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  #1  
Old 11-05-2013, 07:02 PM
Lickety Britches Lickety Britches is offline
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Default Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

...Or just any helpful folk I suppose. I work at a music store in Concord NC. I am assistant manager and I kind of run the drum dept there. Within the past year or so, drum traffic has really slowed down for some reason. Right now we carry a lot of Ddrum and Gretsch kits (although we can get most brands available) and we have an abundance of nice Pearl snare drums. We've also got a wall of cymbals ranging from Wuhans to Sabian vaults and Zildjian K's. So I know it can't be the product. I figured I would come in here and maybe ask for some advice on what some of you might recommend to get some drummers in the door. I'm trying to set up a clinic with evans right now. but I figured I would see if my fellow forum members might have any ideas maybe I hadn't thought of.
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:10 PM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

At the Sam Ash store here in Phoenix they have a drum night every Monday night.
If you come in and play the drums you get a $10 gift certificate.
They have two drummers play at the same time. Kind of a drum-off.


.
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:47 PM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

As a frequenter of independent music stores and drum shops - when I can find them - I look for selection, and pricing, in that order. Although not always necessary, a knowledgable and friendly staff is a bonus. Musicians often like to hang out and chat with people in shops, and that obviously tends to encourage sales. We buy from places that we like to go.

Between the internet pricing and availability, and the still recovering economy, nobody's really doing too great these days. I see you're not far from Charlotte, so it shouldn't be hard to tap into the music community in the area. As HJim pointed out, Sam Ash hosts a Drum Club (I think 1st Monday of the month) to bring in local players. You could start something like that for local drummers, offering a discount on those nights, maybe some product demonstrations... something to build a relationship with drummers or any players in the area.

I guess that's the #1 thing - building a relationship with musicians. As I said, we buy from places we like to go. And we'll pay a little more in the process, so you don't always have to beat internet pricing. But the prices do have to be attractive, so don't expect to take advantage of a customer's loyalty.

As for selection, try and have some things that other stores in the area don't have. It's a given that you'll need Evans and Remo and Aquarian heads, but also stock Attack and Ludwig if the terms are good for the store. Give the customers some choices that they don't normally get to see. That goes for sticks and cymbals as well. Get some brands/models in that customers can't see anywhere else.

Keep parts in stock. Take used gear on consignment or trade to attract vintage and budget-minded players. Offer services like tuning, lessons, repairs. Host clinics.

The tried and true methods still aren't a guarantee of success in today's market, but you can't overlook any potential opportunities to attract customers.

Bermuda
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:56 PM
Lickety Britches Lickety Britches is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
As a frequenter of independent music stores and drum shops - when I can find them - I look for selection, and pricing, in that order. Although not always necessary, a knowledgable and friendly staff is a bonus. Musicians often like to hang out and chat with people in shops, and that obviously tends to encourage sales. We buy from places that we like to go.

Between the internet pricing and availability, and the still recovering economy, nobody's really doing too great these days. I see you're not far from Charlotte, so it shouldn't be hard to tap into the music community in the area. As HJim pointed out, Sam Ash hosts a Drum Club (I think 1st Monday of the month) to bring in local players. You could start something like that for local drummers, offering a discount on those nights, maybe some product demonstrations... something to build a relationship with drummers or any players in the area.

I guess that's the #1 thing - building a relationship with musicians. As I said, we buy from places we like to go. And we'll pay a little more in the process, so you don't always have to beat internet pricing. But the prices do have to be attractive, so don't expect to take advantage of a customer's loyalty.

As for selection, try and have some things that other stores in the area don't have. It's a given that you'll need Evans and Remo and Aquarian heads, but also stock Attack and Ludwig if the terms are good for the store. Give the customers some choices that they don't normally get to see. That goes for sticks and cymbals as well. Get some brands/models in that customers can't see anywhere else.

Keep parts in stock. Take used gear on consignment or trade to attract vintage and budget-minded players. Offer services like tuning, lessons, repairs. Host clinics.

The tried and true methods still aren't a guarantee of success in today's market, but you can't overlook any potential opportunities to attract customers.

Bermuda
Thanks so much for the reply. Our prices are usually the same as anywhere on the internet. but unfortunately there really isnt much of a REAL music scene in Charlotte. Its mostly kids in indie bands, which isn't a bad thing, I have a few of those who only shop with me, but I'm trying to get some seasoned players in.

We have stocked a crazy amount of stuff in the past. At one point we had about 130 different sku's of sticks. but they just sat because everyone was just grabbing the 5a's, 5b's, and 7a's. I always try to make suggestions and point their attention to something new they may not have seen. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

The drum night thing is an interesting concept though...
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:08 PM
Otto Otto is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

Back off thinking like a sales person for a bit...and launch into your town like you are interested in buying drum equipment.

Shop around....then ask yourself why you would buy somewhere else.

Chances are it will be price.

