Keep things fresh, retail guru tells Mt Hawthorn retailers

Olive & Coco owners Leisa Nash and Lynne Lawson with fashion retail support consultant Michelle Cooke.
Olive & Coco owners Leisa Nash and Lynne Lawson with fashion retail support consultant Michelle Cooke.

IF there is one message that retail guru Michelle Cooke wants to get across to small business owners, it is “keep your store looking fresh”.

Hawaiian recently provided some of its retailers at The Mezz shopping mall in Mount Hawthorn with a free fashion retail support program run by Ms Cooke, who undertook some mystery shopping, completed in-centre research and developed a local retail analysis.

Ms Cooke, who has run her own small businesses and now offers advice, said some retailers needed to get out of their rut.

“Some are so busy with the daily grind, they don’t want to change how they shop looks,” she said.

“They get in a rut, buy too much stock and put it all on the floor, and they are not rotating it.”

She said the trick was to keep the store “fresh”.

“With a suburban mall or centre, about 40 per cent of the clientele are the same people who keep coming back,” she said.

“Those centres are anchored by Coles, Woollies or other major tenants, so if you don’t keep the look of the shop fresh, people won’t come in.

“Everyone blames the landlord but it’s not always their fault.”

Ms Cooke said owners had to capitalise on what made their store special.

“One place I saw stocked only Australian labels and there was nothing about it on their social media or anything,” she said.

“If you want to compete with the big guns, you have to entice your clientele in.”

Olive & Coco joint owners Lynne Lawson and Leisa Nash said they saw an immediate positive impact on the business after taking on the advice.

The tailored recommendations included a new stock management system, revamping their merchandising approach and refreshing their customer focus strategy.

Ms Nash said they had noticed more foot traffic.