Seth Godin pointed out something the toy industry has known for a few years…
There is no singular HOT toy to drive in the traffic.
Hasn’t really been one since the first Tickle Me Elmo back in 1997. Oh, sure, there have been some hard-to-find items, a few crazes here and there, but nothing like the way people went bonkers over that furry red guy that vibrated and laughed. They stood in long lines, got into fist-fights, paid hundreds, even thousands, of dollars to get one.
Those days are over. And that is good news for you.
The traffic still craves direction and guidance. The traffic still wants to know where to go and what to buy. The traffic is still looking for something Hot.
So instead of the Hot item, be the Hot store.
You do this by being innovative.
Are you in a downtown location with limited parking? Offer free valet service. Are you in a winter weather environment? Offer coat check and coffee or hot cocoa. Are you in a category that requires special knowledge? Offer classes and tutorials. Do you get a lot of out-of-town traffic? Offer local maps to interesting sites, fabulous restaurants and other great shops in your area.
Rotate your merchandise regularly. Make fun and surprising displays that get people to talk about you and want to see what you are doing.
You do this by being iconic.
You know that every woman in the room pays extra attention to the package wrapped in the turquoise blue. Tiffany owns that color. What can you own?
You do this by being fun.
Smiling and saying hello makes people happy. Genuinely having fun gets those happy people to talk about you. You could play guessing games. You could have quick polls and sign-in books. You could run contests. You could have giveaways. Just make sure you hire fun people.
Regardless of what the media tries to promote, there is no hot toy anymore. Only hot stores. Be one of them.
PS It is no longer about Customer Service. It is all about Customer Experience. The better the experience, the more people will want to have that experience.