Lilly Stamets is the principal of Premier Retail Consulting (PRC). PRC was created 1995 to fill the requests of small and medium size specialty retailers for professional retail consulting. Lilly specializes in retail start up and turn-arounds in the healthcare, museum and university bookstores. She has run the retail services of three San Francisco Bay Area Hospital Gift Stores. Most recently she was the Manager of the Gift Stores at UCSF Medical Center.
She brings a wealth of experience in both specialty retail and corporate events to the hospital retail industry. Lilly earned a B. Sc. in Textiles and Clothing at The Ohio State University
and a Certification in Meeting Planning at San Francisco State University.
Lilly serves as the SME ("subject matter expert") for hospital gift shop members of CAHHS (California Association of Hospital and Healthcare Systems). She is a member of AHVRP where she served on the Retail Committee. She is a popular speaker at industry conferences and educational institutions.
Keeping merchandise new and fresh is the responsibility of a buyer. Don't expect word of mouth, internet or vendors to come calling with new product. Trade shows provide the most comprehensive forward look at what is fresh and new at special prices. Develop a budget and buying plan that supports your shop attending a gift show. The special show prices can often cover the expense of going to a show.
If you think e-tailers and outsourced shops are performing better than your gift shop, it is because their buyers are maximizing the benefits of gift shows. Because these shops have buyers who aren't burdened with operations, they use that time for shows and research. A buyer's success requires attending shows.
Shows provide a platform for multi-faceted research including trends, products, value, vendors and merchandising. Often shops are competing with a website that provides the customer the ability to send gifts from their couch. Perhaps that is why Internet stores are catching up with brick and mortar stores.
Experienced buyers often lack the understanding to take full benefit of what a gift show has to offer. For example, there are over fifteen ways to negotiate the price of a product with a vendor at a gift show. Many buyers don't know what they don't know about getting better values. It can often be overwhelming to shop in millions of square feet of show space and it takes expertise to navigate.
To make a gift show pay off, partner with other more experienced buyers or use a professional buyer to help with your buying plan and/or accompany you can make the show experience more rewarding and profitable. Also, if you cannot attend a show a professional buyer can go the show and represent you.
The best place to do "deep dive" research is at shows. You learn from experienced vendors, discover new product, product knowledge, merchandising concepts and trends. Meet peers to share insights as to where the industry is headed. Not only are shows informative, but also they are inspiring.