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Manager's To Do

On the To-Do List for March: Submit Your America’s Coolest Stores Entry Early

And receive suggestions on how to improve your entry.




March 1-7

MARKETING Create a sign-up area on your website for visitors to provide their email addresses to receive promotions and store information.

MANAGEMENT Bring a chair along to your next store meeting and tell staff it represents the missing element from your conversations: the customer. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos swears that the “presence” of a customer gives Amazon the confidence to innovate in a more responsive way.

BUSINESS GLORY Submit an early-bird entry to the America’s Coolest Stores Contest by March 1 to receive suggestions on how to improve your entry.

March 8-14

SEO If you’ve wondered why cellphone makers are pushing voice control so aggressively, it’s because it has to do with the very lucrative pie that is “search,” currently dominated by Google. Run some tests on different phones along the lines of “OK Google/Siri/Bixby, where can I get my dog groomed?” to make sure your store is appearing high in your local area.

SALES Does your after-hours phone message simply state, “Sorry, we’re closed”? That’s what sales trainer Jeffrey Gitomer calls “D’oh” service. If so, re-record it to direct customers your website, or even another number through which they can contact you in the event of an emergency.

STORE Get in touch with your electric utility provider. Many offer free energy audits, giving you more ideas on how to cut down on your electrical consumption. Some water utilities do the same.


March 15-21

RESEARCH Give each member of your staff a different afternoon to shop your non-indie rivals. It’ll let you know what the competition is up to, and make your staff feel like they are more involved in the strategic part of operations.

GENERAL Adjust your will to appoint a “digital executor.” You don’t want to be paying automatic fees long after you’re dead. Authorize the person to access your log-in information and spell out what you want done with each account, whether it’s providing access to loved ones or business partners, or deleting it.

BRANDING Add a line at the bottom of all store correspondence that says: “Support local businesses. By shopping locally, you save on emissions and help the local economy.”

MARKETING Start plotting a pet trunk show for summer along with the accompanying social media promotions.

March 22-28

STAFF Losing a key staff member can cause chaos if nobody has been trained to take over their tasks. Assign backups and roll out a schedule for learning all those often mundane but crucial jobs, like ordering supplies, entering inventory, invoicing, and checking in grooming clients.

IN-STORE According to a clutch of recent studies, workers who glimpse a tree or two are both happier and more productive; in one analysis of a university building in Oregon, workers on the greenery-facing side took 19 percent fewer sick days. It apparently has to do with how we evolved to function best in nature-rich settings. If you can’t knock out a side wall to provide a view of the glorious outsides, buy a few potted plants to place around your sales floor. This has been a long winter.




P.L.A.Y. Media Spotlight

At P.L.A.Y. — Pet Lifestyle & You — toy design is definitely a team effort! Watch PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita and P.L.A.Y.’s Director of Sales Lisa Hisamune as they talk about the toy design process, the fine-tuning that makes each toy so special and why every P.L.A.Y. collection is made with independent retailers top of mind.

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