Peer Perspective: Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Retail Minded
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle
Retail Minded founder and editorial director
Reyhle’s Retail Minded, a print and online resource for independent retailers, is enjoying its 10-year anniversary. Reyhle shares thoughts on the question she hears most often, mistakes retailers make and offers advice for those looking to add ecommerce to their operation.
What drew you to retail?
I have always been fascinated with retail and began working retail at the age of 15. My first job was at a men's tuxedo store but the years that followed led me to Nordstrom, which I feel so fortunate to have worked at during my early years while still in school. During this time I lived in a community with a thriving Main Street scene — Libertyville, Illinois — and credit this to having nurtured my appreciation for small businesses and independent retail, in particular. Collectively, these experiences helped to shape my love affair of retail and how impactful the retail scene truly is on communities and consumers alike.
If there is a single question you hear most often from retailers, what is it and how do you answer?
Retailers undoubtedly have a lot of questions, however, the one I hear most often is “how can I get more customers”? This is broad question that welcomes a variety of responses based on each unique retailer's position in the marketplace, demographics and more, but the foundation of it remains the same despite whomever asks it — how can retailers gain more attention for their stores and as a result, gain more business? Through Retail Minded, we are constantly trying to answer this question by offering a variety of news, education and support to help retailers nurture and grow their businesses. From marketing to merchandising to management and more, there is no single answer to support retailers here but instead, merchants must recognize that it takes many efforts to attract and retain customer attention.
What is the most common mistake today’s brick-and-mortar retailer makes?
We live in an age of data driven technology and customer driven analytics. Retailers who choose to overlook the reality of this key data are missing out on the value this can add to their businesses. By incorporating data into their business model, brick-and-mortar retailers can better understand customer patterns, inventory management, social media efforts, email marketing statistics and so much more. The key is to review the data received, then react to it in an effort to make stronger business decisions.
For a brick-and-mortar looking to add online sales, what advice would you give them?
Incorporating an online selling strategy isn’t always easy or even preferred by many traditional merchants, but it's important to view this avenue of selling as an integral part of both retail marketing and sales. The best way to welcome this to your brick-and-mortar business is to identify who your target online audience is and how you plan to capture their attention. If social media, for example, is a main driver of commerce for your business, consider how introducing social selling into your online selling strategy may be a good fit for your business. If you want to simply have an e-commerce site to help lead customers back to your physical storefront, consider how a template store such as those found via Shopify or Big Commerce can benefit your business. Utilize online resources to help you build your online visibility versus starting from scratch — this will help save you time, money and undoubtedly many headaches, as well.