If I were single with no children I would manage my own retail location along a beach. I have managed other tourist locations in other places, but there is nothing quite like a beach, especially one with a nearby cruise terminal. I remember when I was a store level manager we always held our conference calls on my days off, but I was fine with that. I would drive the thirty minutes to the Galveston shore, lay out on the beach and place my phone on speaker, work is so much more enjoyable in paradise. I’ve heard many other managers complain about the high cost of living and food when you run a tourist location, and the insanely boring seasons of no tourism in the colder months, but for me it would all be worth it for these 10 simple reasons:
1. Insanely crowded all days of the week. You don’t have to wait for a Saturday for business to pick up, instead each day is like Christmas. It’s difficult to stir the customers with a stick, you are constantly moving replenishing shelves, talking to customers, and ringing up sales. Everyday has an insane earning potential, which makes every day that much more exciting to challenge yourself and your staff to beat out the day before, or your personal best day ever.
2. Tourist locations make for more opportunities to have personable conversations with my customers. Everyone is here on an adventure, and “where are you from,” is a great personal opening line. It is great to collect the places, and collect the faces. To learn how all the tourists from North Carolina act and speak one way, while the tourists from Arizona act and look completely different. Another great question, “what brings you to our island or oasis?” All of these questions not only make the customer feel special, but helps you to make and maintain that personal connection that is necessary to best help our customer (and to remember that they are people not checkbooks).
3. Customers are in the spending mood. While in a mall location you have the same customers day in and day out just there to pass the time and window shop, in a tourist location everyone is looking for something special to take home from this ‘once in a lifetime’ experience. They not only want for themselves but for their family and friends. This makes it super simple to help them out since customers have a little better idea of what they are wanting to spend. I remember once in Sedona a customer was so excited to be purchasing her souvenirs at our store that I actually hit a point where I was trying to slow her down on her spending once we hit a very high dollar amount.
4. Customers are (for the most part) more easy going. Sure you have the occasional overwhelmed mom, or stressed out professional on vacation, but for the most part everyone is just that, on vacation. The idea is to remain relaxed so your customers can feed off of your own energy.
5. You are living somewhere amazing. On yours days off you can ride your bicycle along the beach. You have somewhere worth visiting for your friends and family. Each day you can be busy with area tourist destinations, and kept busy with fun activities provided by the townspeople. Be sure to take it all in. Go snorkeling/diving, surfing, take a duck tour, visit any amusement parks, etc.
6. Much improved breaks. While working at the mall my views at break time were dumpsters or a food court of the same nauseating food day in and day out. Imagine sitting down for your 15 minute break with your iced chai tea and staring out over the ocean. It is much easier to collect your cool from a stressful situation watching the tide roll in.
7. Quality Lifestyle. Islanders know how to relax, and living among them will create a far less stressful atmosphere. Hammocks, Caribbean music, your favorite book, and bare feet in the sand will definitely lower blood pressure quicker than the high energy of city living. Time slows down there, priorities are relaxation over deadlines. Your entire surrounding community is far more relaxed.
8. Always New People to Meet. Though I’m always smitten with my regulars, tourist locations make for a new set of people to get to know each and everyday, while still providing you with that amazing familiarity with the locals, who you should definitely offer a special discount to so they keep returning to your shop.
9. More Product Production. Because there is such a large flow of all types of customers day in and day out this makes it so that you can have a huge variety of products, and really have over the top fun with your displays. You want to merchandise in such a way that you really surround your customers with the feel of the island, and make them feel even further transported into the Caribbean or other tropical destination. You can hang product from the ceilings, play loud music including the genres of Calypso and Reggae, and make extravagant window displays to stand out from the rest of the shopping strand. Let your freedom soar in the appearance and feel of your shop. Be sure to keep your store looking clean and clutter free though at all times.
10. Cut loose with your Customers. When you are in a tourist location you have a bit more freedom to have fun with your customers, and take professionalism down just a notch or two (never lose it altogether, you are still a leader first). Remember my discussing conga lines through the aisles in the past? You want to make sure that the upbeat and relaxed atmosphere of the island is emphasized in your shop, making it a place customers want to hang out and return over and over again.
What would be your dream location to run a shop (or just live), and why?