Whether a vacationer is staying at a beach or mountainside resort or in a private house or apartment near the beach, odds are likely that at some point during the trip, he or she is going to go shopping. The store visit could be because a guest left a pair of sunglasses at home or needs clothing that better suits the weather experienced while on vacation. No matter the reason a shopper is visiting a resort or beach area store, managers and buyers from a number of shops have tips and advice to get that shopper to purchase more clothing and accessories.
“ ‘Know your demographic, know your market/merchandise’ is our mantra,” said Marion Hover, the buyer for the Spa Boutique at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, in Sonoma, Calif. Although the boutique offers a variety of products designed to help guests recreate their spa experience at home, it also caters to all the needs of hotel guests since it is the only store in the hotel. Hover noted that apparel and accessories are far and away the biggest sellers at the boutique, which she credits to a few tactics.
One of those tactics is engaging with the guests, instead of asking a yes or no question. The connection to the guest should continue once he or she is in the fitting room, as once a guest is trying items on, he or she is more likely to try more things. Hover recommended having sales associates team up to provide the best service to guests, as positive feedback to the guest makes them feel so much better about their purchase. On top of getting them to purchase more, engaging with the guests is fun for the sales associates, according to Hover.
She also credited the involvement of the boutique’s vendors with increasing sales of apparel, noting that “our success wouldn’t be possible without our vendors participating in training, staff support, monthly incentives and promotions. It is important to place trust in the expertise of valued vendors for advice on trends and assortment.”
At Jay Peak Resort, a ski resort in Jay, Vt. that offers year-round activities, including golf and an indoor water park, Jaime Stenger, the golf and retail director, stressed the value of the staff when it comes to boosting sales of accessories. The resort has five stores which range in size from 1,800 square feet to 3,000 square feet. Staff members earn bonuses for upselling to customers. For example, if a customer is looking for a pair of ski goggles, employees can get an incentive if they also get the customer to buy a helmet. Staff members are also encouraged to help customers combine purchases, such as convincing a customer looking for a new jacket to also purchase a coordinating scarf.
Helping customers see the interactions between the various items for sale in the store can also stimulate sales. When it comes to encouraging the sale of accessories or sunglasses, Larry Hume, the owner of Sunset Beach Gifts, which has two stores totaling 6,000 square feet in Cape May Point, N.J., noted the importance of placing similar items near similar items. Placing scarves, glasses and other fashion accessories near clothing can help remind a customer of things they might need but haven’t been thinking about. He recommended placing sunglasses near the dressing room, if one is available, so that people can try on a pair while they try on clothing or placing the glasses near other beach necessities, such as sunscreen.
Hover does something similar at the Spa Boutique. She recommended that a store layer apparel throughout the shop with jewelry and accessories. Sunglasses can be displayed on tables throughout the store with hats and other sun products during the seasons when people are most likely to buy a pair. She also suggested [using] them as props with swimsuits and in displays. Giving a guest pointers while he or she is in the fitting room or making suggestions for ways a guest can dress up an outfit with accessories also improves sales.
The area by the register is a prime merchandising area for many stores, although, as Hume pointed out, “you can’t put everything up there.” Hover recommended placing jewelry right at the cash wrap where people are paying, [as] waiting is enticement time. The register area is also a great spot for sunglasses, which tend to be an impulse buy for some customers. They can try on a pair or two while they are waiting to purchase other items.
Making use of less conventional display areas can also entice customers to stop into a resort’s shop or make a purchase. At Birches Resort in Rockville, Maine, Olivia Shuman, the manager of the 400-square-foot gift shop, sets up clever displays by the front desk, so guests get a sneak peek of what’s on offer inside while they are checking in. Along with arranging accessories by the desk, she’ll also make use of props in the reception area. One example she gave was putting one of the resort’s logo hats on a mounted deer head.
Having items customers want and making it easy for them to get to those items can also help a store’s bottom line. Andie Hansley, the manager of the Surf & Sun Shoppe in Manasquan, N.J., makes every effort to get to know what customers want when they visit the 4,000-square-foot store. It’s not just about having the right product, it’s also about having the right brands of products and the right sizing selection.
In some cases, taking advantage of the specific location of a shop and resort can come in handy when trying to sell clothing. As Brooke Brockner, the manager of the Ocean Key Boutique at the Ocean Key Resort & Spa in Key West, Fla., said, “Key West is a destination, and that in itself is a great tool when looking to sell or upsell. …You are truly selling a lifestyle, and when guests look the part, you can see and feel the ease of the island setting in.”