Canada's business magazine for traditional natural health retailers

Holding on to the good ones

The assumption has been made that you've already searched, interviewed, interviewed again, reference-checked the ideal candidate and they've accepted the position – so now what? How do you keep them, or more importantly, how do you keep them happy?

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Your store might have a weight problem


Now that the busy Christmas season has passed, no doubt many of your customers will be seeking one thing, and that's weight loss. Perhaps we should all take a cue from the trends of the season and consider slimming down ourselves. I'm not talking about physically, but rather, the breadth of our stores. Has your store gotten a little inflated lately with too many product offerings? Do you suffer from too many options and too much inventory? What about leftover Christmas merchandise?

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Merchandising can make a difference

We all know the importance of merchandising but all too often, it gets overlooked as more orders arrive and new products need a home and flyers start and so on and so on. Before you know it, you're back to square one, attempting to organize and beautify your store again!

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Are you singing the AM/PM blues?

Do you have the AM/PM blues in your produce department? I recently overheard a couple of kids playing, and when one of them spilled some paint they were using, I heard him say, "It's not my fault, and you had the jar too close to my arm."

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Does Merit Pay Really Work?

The idea seems simple. If you pay high-performing workers more than low-performing ones, the former will stay and keep producing at a high level, while the latter will leave or have incentive to improve.

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Out with the old, in with the new

That's how the saying goes, but, it is often easier said than done. In an ever changing and evolving marketplace, how do you keep up with trends and supply adequate stock of what will be in demand, without running the risk of becoming overstocked and eventually burned with too much inventory of a product that nobody wants anymore? It's a continuous game of balance, guessing and timely purchasing and unless you're a very lucky person, highly skilled at predicting the future, at some point you are going to end up with extra product that isn't selling.

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On my mind...

This month I'd like to offer you a variety of short comments. These are small things of interest or have been on my mind a while.

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The 3 P's: Price, Profit and Pride

For any business to succeed, there are a few criteria to be met. Without fail, the one that stands out the most seems to be profitability. Of course, if a business is not profitable, why continue? What's the point?

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Great Expectations

A conversation I often have with general managers, owners, and produce managers these days concerns how to take their produce to the next level. My usual answer to the question is multi-layered, depending on where the department is at that moment.

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Organic Week Returns this September

Across the country, communities, retailers, farmers and organic producers will be celebrating Organic Week from September 21 to 28 this year. Now in its fourth year, Canada's National Organic Week is a celebration of certified organic food, farming and products produced across Canada and it has grown quickly into the biggest marketing event of the year for organic retailers.

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Consumer Choice: Retailers are growing a Non-GMO future

Vogue, O Magazine, Reader's Digest, and major Canadian papers from Toronto to Vancouver — the non-GMO movement is rapidly becoming front-page news. The release of genetically engineered apples, salmon, and alfalfa would have an enormous impact on both retail and export markets, and pose risks to environment, food safety, and food sovereignty. Farmers, activists, and members of parliament are discussing GMOs, and groups in 32 US states are working to require labelling of food produced through genetic engineering. While the political battles are waged, we all keep eating. Our farmers keep growing crops, and weekly, we go to the store for greens and groceries.

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Blogging

An excellent marketing tool to promote your store, products and people

Health food stores are running out of ideas to promote themselves. Newspaper ads, handing out flyers and expensive Internet promotions may not have worked as well as you expected. These methods may have left you wondering, "What's next?"

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Tracking your customer traffic

Today, over 50 per cent of North American specialty retailers have installed traffic monitoring systems in some or all stores. However, despite the increasingly sophisticated nature of the technology, many retailers have failed to capitalize on the full potential of traffic counting systems and convert the information into what they need most: a significant increase in sales.

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Juice Up Your Training

In a previous column, I described the differences between visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. Most of us use all three styles to learn, absorbing information through a combination of hearing, seeing, and touching or otherwise physically interacting with what we're learning about.

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The power of celebrity

Don't ever underestimate the power of celebrity. Since 2005, our Nutrition House store has come to realize the power of building celebrity status within the community. While in store promotions and displays help to catch the consumers' eye as they walk by, it's our celebrity that is truly drawing them in and making our store a destination. By this I mean, for the past eight years, we have done commercial radio shows and advertisements that have helped to build our notoriety within the community.

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Emotional tone and body language

The body speaks louder than words...

Apparently, during a conversation, our words amount to only seven per cent of how the other person perceives what we are saying. Our tone of voice (38 per cent) and body language (55 per cent) make up the rest. I guess it is the old story about you will trust the mechanic with the most grease under his nails. Many books are available that help with tone and body language insights to help you improve in business and career. Reading 30 minutes every day on ways to improve your business skills gets you 1/40,000 closer to mastering your craft...patience.

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Retailer-vendor relationships

If you think of your most successful account or vendor, what makes it unique? How is it different from others? Most likely, it's your relationship with them. Many retailers have the mentality of "I'm the customer" and don't feel the need to foster a relationship with vendors. Vice versa, some vendors think that they don't have to service accounts because their product has enough demand, it sells itself, why waste resources on a sales force.

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Dealing with short-dated and expired products

Short dated and expired goods – whose responsibility is it?  This seems to be a nagging question for many stakeholders in the natural health products and natural foods business. Who should be monitoring – and more specifically, who should be accountable for – the costs associated with the management and disposal of short-dated and expired goods?

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Food Trends

Whole grain has been a core component of human sustenance for well over 10,000 years. Some advanced cultures of the world have revered a particular grain so much that they deemed it sacred and made it a civilizing fundamental and a daily food staple. Most of these grains have endured and remain a primary source of nourishment for a majority of the world's people.

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Moving past Sticker Shock and on to Accurate Rings

I was standing in a produce department the other day stickering what seemed like thousands of tomatoes with little green stickers. A customer walked up and said, "Why do you do that? I hate stickers on my produce. They are a pain to get off, and I hate the thought of eating them by accident when I don't see or fully remove them!" As I was listening to this customer, I couldn't help wonder the same thing. Why the heck are we spending all this time and labour doing something that the customers don't like and that I feel is a complete waste of time?

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CNHR News Podcast

cnhr radio hour

News, Views and Happenings in the world of Canadian Natural Health.

Check out this month's podcast here

Coming Up in the Next Issue...

Community Board

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