Ep. 215 What I Learned From The 2024 Savvy Shopkeeper Survey

From plugging your retail profit leaks to scaling your indie retail business, this year’s Savvy Shopkeeper survey covered a bit of everything. 

I’m excited to share the results with you, especially because it might show you what’s possible for your store. 

I’m also sharing how you can attend my upcoming masterclass, Stop The Drip. In this two-hour class, you’ll learn how to identify and plug the retail profit leaks you’re experiencing in your indie retail business using my Retail Profit Pie tool. There are just 50 spots available, so be sure to grab yours ASAP if you want to attend.

Read on to explore one of my favorite data sets—the Savvy Shopkeeper survey results!—and learn more about the Stop The Drip masterclass.


Earlier this year, I asked the Savvy Shopkeeper community to complete my semi-annual survey. The survey helps me learn more about the independent retailers I serve, and I am always so grateful for the time and effort respondents put into it!

Fewer shopkeepers took the survey than in years past. My guess is that some of you opted out because I asked more specific financial questions. Asking these questions really helps me understand all of you. 

When I announced the survey in episode 207, I also gave tips on surveying customers in your store. One of those tips was especially important when I reviewed your responses to this year’s survey: be prepared for whatever may come your way. 

The same person chose to complete the survey 24 times to win a gift card to the Shopkeeper’s Marketplace. Unfortunately, I had to spend extra time scrubbing the data and removing these duplicate entries so I could have accurate results. Needless to say, this person was NOT given a chance to win the gift card.

Congratulations to Master Shopkeepers member Cyndi of Bayside Gallery for winning the gift card! 

Let’s dive into the results of this year’s survey.

retail profit leaks

Who Responded and How Much Revenue They’re Bringing In

I always enjoy reading through the survey results, and this year was no exception! It’s fascinating to see who is part of the Savvy Shopkeeper community and learn about your stores.

A Wide Range of Store Types

Approximately half of the store owners who responded to the survey have a gift and/or home decor store. The other 50% covered a wide range of store types, including apparel, lifestyle, vintage, antique, hobby, toy, outdoor gear, quilt, party, souvenir, yarn shops, and more.

Stores That Are Going the Distance and Staying Open

53% of the respondents have been open for more than 5 years, which is a little bit more than the last survey I ran in 2022. I was thrilled to see this result! We’ve all heard how difficult it is to keep a retail store running. If you’re in the 53% that have made it five entire years, that’s worth celebrating!

Revenue, Profit, and Average Order Value

I asked a lot of questions about revenue and profit in this year’s survey. More than half of the respondents chose to leave a comment about their revenue, profit, or both.

Many comments ranged from “I’m grateful for my revenue, growth, and profit” to more general comments about wanting to generate more revenue and cutting expenses to increase profit margins. It was all fascinating to read.

18% of the respondents generate more than $500k in revenue, which is slightly less than in previous survey years.

The median average order value was $47.15. I didn’t ask this in previous surveys and there was a WIDE range of responses, so I went with the median instead of the average. With the median, you get rid of the really low responses and the high ones, and then you average everything out.

Respondents Are Listening to and Learning From the Savvy Shopkeeper Podcast

Almost every respondent listens to the podcast! Thank you so much for listening and being part of this community. 

The Shopkeeper Stages and Your Dreams of Scaling

Next, respondents told me what stage of their shopkeeper journey they’re currently in. 80% of you are in stage 3 or higher! I appreciated that nearly all respondents knew which stage they were in, especially since this is a fairly new framework that I’m continuing to develop.

What It Means to Scale

More than half of the respondents indicated they are interested in learning more about Stage 6, The Scaling Retailer. 

In episode 175, I talked about growing versus scaling a retail business. I explained that opening multiple locations doesn’t necessarily mean you’re scaling a retail business. 

Instead, scaling means your revenue grows exponentially while your operating expenses remain the same or don’t increase substantially. 

