SPEAKING OF RETAIL …… 06-13-9406-13-94


Byline: G.L.

ATLANTA — T.J. Reid, former Louisiana retailer turned author, lecturer and occasional TV talk show guest, spoke to buyers at the April market on a subject she knows well: “Tootin’ your own horn,” otherwise known as generating free — or, at least, inexpensive — publicity for your store. Despite the early morning hour, Reid drew a packed house, delivering the following tips with a humorous — and decidedly Southern — slant.

Stage fashion shows with real people as models. “Don’t invite customers to eat fettucini alfredo while watching 99 pound models in size 3 clothes that they couldn’t get their leg into.”

Give free seminars to local clubs or church groups.

Use relationship marketing with local merchants, i.e., offer $1 off coupons with local dry cleaners, a free corsage from local florists.

Write a column for the local newspaper in exchange for advertising.

Offer programs for tourist groups and local hotels.

Host a radio call-in show or weekly program.

Offer turn-down service and maps at a local inn.

Hold a weekly lottery with a $100 gift certificate as the prize.

Never underestimate the value of the T-shirt, the tote bag, the litter bag, the emery board or the coupon book with your store name on it.

“In short,” said Reid, “do anything — whether it’s worthy, wonderful, weird or wacky — if it gets people inside your store.”