Have you requested your Marketing Area Profile?

A couple of weeks ago I was pleased to see the headline “Shoppers Buck Snowstorms to Push Retail Sales Higher”.  It caught me by surprise because I was preparing to see people hunkered down during the inclement winter weather battering the East Coast, so this was unexpected.  I was also curious as to where people were spending more money.  The US Department of Commerce reported that the retail sales for February 2010 in the US increased .3%.  While that does not sound like much, considering the economy as a whole and the bitterly cold and generally awful weather we experienced, this was great news.  In reviewing the numbers even more, two subcategories stood out even more: restaurants and bars, 0.9% and food and beverage stores, 1.3%.

These are pretty good signs that consumers have loosened up the wallets a bit and are getting back out to restaurants and other dining places, including cafes.

During the past few months we have many customers ask how to position themselves for growth.   Our customers hunkered down during the economic crisis, cut costs as far as they could and operated as frugally as possible.  Now, the only way to increase the bottom line is to increase the top line, which demands more customers and more sales.

Spring is nearly upon us and now is the time to sow the seeds of future success.  We would like to do our part to help our customers in these endeavors.

In our experience from operating our own coffee houses to working with our customers, three broad areas come to mind to help increase the top and bottom-lines.  These include:

increase the number of customers,

boost the frequency of customer visits,

• and add to the average customer transaction.

Increasing the number of customers is the most obvious way to achieve increased sales, but it becomes easy to overlook strategies to increase the number of times your customers visit your store as well as increase the amount they buy each time they visit.  Increasing every 5th customer to come in one more time is a 20% increase in sales.  If your average transaction gross volume is $5.00 and average gross profit is $3.00, then increasing the gross profit contribution by even .50¢  increases your overall profits by 17%!

Lots of small improvements in each transaction and with each customer can have a tremendous impact on your success.

To help aggregate many of the best ideas we have heard from our customers, our vendors and our own experiences, we wanted to develop tools to help our customers grow and build their businesses in incremental, sustainable fashions, building upon their unique assets and strengths of being an independent, locally-owned coffeeshop!

We are pleased to present the Stockton Graham & Co. Marketing Area Profile (MAP) planning guide for 2010. It is a big first step in working to increase your sales, average ticket and profitability.  After completing your MAP, we have developed a 2010 Seasonal Marketing Kit to send to you.

The premise behind the MAP is to help you build upon your core strengths using the area surrounding your store, which offers the greatest opportunities for building and sustaining your business.  While it might seem detailed, we believe it’s critical to help document your current situation, competition and areas for growth.

Understanding your specific circumstances and customers should help you to position them as strengths.

To request your Marketing Area Profile, please call your Customer Care Associate at (800) 835-5943 and let them know you want the road MAP to success! Also, stay tuned to our blog for updates regarding the MAP and various sales targets!

Jeff Vojta
Stockton Graham & Co.