It’s no secret that the independent housewares channel is focused on providing an experience to customers. It is something that is discussed at almost every networking event and one that retailers discuss with each other, exchanging ideas and best practices.
When Alicia Cahill, owner of Galveston, TX-based The Kitchen Chick, noticed that her cooking classes were quickly selling out and filling up, the storeowner was faced with a unique challenge. She could put more time and effort into her classes or continue to drive traffic to the shop by ensuring that she didn’t let the in-store experience go by the wayside.
“The total retail experience is still the most important thing for us because whether they come in to shop or take a class, over time, we can be their go-to for kitchen tools. I have always wanted to have both because both are important,” she explained.
She has developed a recipe for success in her retail store, offering customers a unique experience filled with stories to tell about products and merchandising displays, while creating an environment that allows customers to feel relaxed and at-ease. Cahill, too, has aimed to provide the same type of experience in her cooking classes.
“We provide structure and we want them to learn something new, but we really are focused on them having fun,” she said. “We are still cautious that our classes do not turn into commercials for products because I don’t want people to show up to cook and feel like they are attending a taping for an infomercial. Our instructors are careful about what to say and want to teach our customers and that, I think, is one of the reasons we get so many frequenters.”
And while classes are known to boost sales on a regular basis, Cahill said it often helps for a literal rainy day, making it crucial that both the store component and class component remain in sync.
“There are times where it’s pouring out and it’s been a slow day, but if you have a sold out class, you know that you will have at least those people walking through your door and that’s great,” she said.