Viva Las Vegas Market!

Find an Incredible Array of New Resources at the Fastest-Growing Gift & Home Decor Market in the US!

The full spectrum of categories are here – general gift, tabletop, lifestyle, housewares, gourmet, seasonal, lighting, furniture, home décor, spa, toy, jewelry, inspirational, textile, vintage, trend, stationery and so much more providing literally thousands of reasons to attend the Las Vegas Market January 22-26, 2017.

Since its launch in the Summer of 2005, Las Vegas Market has become the most comprehensive furniture, home décor and gift market in the Western United States. The campus is comprised of three interconnected buildings and a temporary exhibit facility called the Pavilions, encompassing 40 floors and 5 million sq ft!     Ivystone_LasVegas_Showroom_LookBook_Jan2017

Ivystone quickly settled into their prime location of 45,000 sq ft, in Building C #696. Check out the newest Las Vegas Showroom Book Here

Atlanta Gift & Home Market – Lights, Products, Action….What a Show!

For those who attended Atlanta AmericaMart Gift & Home show you surely witnessed the energy,the abundance of great products, and most definitely the certainly the positive energy buzzing throughout this awesome trade market.  For those of you not able to attend, here is a photo recap-from fashion, to function to just plain fun, Ivystone customers, reps and vendors had it all going on!

 

Leveraging Video To Successfully Market Your Small Business

Using video marketing can boost your small business exposure in many ways.

Not only are videos a quick way to communicate information to your customers, they are immediately engaging and can be fun!  Feel free to get creative when making your marketing video and consider adding music to draw in your viewer.

Ivystone, a national Gift and Home sales and marketing agency creates unique videos simply by utilizing a variety of Gift and Home product images along w upbeat and captivating music to promote their national showrooms-featuring a variety of Ivystone vendors and products for the wholesale gift and home market.

View Ivystone’s summer 2016 Atlanta Showroom promotional video here.

Read more for 7 proven tips to use videos for your small business and go ahead and make some video fun!

Learn and Earn Word Of Mouth Marketing For Your Business

If you could master what has been identified as one of the most valuable forms of marketing, the one that most people trust above all others Word of Mouth Marketing 4and the one that is most likely to deliver sales for your company, would you instead choose to ignore it or leave it to chance?

Why would you simply choose to sit back and hope conversations will just happen organically about your brand? If you want to win the marketing race you need to unleash the power of word of mouth marketing (WOMM).

Most of the time, your talkers will come from the everyday actions you take to be a great business – they recommend their friends because they really like you. But sometimes you have to be more proactive about earning those talkers and getting them to spread the word.

Word of Mouth Marketing-GraphLook at the facts. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. In a recent study, 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of  marketing.

According to Susanne Fanning, President of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), the official trade association for the word of mouth and social media marketing industry, marketers need to focus on the three E’s: Engage, Equip, Empower.  If you can master these, you can become the most beloved and talked about product in your category, which will ultimately lead to increased sales. “We’ve seen a good WOMM campaign generate thousands of conversations, recommendations and triple sales in just a year (yes, even for the boring products).”

Engage—Give your fans the gift of you. Engage with them. Listen to what they are telling you. Be part of the conversation about your brand. Be a presence in your fans’ lives. @NikeSupport is a prime example of customer service done well. They constantly respond to followers on Twitter, whether it’s about their apparel, Fuel Band or other products. Every few minutes, you can watch them respond to someone new.

Equip—Give them reasons to talk. It can be amazing products, great service, insider knowledge, social elevation, incredible stories, unbelievable facts or even funny disclosures. It’s on you. It really depends on you understanding your consumers and what they like about you and providing whatever it is they need from you. Apple revolutionizes technological devices and delivers amazing products to its consumers, allowing them to naturally rave about the newest iPhone. Another area to excel in and that’s on the rise is social customer service.

Empower—Give consumers different ways to talk and share. Let them know that they are important to you and that sharing their opinions is important to you. Help them find ways to share within their circles and find ways to help move their conversations around. Lay’s is an excellent Word of Mouth Marketing 2example to highlight how they empowered their fans to “Do Us a Flavor,” and allow consumers to create a new flavor of potato chips to hit store shelves. Over 3.8 million submissions were sent in 2013 making it one of the biggest marketing campaigns for PepsiCo owned Frito-Lay.

As is typically in these times, technology has increased social connectivity making it easier for consumers to do your marketing for you. A post Word of Mouth Marketing 3that takes just a few minutes for a fan to write will be seen by hundreds of friends who trust them, and it can rapidly travel out to thousands more. Very well planned messages have been shared by millions within the span of days.

Look at the Epic Split video by Volvo featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, the video was released on YouTube on November 14, and on the first day the film was viewed over 6.5 million times and shared over 32 thousand times. Then in four weeks it was shared over 6 million times across social networks. It quickly became the most shared film on YouTube. The clip has received extensive media coverage from all over the world as well, and has been the subject of approximately 20,000 editorial pieces online thus far.

It is simply not possible to achieve these kind of results without technology. The results are undeniable; consider the fact that those who read these posts as well as yours could potentially have hundreds of offline conversations with friends, families and acquaintances.

Engaing, Equipping and Empowering  your customers will fuel conversations and drive passionate Word of Mouth marketing that will make a huge difference for your brand and your sales.

Send us examples of your Word of Mouth achievments and be on the look out for Part 2 next week as we share these and more powerful WOMM success stories.

 

Suzanne Fanning is the President of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), the official trade association for the word of mouth and social media marketing industry. Her social strategies have been featured in Advertising Age Magazine, Fast Company, Forbes Magazine, and PR Week.

