person actually said “How can I help you spend money today”! Way too pushy in my book.

Educate your team about the products that you sell. In depth knowledge of the products you sell in store is key. The big fish tend not to have superior knowledgeable staff especially when prices are low, sales are fast and turnover of staff is high. The advantage of being a smaller fish is that your products should set you apart and so should your staff.

Make it personal. I’m not a big cross selling fan – I wouldn’t want to try and shove a mirror on somebody who only came in store for a vase! You need to know your customer, their budget and their needs. Instead letting customers know of new items coming in that could enhance their spaces is more what we do. We know a lot of our customers we see their spaces on Instagram and across our social feeds, we have a fantastic community of people that I feel very privileged to be a part of so although we don’t push product we can make recommendations.


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