In Person: Rick Ausick's Retail Wisdom

The retail veteran shares his top tips from three decades in the business.

Rick Ausick

Rick Ausick

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The retail veteran shares his top tips from three decades in the business.

Making the most of merchandising:
“We’re moving away from having signs all over. My feeling is, if I don’t need a sign then I’ve done a good job. If customers see 10 lace-up boots in a row with a great lifestyle image, they get it: Laceups are an important look.”

Greatest lesson learned:
“We sometimes underestimate the customer. Don’t assume you can fool them with a less-than-quality store experience.”

Acing customer service:
“Part of how we win over customers is by hiring the right associates. Service is important. It’s about staying alert and offering help when needed.”

Conquering the competition:
“[To keep ahead of your competitors], you must understand who you are trying to attract and how to point the message and product to the right consumer base. You also have to build the digital side of the business adjunct to brick-and-mortar. You will create more loyalty rather than just getting buys online.”

Chasing trends:
“The secret of a good merchant is understanding how to transition from one trend to the next in a way that allows you to satisfy customers but also move them forward.”

Pricing & promotion:
“We found the [buy-one, get-one] promotion was becoming too ubiquitous. We still do BOGO, but only for back-to-school. Our [promotions] now focus on trend items or seasonal promotions, and we think more strongly about product stories at specific times during the year.”

Marketing strategy:
“It’s important to constantly redefine your mix. We’ve continued our digital campaign and eliminated all newspaper inserts. And we recently launched a new, enhanced mobile app.”

Navigating the digital revolution:
“I believe in looking at it holistically — it’s really about [your business] in total. You have your brick-and-mortar stores, you have e-commerce, you have a mobile app, and these things all have to work in concert.”

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