If you find your prices are superior (from the vantage point of the consumer) then the answer is probably "the buyers dont know about you" or "you are not located in a great spot for when I need small things".

Last big item I bought was online(an Axis X Longboard Double Pedal - $600.00 or so..) which might be eating your bottom line....

Does your store have an on-line presence as easy to order from as the other big retailers?...and maybe perks for local purchasers...like same day delivery?...or on site delivery(would be great to order a replacement head and have it delivered to the gig)

...basic marketing ideas.
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  #6  
Old 11-05-2013, 10:25 PM
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wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

Besides clinics and seminars, the stores around here have 'how to' type things - how to tune your drums, how to mic your drums, how to pick a drum kit, how to pick cymbals, and so on.
One store also does a 'drum circle' jam type thing for all ages.

These are mostly all slow starters that will rely a bit on word of mouth. Something like Jim mentioned can be done on an on going basis without becoming quickly saturated.
Involvement without hard sell tactics goes over well.

It sounds like you're after in-store foot traffic. In the internet age, people can shop prices and availability without ever leaving home.

About your title - I don't work at a music store.

.
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  #7  
Old 11-05-2013, 10:33 PM
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groove1 groove1 is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

I'm fortunate to live near a fantastic 5 Star drum shop.....and sadly have to say that I know
that business has been down this past year...the economy continues to hurt very many
in our society...spending is still down except for essentials.

Some local guitar shops have closed. Best Buy....a huge retailer...has cut back on in store
display merchandise etc. I live in the US midwest.
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  #8  
Old 11-05-2013, 11:44 PM
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JustJames JustJames is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

Whatever you have to sell, somebody will always be selling it cheaper.

In this day and age, that somebody is prolly a web retailer. You need to identify ways to swim against the "race to the bottom".

Hollywood Jim and Bermuda have hinted at what you need to do to out-flank price competition: offer a level of service and a range of services that can't be delivered by internet.

Back it up with an active social media presence. Encourage customers to interact with your store via Facebook/Twitter/blog.

If you're in a mall, look at hosting a band competition in a public area of the mall. If you're not in a mall, what about using a community hall for the event?

To be viable as a bricks and mortar store, I believe you need to be "close" to your customers, to the point where they want to deal with you even though they know they can find stuff cheaper online.
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  #9  
Old 11-06-2013, 12:58 AM
Catharticus Rex Catharticus Rex is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

I'm glad that you mentioned sticks. While many drummers tend to make large purchases online, the majority still buy sticks locally and having a large stick selection is a big help in building customer loyalty. 70% of all sticks sold in the US every year are size 5A or some derivative thereof, but there's always that one guy who's looking for something outside the norm and it's a good idea to offer choices, even if they don't turn as fast as the typical 5A & 5B's do. Having a large stick selection is something of a double edged sword, in that you have a lot of money tied up in slow moving inventory, but if you don't have the big selection you can get a reputation for being a shop that doesn't stock very much. That alone will kill you these days. Even if drummers don't use 100 different sizes, they like the idea of having options.

Try hosting a "Stick Tasting" event every couple of months. Order a few pairs of half a dozen models you don't stock and invite drummers in on a weekday evening to demo them out. Hit up your reps for some giveaways like T shirts, stickers, etc so you can swag the players that come in. You'll eat X amount of money on the demo sticks, but you build a lot of good will and develop a reputation for being a drummer friendly store.
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  #10  
Old 11-06-2013, 01:11 AM
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wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lickety Britches View Post

.... I'm trying to get some seasoned players in....

OK - maybe disregard my previous post then. Pretty sure seasoned players know what they want, and where to get it.
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  #11  
Old 11-06-2013, 02:21 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

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Originally Posted by wildbill View Post
OK - maybe disregard my previous post then. Pretty sure seasoned players know what they want, and where to get it.
The seasoned players can also be the most loyal ones. Stocking the things they normally have to order or have a hard time finding locally, will endear them to the store. The price doesn't absolutely have to beat the best internet price, being reasonably competitive is sufficient. If sticks are $7/pair online, and you really can't meet that price, I doubt anyone will squawk at $7.50-8.00/pair for the pleasure of checking straightness and matching weights in person. Same with heads, whether they're common or not. Make sure you always have the most popular sizes and types in stock.

Once your store becomes known for always having what the customers want, you'll gain their loyalty.

Bermuda
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  #12  
Old 11-06-2013, 04:05 AM
Smoke Smoke is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

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Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
Back it up with an active social media presence. Encourage customers to interact with your store via Facebook/Twitter/blog.
One of our local music stores in Lansing, MI, USA advertises their used equipment on CL. Sort of maddening if I'm trolling for bargains, but they occasionally have some too.