For example, let’s say a store owner owns their building and has a retail store in their building. They then start manufacturing a handmade product. They make, sell, and ship this product from the same building. 

By using the same space rather than renting or buying a new one, they keep their expenses relatively low but drastically increase their revenue with this new income stream.

You can learn more about this and other ways to scale in episode 175. I’m sure I’ll talk more about scaling a retail business in the future too.

Where You Get Your Merchandise

Speaking of making your own products, 14% of respondents do so. Another 10% of respondents provide a service.

75% of the respondents attend markets to buy products for their stores. More than half buy from Faire’s online markets, followed by AmericasMart, Vegas, and NY NOW.

What Retail-Focused Education Store Owners Are Asking For

This year, I asked respondents to identify what type of retail education would make the most impact. The options for this question didn’t cover every aspect of a retail business, but they did cover the specific areas that I can help you with, such as time management, profit, finances, and systems. 

Nearly 80% of respondents said that planning and working ahead would make the most impact. 

While I didn’t expect that to be the top result, it does make sense. That’s why the Savvy Shopkeeper Digital Planner resonates with this community—it’s designed to help you plan and work ahead! 

It didn’t come as a surprise that “marketing” was typed in the “other” field multiple times, too. 

When I asked about your struggles, the top 5 responses validated why I do what I do. One response may have inspired a future in-person event, so be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for more information on that! 

retail profit leaks

How Shopkeepers Are Thriving…

When I asked what your strengths are, the following areas came up again and again: customer service, experience, product selection, store displays, brand uniqueness, your teams, and reputation. I especially loved reading how much some of you gushed about your teams when responding to this question!

How Women Store Owners Beat Themselves Up About Their Finances

71% of respondents said they were pleased with—OR feel like they’re getting where they want to be—with revenue. This is much better than past surveys.

I recently shared on social media how women historically had to have a MALE co-signer when looking to fund a business until the Women’s Business Ownership Act was passed in 1988. YES, 1988. 

The response on both Facebook and Instagram was more than I usually get on a post, and it’s because many of you didn’t know about this Act. 

Here is what I said in the post:

The Women’s Business Ownership Act (WBOA) of 1988 prohibited state laws that required women to secure a male relative as their co-signer on business loans.

Yes, 1988!!

I often think of 2 things when I think about this Act:

1) I see how much women entrepreneurs beat themselves up for not understanding business concepts, for not “doing better,” for not knowing more, for struggling with the financials, [insert whatever you beat yourself up about].

I am not looking to be a victim or to make you a victim, however, the reality is we as women weren’t nurtured or taught how to be business owners until recently. Yes, it’s been almost 4 decades (since the Act passed in 1988) but we’re centuries behind.

2) When a landlord tells you that your husband (who is NOT your business partner) has to sign the lease too, question it.

Now go be the badass business owner you are. ❤

So why am I mentioning this? Because I’m finding women shopkeepers struggle with finances—but even more than that, they beat themselves up mentally for NOT understanding it all. 

Our minds can be brutal, but you have to give yourself some grace in this area. While men have been taught and nurtured to be business owners, women have NOT. But it doesn’t mean we can’t learn, and it doesn’t mean we can’t be savvy shopkeepers. We sure can! 

…And How They Want to Improve

While many shopkeepers felt like they were at or getting to where they wanted to be with revenue, the same question regarding profit was a different story. 

57% said they’re pleased with or feel like they’re getting where they want to be with their profit, which was lower than in years past.

We spent a lot of time talking about finances in Master Shopkeepers last month. I hosted a month-long weekly Zoom series called March Metrics. Part of what resulted from March Metrics was how members started thinking about cash flow more. If you’re consistently talking about profit and your metrics, it naturally leads you to think about all the cash that comes in and out of your business.

Plug Your Retail Profit Leaks in My New Masterclass, Stop the Drip

With Savvy Shopkeeper’s tagline being “Work Smarter, Profit More, and Grow,” yes, I focus on profit. 

