2018 Retail Resolutions

Our members tell us that getting one good idea can pay for your entire trip to The NAMM Show. But in reality, I believe most attendees walk away from NAMM U sessions with dozens of great ideas. The only challenge is finding time to put those ideas to use when you leave Anaheim and return to your business.

To help you get started, we’ve outlined some key areas below to focus on in the new year. Think of this as a priority list to navigate 2018. And don’t wait until the next NAMM Show to pick up more ideas. Summer NAMM, held June 28–30 at Nashville’s Music City Center, promises to offer new tips, strategies and best practices to help you grow your business. Start planning your travel now!

Map your customer’s journey. At 2017 Summer NAMM, retail futurist Doug Stephens referred to an airline that earned his business with brilliant marketing. Only when he boarded his flight, he spotted a duct-taped window—not exactly inspiring his confidence. When your customers want new musical products or services, what’s their complete experience, from their first Google search to the moment they purchase to their experience post-purchase? Where are you exceeding expectations? Where could you up your game? Walk through the entire customer experience, identify your duct-taped windows and make fixing them a goal.

Focus on voice search. A few years ago, you nailed down your search engine optimization strategy, and now you’re done, right? If only. Between Siri, Alexa and Cortana, voice search has changed the SEO game. More than ever before, consumers search for musical products and services online by asking questions and using phrases. Is your website optimized for natural language search? It’s time to give this a second look.

Consider upping your events schedule. I recently spoke with a new independent combo retailer operating in a competitive market. In its first year, the store is projected to hit $1.4 million, and it’s driving business—and traffic—largely with a bustling events series. This includes everything from manufacturer-sponsored clinics to themed sales to participation in Make Music Day. The takeaway? If you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer, you’re in the events business.

Expand your sales channels. If you’re already selling through eBay, Reverb.com and Craigslist, consider creating a Facebook store or selling through Instagram. Make purchasing easy for your customers by going where millions are already buying  and selling. 

Keep an eye on emerging technologies. If you’re a school music retailer, how will self-driving cars impact you in the future?  For brick-and-mortar operations, how can virtual and augmented reality be integrated into your showroom experience? And what new opportunities do these technologies present? New smartphones already have augmented reality technology built into their operating systems. Now’s the time  to start exploring these questions.

And keep looking for great ideas year-round at NAMM U Online,  by visiting namm.org/nammu. It’s a fantastic resource designed with you in mind.


Zach Phillips
NAMM Director of Professional Development