5 Ways to Connect with Other Retailers

A business owner connecting with other retailers online

Cris Willis

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Do you feel like you’re in this alone?  Do you ever wish you could ask a group of peers about a line or a product or ask about a marketing idea to see if anyone has already done it?  You can learn from what others have done, and they can learn from you.

Think of all that you know about retail and the successes you have had. You are valuable.  You have so much to give and so do others. Retail is not getting any easier, and we all have to work together.

Don’t Be Business Lonely.

Here are tips that I used in my 27 years as a retail store owner.

Join a Buying Group or Trade Association Group

Seek out others in your industry and work together.  These types of groups offer many perks like

  • Discounts and dating with vendors
  • Professional Services deals with credit card processing, shipping, and more.
  • Marketing Services with catalogs, social media, e-commerce, direct mail, and more.
  • Exclusive products and direct importing

But, one of the best reasons to join a group is for community.  Become an active member of the group and share your knowledge and ask your questions.  Listen when others share their knowledge and insights, and be sure to attend as many meetings and educational seminars put on by the group as possible.

Most groups have active private Facebook groups and email groups.  Participate, Participate, Participate!  You will get out of this membership what you put into it.

Join a Retail Facebook page

Besides working with other store owners in the same industry, look for creative retail ideas outside your industry.  One great private retail page to follow is the WhizBang! Retailers Facebook page.  This group has over 5,000 business owners in all kinds of retail that actively participate in many discussions on all sorts of retail topics every day.  Every retail store owner should join to connect, share and ask questions.  Click Here to join this group.

Join a Mastermind Group or start one

Joining or forming a small group of like-minded retail store owners and meeting regularly will help challenge you, inspire you, teach you, and often get you out of the rut you seem to be stuck in.  Do you keep doing the same things and wondering why you see the same results?  Find a small group to join or start your own.

Here are some suggestions

  • Ask your friends in retail if they would like to commit to a 6 to 8 week Retail Small Group. You can facilitate it and meet on Zoom.  Set up a weekly meeting day and time.  Meet for just 1 hour a week.  Set an agenda for the time and stick to it.  People are more likely to join a short-term group to see if they like it.  At the end of the 6 to 8 weeks, those who like it can decide to keep meeting once a week or move it to once a month for 2 hours.  You will find that this time sharing with other retailers will motivate you and move your business forward faster than that hour spent multitasking in your store.
  • Join a Mastermind Group that is already started. Several of the WhizBang! Training Certified Retail Coaches offer monthly Mastermind Groups.  My Mastermind Group meets once a month for 2 hours.  There is no long-term commitment.  Come and try it out.  For more information, reach me at cwillis@retailclarity.com or click here to book a FREE 20-minute Strategy Session.

Hire a Coach

When someone is looking to push themselves to get better at something and have someone hold them accountable to reach their goals, they hire a coach.  Athletes do it, people wanting to get healthy and/or in better physical shape do it, actors and musicians do it, and so do business people.  Have you ever considered hiring a retail coach to help you push through a problem area, help you see your business through a new lens, or inspire you to keep moving forward?

Click here to see all of the WhizBang! Certified Retail Coaches.  You can learn more about each one and find out how to contact them

**Hint – I am close to the bottom of the page.  The curse of the last name starting with a “W.”

Follow Blogs for Inspiration and Retail News

You can never know everything.  Decide to be a lifelong learner and plan time into your day/week to read, study and learn.  Find some blogs, books, and/or youtube channels to follow to inspire you and keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening in your industry.

Here are just a few that I have followed; check them out for yourself.

WhizBang! Training Blog

Vend Blog

Shopify Blog

Kizer & Bender’s Retail Adventures

National Retail Federation

Retail Minded


Don’t try to go it alone. Retail is hard enough as it is.  Your friends and family that are not in retail will just not understand.  Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road.  You need to talk to, share with, and learn from others who are going through or have been through what you’re dealing with.

Don’t be Business Lonely. Find a group (large or small), join, and participate.  You’ll be glad you did!

Cris Willis

Cris is a business coach for independent retailers. With 25 years of experience owning and operating a family business, she now guides retail owners to make smarter decisions regarding inventory management, marketing, sales training, product assortment, and more. When not at work, she loves to travel the country with her husband in their motorhome.

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