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A Fresh Perspective Always Helpful

Earlier this week, I got to have a 30 minute phone conversation with someone whose analytical skills and business experience was evident right away.  As we talked three things came up which I wanted to share here:

First, it was suggested that it’s tough being on the downside of a shifting paradigm. While you might say that’s nothing new, it really forms the basis for a lot of the discussion that followed. Rather than try to deny the realities of the marketplace, it’s a question of learning to live with those realities, react to them, or decide not to endure them long-term.

Second, the discussion shifted to horizontal marketing. This means finding parallel products that are still family-friendly. Books that aren’t Christian books, but would be of interest to the people who shop in Christian bookstores. Mainstream music that is still family-friendly and wholesome. Giftware that is appealing even if not overtly Evangelistic. (In my own store, the challenge here is limited shelf and floor space, and a history where ‘outside the box’ buying didn’t resonate with conservative customers.)

Third, it was suggested that I advertise and promote the greeting card section. This was surprising to me at first. You never see the individual cards referred to in store catalogs and flyers. I said, “They’re kind of the bottom-feeders of our merchandise mix.” But I still intend to implement the suggestion at some level, and remind our customer base that we are their best go-to destination for a sympathy, get well or religious birthday card.

Overall, I got the feeling that I’d like to spend another half hour having this person share their thoughts with me. The outsider perspective was nonetheless informed, was encouraging and was appreciated.

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