Press Release

Christian Retailers Enjoy A Successful Season

The Parable Group, a leading marketing agency for the Christian product industry, announced today that Christmas sales were up for the Christian retailers they serve with print/digital promotions. Collectively, November and December sales were up 0.9%. A key piece of that increase was Thanksgiving week—when sales groupwide increased 3.2%—with 68% of their partner stores seeing greater sales than 2016.

“Over the past few years new and emerging technology has transformed the way customers shop. But many savvy Christian retailers, committed to serving their local communities, are investing in themselves—in products, stores, marketing, data and technology. These Christmas sales numbers are very encouraging—there’s real hope and a future for Christian retail,” said Steve Potratz, President of The Parable Group.

To attract new customers and re-engage existing customers over the Christmas 2017 season, The Parable Group of Christian retailers used coordinated print catalogs and in-store signage as a promotional foundation and layered in various digital marketing tactics, like email and social media advertising.

Over 6 million emails were sent to customers from The Parable Group on behalf of retailers during November/December, representing a mix of mass weekly emails and highly targeted emails based on customer purchase history. Additionally, various Facebook campaigns reached nearly 950,000 people in November/ December on behalf of participating stores. These social media campaigns served over 3.7 million impressions to geo-targeted Christian consumer audiences.

Christian retailers also utilized tools on ParableConnect, the 24/7 information hub, to ensure they stayed in-stock of promoted products.

“We’re happy to see positive numbers and sales increases again. While not every Christian retailer has turned around, this suggests that more gains can be achieved. Retailers who can adjust and incorporate print and digital marketing touchpoints, backed by data, are likely going to be successful in 2018,” said Potratz.

Christian Retailers Embrace The Power Of Data

With retail data analytics emerging as a key tool to boost business and profits, Christian retailers widely embraced the technology in 2017. The Parable Group, a leading marketing agency and CBA’s exclusive data collection partner, announced that an astounding 80% of the 367 stores they serve participate in data.

The Parable Group now collects and monitors retail sales information from 290 Christian retailers (including Covenant, Munce, Logos and Parable stores), church stores, Catholic stores, and unaffiliated stores across the US and Canada.

“It’s an exciting time for Christian retailers—technology and retail data analytics initiatives are generating real value that translates into increased customer loyalty, a better customer experience and higher revenue,” said Erik Ernstrom, Manager of Business Intelligence for The Parable Group.

The Parable Group data service is designed to meet retailers’ specific competitive data needs. Some participating retailers view data analytics, graphs and reports on ParableConnect daily—to monitor sales by category, identify trends, better target customers, improve stock-turn and stock management, and increase profit. Other participating retailers, just starting out on their data journey, utilize the free Cross:Scan bestsellers lists to improve inventory.

“We’re encouraged to see the number of stores participating in data programs continue to increase—everything from Get It Local Today, to Cross:Scan, to wanting help with their catalog mailings. As our industry continues to come together, we can only get stronger,” said Ernstrom.

For additional information, please contact:
Erik Ernstrom
(805) 329-4005
erik.ernstrom@parable.com

 

HarperCollins Christian Gives Independent Christian Retailers A Big Boost

To support the successful health and growth of independent brick-and-mortar retailers in the Christian industry, HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) and The Parable Group have deepened their relationship in recent months giving retailers an added boost.

Randy Ross, Sales and Marketing Specialist for The Parable Group said, “In the aftermath of Family Christian Stores closures, we’re delighted to see several publishers extending additional support and fresh collaborative ideas to help independent Christian retailers thrive. HarperCollins Christian, in particular, is stepping up in unprecedented ways.”

Not only is HarperCollins Christian Publishing supporting nearly 90% of The Parable Group Summer Catalog which celebrates “independents” and shopping local, HCCP also provided postage for stores to mail deeper into their customer list. All participating stores increased their catalog distribution, and 10 stores added the summer promotion due to HCCP’s generosity.

“Summer is typically a slower time for retail, but this summer promotion should reinvigorate sales and traffic with tremendous savings on bestselling Thomas Nelson and Zondervan titles,” said Ross.

Additionally, HarperCollins Christian funded a graduation postcard program to drive church traffic to Christian retail this year. The Parable Group sent over 8,000 postcards to churches and schools on behalf of participating retailers—HCCP covered the printing, postage and bulk buy offer on select grad titles.