To be clear, I don’t focus on profit because it defines the success of a business. Understanding why you are or aren’t profitable is a crucial step toward cash flow success, though!

That’s why I’m hosting a new Zoom class called Stop the Drip. The goal of this masterclass is for you to understand exactly why and where your business is leaking profit. 

Masterclass Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 1-3 PM EST

Cart Close Date:  Sunday, April 14, 2024 at 8 PM EST (or when it sells out, whichever comes first)

Replay Access: 60 days

One step in mastering cash flow is understanding WHY your business is or isn’t profitable. Every retail profit drip is money going down the drain. Sure, one drip doesn’t seem like a big deal—but over time, it can add up to a serious profit leak! 

As much as I’d like to say cash flow in an indie retail business is simple and involves a singular metric or number, that’s just not the case. It involves much more; however, plugging your retail profit leaks is a fantastic place to start.

Just like fixing a drippy faucet, finding and fixing your retail profit leaks is crucial. Ignore the leaks, and you’re letting your hard-earned cash and EFFORT slip away. 

Are you pricing to succeed? Are you paying too much in rent? Are you overspending? Are you over-hiring or are you under-staffed (this could explain why you’re exhausted!)? These are all questions that you’ll learn how to answer when you take this class.

To take this class, you need to have a 12-month profit and loss statement. You don’t have to send your income statement to me, you just need to have it for the class. 

You’ll receive my Retail Profit Pie Google Sheet tool to copy. I will walk you through how to use it and more importantly, how to understand what it’s telling you using your OWN numbers from your P&L! 

For the first round of this class, I’m offering an introductory price of $39 (regularly $79) and I’m only opening up 50 spots. I want to make sure that I can answer questions in a small group setting. Next time I offer this masterclass, the price will increase and I’ll consider opening up more spots. 

If you’re a Master Shopkeepers member, you are welcome to sign up! However, you already have access to the Retail Profit Pie tool and multiple lessons on the Retail Profit Pie in The Lab, all included in your membership. 

If you have any questions about this class, please DM me on Instagram or send an email to me and my team at hello@savvyshopkeeper.com

Thank You for Taking the 2024 Savvy Shopkeeper Survey!

If you took the time to complete this year’s survey, THANK YOU. I so appreciate it. 

I share the results because store owners often tell me they feel lonely on this journey. I hope sharing some of this insight helps you see that you are NOT alone and that many store owners experience the same things as you do! I hope you feel validated in what you’re experiencing (and empowered by what’s possible, too).

Resources

  • Sign up for my new masterclass, Stop the Drip! It’s happening live on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, from 1-3 PM EST. You’ll learn how to identify and plug the retail profit leaks you’re experiencing in your indie retail business using my Retail Profit Pie tool. There are just 50 spots, so be sure to grab yours ASAP.
  • This episode is brought to you by the Savvy Shopkeeper Quiz. Find out what stage of your retail journey you’re in & get a retail roadmap with curated resources to help you along the way. 
  • Free resource: Valuable Data to Collect for Your Brick and Mortar Store

Timestamps

  • [02:56] Who Responded and How Much Revenue They’re Bringing In
  • [05:55] The Shopkeeper Stages and Your Dreams of Scaling
  • [10:48] What Retail-Focused Education Store Owners Are Asking For
  • [12:33] How Shopkeepers Are Thriving…
  • [17:13] …And How They Want to Improve
  • [18:38] Plug Your Retail Profit Leaks in My New Masterclass, Stop the Drip
  • [23:36] Thank You for Taking the 2024 Savvy Shopkeeper Survey!

Connect With Kathy

Kathy Cruz is an Independent Retail Coach who helps store owners work smarter, profit more, and grow their brick and mortar businesses. 

Connect with Kathy and learn more here:

Website: www.savvyshopkeeper.com 
Instagram: @savvyshopkeeper
Mastermind Group: Master Shopkeepers

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