Posted by: Diane Capuano
The first edition of “Retailer to Retailer” makes its debut in Paint & Decorating Retailer’s January 2012 issue. This is a feature in which you, the retailer, share your thoughts, advice, wisdom and experience with other retailers in the industry. Each edition of “Retailer to Retailer” will include advice for retailers on how to succeed in specific product categories or how to improve their business. In the January issue, the topic is succeeding with faux-finishing sales. In the February issue, retailers share their advice on effective store displays.
“Retailer to Retailer” will also feature a “Q&A” with a member of the PDRA Board of Directors. In our January issue, we chatted with PDRA Board member Rebecca Dumas, Gregory’s Paint & Flooring, Johns Creek, Ga. Here is what she had to say.
Q: Can you provide a bit of background about you and your store?
A: My husband managed a store in 1993, then opened his own store in 1997. I left my very lucrative job selling corrugated packaging to help him in the store. I went back to school in the evenings to get an additional degree in interior design to provide services for the store. We have owned/operated an independent retail paint and decorating store for the past 15 years and still love what we do!
Q: What is it about your business that sets you apart from other paint and decorating stores in your community?
A: We have always worked hard to go above and beyond for our customers by keeping purchase histories for all of our clients, contractor and retail alike. This information always comes in handy. We can recreate formulas and know sometimes better than they do what colors are painted in their homes. We have always provided in-home color consults for interior and exterior color plans. We refer contractors and really try to match up clients with the contractor to form lasting relationships.
Q: Can you tell us about your involvement with social media? Do you tweet? Do you have a Facebook page? What are the advantages of online social networking?
A: I try to tweet when I have something important to say. I have three Facebook business pages, highlighting my different paint suppliers. I have learned a great deal through my social media exposure. It is helpful in showing you different ways to promote your business without “advertising.” I always appreciate when I learn something new and efficient and learn a lot from others.
Q: You have been instrumental in setting up PDRA’s group on LinkedIn. What are the benefits of joining LinkedIn and participating in PDRA’s group?
A: When we established the mantra “Retailer to Retailer” at our meeting in San Antonio, it seemed like the natural next step. I wanted to bring the retailers together in a forum to bounce ideas off each other and learn from one another. I always get my best ideas from talking with other independent paint store owners. We are in it together and can usually cut to the chase about great ideas because this is what we do. Even though we are in different geographical areas, we all experience some of the same types of issues. I never feel competitive with retailers in my own back yard. I want everyone to do well.
Q: Who is eligible to join PDRA’s LinkedIn Group? How do they go about joining?
A: The group is for independent retail store owners (representatives) in the paint and decorating industry (which can include wallpaper, window treatments, furniture. etc.) as well as PDRA staff.
Q: Can you describe the type of discussions that are taking place on PDRA’s LinkedIn Group?
A: We are talking about creative ideas used to increase contractor business, customer appreciation and gift ideas, advertising strategies that have worked for some, and overall bonding with each other. I have connected (via email) with other store owners across the country. This provides ideas, support and a camaraderie. It’s great to form these lasting relationships, and I look forward to meeting these retailers in person at the PDRA/National Hardware Show in Las Vegas later this year.
Q: What would you say to people who have yet to “make the plunge” into social media?
A: You can’t lose. There is no cost—just a little time investment. Another benefit I have found in the “Retailer to Retailer” movement we have created is that we can help each other by “Liking” each other’s pages, following on Twitter and connecting on LinkedIn. This support helps all of us get our numbers up and provides encouragement for each other.
Q: Any other thoughts?
A: I am excited about the things that PDRA is working on and really want to spread the word that the low cost of membership in this great organization can really boost your business in these challenging times.
PDR magazine subscribers, see the full “Retailer to Retailer” edition (starting on page 12 of the current issue) when the January 2012 issue arrives in your mailboxes soon. For information on how to participate in future editions of “Retailer to Retailer,” click here.