“Christian retail is the backbone of our industry,” said Dan VanGorp, Director of Independent Retail for HarperCollins Christian Publishers. “Retailers work hard every day to balance the ministry and business aspects of their stores. We consider it a great privilege to come alongside these retailers, who are committed to growing the Kingdom of God, through the resources that we’re able to provide. We don’t take that relationship for granted.”

To view the digital version of The Parable Group Summer Catalog, click here.

A Complete Solution for Christian Retailers

A Complete Solution For Christian Retailers

Serving Independent Christian Stores for over 30 years

The calling…

If you’re considering opening a Christian retail store, the opportunity that awaits you is a calling. Owning a Christian retail store is a blend of both ministry and business. The work is hard, but extremely gratifying. The measure of success is found in knowing that you have impacted the Kingdom of God as much as seeing your business grow.

The model…

We’re dedicated to serving you in our efforts to expand the Kingdom of God. We have proven leadership in the Christian retail industry for over 30 years and our experienced team is focused on providing you the best technology and tools to continue for the next 30 years and beyond!

We provide customized retail support in the following areas:

  • Store Development
    • Cost-effective approach to the design and build out of your store
    • Interior layout, fixtures and inventory recommendations
  • Full-Service Marketing Solutions
    • Print and email promotions
    • Ecommerce partnerships
    • Data-based marketing to cut costs and optimize sales
    • Data-based inventory support
    • In-store signage and merchandising
  • Operations Support
    • Start-up and continued training in retail best practices
    • One-on-one business coaching

Plus, we pass on marketing and merchandising savings to you by capitalizing on the economies of scale that only large group volume can provide. And, by focusing on the customer, we help you develop an atmosphere that serves as a haven of Christ’s love.

The result…

Small business is the mainstay of the American economy, not to mention the Great American Dream. But for many, making a small business a success can be a challenge. The beauty of tapping into our Christian retail expertise is that you’re going into business for yourself – but not by yourself!  We’re here to help with systems, best practices and techniques that have supported Christian Retailers for over three decades.
 

What does a Christian retailer look like?The ideal candidate desires to serve God and their community by creating a safe place for people to gather and find resources to grow in their faith. In addition:

  • Previous experience in a retail arena
  • Four-year college education, and/or other business experience
  • Willingness to work hard as the owner/operator of a retail store

Discover how our a la carte services can help you.

 
 
Jeff Bruenning - The Parable GroupFor additional information, please contact:
Jeff Bruenning
(800) 366-6031
jeff.bruenning@parable.com

The Parable Store In Arroyo Grande Is Under New Ownership

As of January 1st, The Parable store in Arroyo Grande, CA is under the ownership of experienced Christian bookstore owners Dave and Heather Wilke. The pair purchased the 2,600 square-foot store from longtime owners Steve and Laurie Potratz, who have operated it since 1981.

“It’s been a tremendous privilege for Laurie and me to serve the people and churches of the Central Coast for the past 36 years. We have built lifetime relationships that have richly blessed us and, most importantly, resourced Christians with products that helped them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ and with others. We are so thankful for this community and the support they have given us. The Wilkes share our passion and vision for serving our community and I can’t think of anyone better to run the store and carry on its legacy,” said Steve.

The Wilkes have 40 years of experience in the Christian bookstore industry. They owned and operated seven Christian bookstores in the Los Angeles area. Dave Wilke has also worked in Christian publishing with roles at Gospel Light and David C. Cook. Heather has already been serving as The Parable’s general manager for the past year and they are both eagerly reentering retail store ownership.

“We are most excited about being a part of God’s plan to have Bibles that bring truth and books that bring hope and comfort and gifts that glorify God to those living on the Central Coast,” Heather said.

The sale is also an opportunity for Steve to transition into focusing more energy on his other business, The Parable Group. This multi-service marketing agency serves a variety of Christian organizations including Christian publishers, retailers, churches, non-profits, film studios and more. The Parable will remain one of his clients along with hundreds of other retail stores across the country.

This is the store’s 48th year in operation. It opened around 1969 as KT’s Bible Bookstore on Chorro St. until Jan Ulman bought it in 1973 and renamed it Jan’s Bible Bookstore. It became The Parable in 1981 when Steve and Laurie purchased it and named it The Parable. Since then, the store has moved from downtown San Luis Obispo to South Higuera. Today, The Parable is located at 921 Rancho Parkway in the Five Cities Center near Trader Joe’s.