It’s easy to become frustrated when you run a retail business. While there are busy days where new customers are constantly coming into the store, there are also periods of time when it feels like pulling teeth to get customers through the door with a lack of foot traffic..
There are a number of factors that can contribute to slower times - the weather, the time of day, holidays, the season, and more. However, by implementing new business strategies, you can also grow your business in a few simple steps to drive sales and get more people to your store.
1. Sell an experience rather than products
With the incredible abundance of products available and different ways to purchase them, it’s almost impossible to sell something that nobody else is selling. So, instead of trying to differentiate yourself in terms of selling new products or lowering your prices, try to show your customers what makes you-you. (This might sound like a moral straight out of Pixar or Disney movie, but you should still take it to heart.)
Looking for the most unique product out there to sell is somehow a waste of time, and lowering your prices should definitely be the last resort. What makes you different is the amazing shopping experience that you provide to your customers. A positive experience in your store attracts customers and makes them want to talk about you to their friends – and it makes them want to come back.
Giving your customers the best shopping experience does not just involve providing great customer service. It can be achieved through various different methods:
- Organizing events - big and small. Aim for one bigger event and one smaller event per month, making sure that you put your personality in those events. The events should be representing your values and what you believe in.
- Interacting with your customers. Interacting means not only just a simple smile (although, smiling is a must), but also trying to have even a short conversation with your customers. By simply greeting them and asking them how they’re doing, you will make them feel warm and accepted, thus, making them feel at home and at ease. Note: It’s definitely a huge plus if you know your customers by their names. Retail experts suggest getting to know your customers’ names, as this action can be a plus point in giving them great shopping experience.
- Get your customers involved. As mentioned above, have a lot of interaction with your customers, and as much as possible, find a way to get them involved in the business. How? A simple survey of what they think about your products or services can be enough, or you may want to ask if your customers have suggestions. Doing this makes them feel valuable and makes them feel that you’re interested in hearing their opinion.
2. Create a sense of urgency
“Only for a limited time” or “Limited edition” sounds very familiar? That’s right. You can read it in almost every other marketing campaign, even on social media. Ever wondered why these lines are so widely used? That’s because these messages create a sense of urgency, a fear of missing out (FOMO).
Making your customers feel the sense of urgency pushes them to make the purchase now, otherwise, they might never get to take advantage of the offer again. This can be achieved by selling a holiday only special product, or by slightly changing the design of a product every month/week. You can also adopt one of the strategies of a lot of small business owners who sell online, such as giving an incredible discount on one product each day.
Creating a sense of urgency not only gives you the potential of a higher retail sales, but it also makes your customers curious as to what will be “new” for tomorrow, therefore, motivating them to come back regularly.
3. Combine online and offline
Being present online doesn’t mean that you should necessarily strive to sell online, because not all customers want to buy online. Many customers still prefer going to a brick and mortar store to look for a particular product personally. However, a lot of customers like to get information through a website, too, so they can compare various products from various retail stores. An online store is very valuable to increase sales.
Typically, your site should have at least:
- A way to locate your store (your store’s address with a map)
- A description of the products you’re selling (emphasize on how they can benefit from your product)
- Real time-inventory information (do not show on your website what you don’t have in your store)
- Product reviews, as people are more and more susceptible to social proof
4. Tell a story with your window display
This particular tip is especially applicable if you’re lucky enough to be located in an area where there’s lots of foot traffic. Design your window that is inviting to passersby.
Don’t let your window look dull by posting how much a certain product is. You should show your personality through your display and tell a story with it. A well-designed window should appeal to the customer’s emotions more than anything else, making them curious and encouraging impulse purchasing. Some of the things you should consider doing are:
- Define a theme for your window
- Create a clear focal point
- Play with lighting, colors, placement, etc.
Don’t be afraid to be bold because the bolder you are, the more you stand out, and the more likely it is that you’ll be turning heads. Make sure your store is inviting!
5. Do your research
Talk to your customers
Now that you already have an idea about how you can grow your business and increase your customer base, you’re ready to do some upgrades and make some changes. But before making any major moves to your business, it would still be best if you do some research first.
Start by interacting with your potential customers and knowing what they think of your ideas or what they would like to see when you make that particular change. Find a way to measure their satisfaction so you can cater to their needs, and know what initiatives make them happier. Doing your research and hearing your customers somewhat gives you a map of where you’re going and help you make more informed decisions.
Talk to your employees
Also, don’t limit yourself to just your merchandise or your customers; hear your employees, too! Employees are the very first point of contact for your customers, and they might have some good suggestions on how the store can improve.
Look at your data
When we say research, though, we’re not only talking about looking for new information/insights. Some of the information you already have! For example, look at your inventory movements. During what time of day do you sell the most? What are your most popular products? Information like this can already give you an idea of what you can do next and can definitely be a great help to make the right decisions.
In the retail industry, you can never avoid competition, and it’s almost always the case that if a certain store sells a product, there will be another store of the same nature that will pop out in the corner. But don’t stop innovating and make unwavering customer experience be part of your daily retail operation.