Look at it this way:
You are the ringmaster
You are going to look silly sometimes, but (metaphorically), you dress up in red breeches, braces and a top hat, shout “Roll up, Roll up” through a megaphone, and use over-emphasized drama and ridiculous amounts of adjectives.
This is ‘marketing’ – every bit as essential to your shop as to the circus.
You are who orchestrates the show, introduces the acts, and gets sued if anything terrible happens … You are where the buck stops.
You know that, but like the ringmaster, you have the personality and passion to keep your show going.
The performers are the products
Let’s face it, though, people don’t pay to come and see the ringmaster.
No matter how dynamic you are, you need the right products to carry it off.
Whether it’s the trapeze artists, the tightrope walkers, or the animals, every one of your products will impact different people in different ways.
There are people who won’t visit a circus with animals, and there are people who won’t support clothes made in sweatshops. However, both continue to exist.
The trapeze artists, like the high-end products, will elicit responses of not only “Wow, that’s incredible”, but also “I can’t watch” and “I could never do that”.
Don’t try to please everyone, just those who want what you sell.
The clowns are the staff
Are your staff clowns?
They probably serve the same function in your shop – they are the front line that the public interacts with.
The best staff (and circus clowns) build relationships, are good at juggling, cover for any unforeseen problems and make people laugh.
The worst of both are bad-tempered and scary!
The public is your customers
That’s kind of obvious isn’t it?
They pay money and expect a good experience.
Among them are critics, kids and (unfortunately) criminals.
When something is executed well, expect thunderous applause. Expect word of mouth to spread like wildfire. Expect to put your price up if the praise is consistently high.
But you must continue to surprise them, delight them and make them feel like it was worth it. If you don’t, they hold the keys to close your doors permanently.
Like a circus, if you aren’t exciting or unique enough you will be ignored. But if you step over the line into controversy or scandal you will not be forgiven. And, if you break the law, expect lawsuits.
Atmosphere is atmosphere, wherever you are.
Be it brass bands, the smell of hay, the stunned silence or the dimmed lights, there is a memorable atmosphere about the circus.
It is up to you to create that in your shop. Not literally, of course, but pay attention to the atmosphere: colours, lighting, sounds and smells are of utmost importance.
The worst circuses stink of mud and sweat.
The best circuses have an almost unreal feel to them – they are somewhere unlike anywhere else. Get that quality in your shop.
Your shop is the circus ring
While maybe not circular or 13 metres in diameter, your shop is very like a circus ring.
The best big tops have a fascination about them – they stand out and are instantly recognizable from the outside.
On the inside the attention is entirely focused on the performers rather than the ring itself.
Get it wrong and the whole show fails; get it right and nobody notices it.
The same applies to shopfittings, doesn’t it?