If nothing else, it's cheap advertising...
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  #13  
Old 11-06-2013, 07:02 AM
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Zickos Zickos is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

My wife an I own a retail store (candy and gifts) and one thing we do is try to get everyone on our email list. We try to get everyone to "like us on facebook" an my wife posts several times a day about new items coming in the store. We also get everyone's birthday and send them a gift certificate in their birthday month good for that month only. I like the idea of clinics and hands on demos for music stores, too.
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  #14  
Old 11-06-2013, 06:10 PM
Lickety Britches Lickety Britches is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

Wow thank you guys for the responses. I know for a fact we go above and beyond for our customers. Just last week I sold a Bose L1 system because the guy was on the fence and I said "let me bring it out to your show and you can try it out." which no online retailer is going to do. we do a lot of free demos and stuff like that and free consultations for churches and what not. I'm truly not too worried about the customer service part. My biggest thing is the loyalty. I have some customers that love coming to the store and they like talking to me and whatnot, yet they still go to GC if they have a good price on something without even checking to see if I can beat it.
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:57 PM
Catharticus Rex Catharticus Rex is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lickety Britches View Post
.... I have some customers that love coming to the store and they like talking to me and whatnot, yet they still go to GC if they have a good price on something without even checking to see if I can beat it.
Get used to that, because it's not going to change.

99% of new product at GC is marked at MAP, and the same is true for most independents. What GC does and has done successfully for many years is to create the perception through heavy advertising that they're cheaper, even when they usually aren't, so many drummers just assume they are and don't spend the extra few minutes to check.

I wouldn't take it personally. Sometimes customers want to take advantage of SAC financing, sometimes they just happen to be on that side of town when they remember they need something. All you can do is take care of every customer, create a great store environment, and be competitive on price. Advertise when you can, stock as much as you can, and the rest is up to the customer.
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:08 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

Personally, I'd like to see the big box stores run clinics that are designed to improve players. For instance, spearhead a clinic whose purpose it is to teach drummers how to play with other musicians. I would invite a good guitarist and a bass player and let drummers get up with them and play. Then have an open discussion about what worked and what didn't work with the drummer. Then rotate the drummer and repeat. That would be really helpful.

I don't know how well that would translate into sales, but you have to get people through the door first. Give them something valuable that they can't get online. Perhaps if you say that with 50 dollar purchase, they are eligible to attend these classes. That might work well.
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  #17  
Old 11-07-2013, 04:11 AM
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DrumEatDrum DrumEatDrum is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

I've been in, out and around drum retail a long time. I can't imagine the difficulty now. Not only do you have the box stores, and the internet, but now you also have small manufactures offering faux-endorsments, and bypassing the retail environment completely.

Bermuda hit on the head: The #1 thing - building a relationship with musicians. Find out what your customers want.

Maybe it's a special stick that one guy wants, or a different head. I used to do this a lot for clients. Sometimes management would ask why I was ordering an obscure stick size, but I'd say hey, I've got a guy who will buy 2 pairs a week from me if I keep them in stock. OK, that isn't much, but 2 pairs of sticks leads to some heads, maybe some hardware, and so one and so forth. I had another guy who told me what the Latin Players in the area really wanted over what had in stock. Again, I got a bit of heat for ordering so much obscure brand stuff, but it would fly off the shelves when I could get it.

On the flip side, just like you keep 5as ans 5bs because they sell the best, don't forget that applies to heads and cymbals. Obscure hand hammered cymbals from Turkey might seem cool to have on the wall, but most buyers buy basic Zildjian A's and Sabian AAs.

Another key is identify what you are as a store. Are you where the pros shop? Are you the best beginner place for miles? Can you back that up? One place I worked tried so hard to appeal to everyone that in reality he appealed to no one because there wasn't enough of any one type of item to lure people in. People want to compare and contrast, not see that you have one of every musical instrument ever made.

Does your place offer lessons? That keeps up foot traffic.

One aspect I see so many smaller shops drop the ball on is: Is the store clean? Free of dust? Does it invite people in? Or does it like like a dusty old attic? Are the posters on the wall new and exciting or the ones that have been there since 1984? (seriously there is place near me that has faded old poster from the 80's on the wall).

Is the inventory sorted in a way that makes sense or is the pro stuff mixed in with the beginner stuff? There is place across the street from my office that has $50 guitars hanging next to $500 guitars, and it makes no sense to anyone looking. Which also explains why outside of guitar students, no one ever goes in there. There should be a logical flow from low to high.
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  #18  
Old 11-07-2013, 07:39 PM
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Zickos Zickos is offline
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Default Re: Looking for advice from fellow music store employees

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Personally, I'd like to see the big box stores run clinics that are designed to improve players. For instance, spearhead a clinic whose purpose it is to teach drummers how to play with other musicians. I would invite a good guitarist and a bass player and let drummers get up with them and play. Then have an open discussion about what worked and what didn't work with the drummer. Then rotate the drummer and repeat. That would be really helpful.

I don't know how well that would translate into sales, but you have to get people through the door first. Give them something valuable that they can't get online. Perhaps if you say that with 50 dollar purchase, they are eligible to attend these classes. That might work well.
Man, I'd to to that clinic in a heartbeat.
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