 

Retail Dollar Volumes Up for the 2014 Holiday Season

The data suggests that shoppers are ready to spend this holiday season.  Consumer confidence is rising due to an improving job market and lower gasoline prices. Couple standing in front of organic food store smiling If the early shopping days are strong indicators, this could be a positive shopping season for retailers.

Retail Dollar Volume Up 5.3% Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday

How Satisfied Are Your Customers?

The more information you have from your customers, the better your opportunities for growth and capturing the all important holy grail of business, customer loyalty.     Customer Satisfaction

When you have accurate and worthwhile information from your customers, you put yourself ahead of your competition. Here are 6 actionable ways to get information and feedback from your customers to help improve your standing with them:

1. Ask Them. The simplest way to find out what people want from your service or product is to ask them. The problem is that many businesses owners often assume they know what people want.  Assuming and really knowing are decidedly different.  Always ask and act on the answers.

2. Be Your Own Customer. One of the most obvious ways to find out what a customer experiences when they use your business is to be a customer yourself. You can do this by walking the customer journey one step at a time and seeing things through your customer’s eyes.

3. Focus Groups. These groups gain information and insights as to how the target audience is using or reacting to a service.  Information gained from focus groups open up the opportunity for your business to see what it is customers expect.  Recent results from a focus group survey used by a bakery to review their customer needs discovered that they had three different types of customers: locals who wanted personal attention; after-work shoppers who wanted convenience; and tourists who wanted something special.   You can also use social media to gather this type of data.  Collectively it is great information to tailor products and services toward.

4. Questionnaires and Surveys. Getting customers to put their thoughts in writing on a questionnaire or survey is one of the best feedback techniques.  When well-conducted, the information can be invaluable.  As Volkswagen was designing the new Bug, they sent their existing customers a detailed survey stating, “We want you! Your ideas, preferences, and constructive comments will be evaluated and fed into the development process. So tell us about your impressions and ideas for the new Beetle. We’ll do our best!”  The result:  air-conditioning is standard and lighters and ashtrays are optional. Who would have guessed?  Car companies and manufacturers of high ticket items are consistent in getting this type of customer feedback, why can’t you be as well?

5. Use the Results (and real data). The most important  information on whether your customers are satisfied with your service or not is whether they continue to buy from you. While sales information may be a first line indicator of how well you are doing,  it is no guarantee that you are delivering the product or service the customer really wants.   Use the data from one or more of these steps to assess the real story and take action accordingly.

6. Customer Service aka Your Staff. Your personnel is the most resourceful and reliable, as well as the least costly, of your customer feedback sources.  Your staff should be encouraged to build strong relationships with customers so that they feel free to share how they feel about all facets of your business from the product selection to the check out process. Make certain they have an easy way to feed back important information for improving customer service and for managers to make use of what they tell them. There is also value in taking good care of your staff.  Recently a grocery chain, through their annual customer and staff satisfaction surveys discovered a direct connection between customer satisfaction levels and staff satisfaction levels.  Those stores where customer satisfaction is high are consistently the same stores where staff satisfaction is high.

You may deliver what you think to be the best service in the world, but if it is not what people want, your time and talent is being wasted.  Finding ways to get customer feedback is vitally important to your business, why do you think a majority of websites consistently ask for survey participation upon exit?  You should be doing the same and plan to implement one, two, three or all of the above techniques – your business can improve overnight.

Here are steps to help you get started:

6 Questions to get actionable feedback from customers

From Retailwire.com

Do You Have What it Takes to be Lucky?

There are people in this world that just seem to be lucky. Everything seems to go their way. Even when an event that would be considered bad for most, “lucky” people seem to end up better off. Why is it that some people seem to be lucky? It’s not that they have some sort of lock on luck or that they were born under a “lucky” sign. Lucky Charms Learning to embrace opportunities and create your own luck can be the difference between a successful and happy life and passively waiting around for something good to happen.  So stop waiting and make your “luck” happen.

Here are 5 clear cut things that can improve your “luck” today.   With a little extra effort, you can be lucky too.

 

5 Things Super Lucky People Do

Are You a Good or Great Salesperson?

Award Winning SalesWhat separates a good salesperson from a great salesperson? 

In this post from Inc., 8 Traits of Great Salespeople, the best tend to share certain characteristics.

How do you stack up?

Retailers, what traits do you think constitutes a great salesperson?

Are you on the Map for Small Business Saturday?

This year Small Business Saturday is Nov 30th and is known as the day we shop and support small business in a BIG way.  Plan ahead to attract more customers and make Small Business Saturday 2013 a memorable day to celebrate your business, your customers and your local community.

Nov 30th is now 4 weeks away so jump into your planning now to help make this Small Business Saturday a stellar success.  Here is a useful countdown planner.     ShopSmall_logo

Small Business Saturday is a day to rally people nationwide to get out and Shop Small so how about rallying your local community for this event?  Ignite your neighborhood and tell all the local businesses in your community to get ready for the big day.

For additional inspiration, check out what other communities have done for successful events focused on this important shopping day.

Need help with finding the right gift and home products for your retail store to get ready for Small Business Saturday?

Ivystone and Simblist can help!

Learn From the Experiences of Fellow Entrepreneurs

10 mindsets of successful entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are all different. They all have a unique entrepreneur mindset that contributes to their success. Their mindset might have to do with their personality or even the field in which they have chosen to work.

When figuring out your own approach to the challenges of entrepreneurship, it can help to learn from the experiences of others.                                                                          Sharing Entrepreneurial Stories

Here are the experiences and entrepreneur mindset of 10 well-known entrepreneurs from a variety of different fields.   We hope that you will find something in each of their stories that will help you in your own entrepreneurial adventures.  From Small Business Trends (10/16/13)