Whether you’re a new retailer, or ready to take the next step, having a retail growth strategy is an essential part of making your business a success.
Owning a business is a dream that many people share but relatively few ever realize. Those that do pour their hearts and souls into making that dream a success. Despite their efforts, unfortunately, many businesses aren’t around for the long haul. And it’s not always the fault of the products. Sometimes, a company just can’t compete with the massive amount of competition. Others are indistinguishable in a crowd of similar stores.
No matter what you sell, having a successful business takes more than just setting up a storefront. Sure, offering quality items is vital, but on its own, it’s just not enough. It’s essential to develop a careful growth strategy to build your company over time. Whether you wish to increase sales, add more locations, expand into different markets, or all three and more, you can achieve your goals by following a few basic tips. Some will create an instant sales boost, while others require a long-term commitment before you can expect to see the fruits of your labor. But all will help your new or existing retail business gain a foothold in the market.
1. Create a Big Scene
While this isn’t necessarily good advice for your personal life, it’s an excellent retail marketing strategy. A little touch of theatrics can get your business noticed in a significant way. Give potential customers an excuse to check you out by offering them a bit of excitement. Don’t be afraid to be different. That’s the idea.
Offer classes, demonstrations, signings, or children’s events that support what your business sells to invite the public to join in on the fun. Plan lively promotional events, schedule weekly musical entertainment, and do anything that will create a buzz about what you do. Take advantage of any reason to be in the paper for a little free advertisement. Issue press releases to bring your company name to the forefront.
The things you do to set yourself apart from the crowd will help you define your retail business’s customer image. At the same time, they should also increase foot traffic and visibility for business, driving revenue growth in the process.
2. Become a Social Butterfly
Providing a quality product line is simply not enough. You need to put your business out there with a targeted marketing strategy to get noticed by potential customers. Marketing your business with social media opens a whole new line of communication to the public. And it’s one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to promote your shop. It’s also the perfect way to interact with both current and potential customers, giving them the chance to ask any questions they have about your company.
Maintaining an active presence on sites like Facebook ensures your business information is easily accessible to the public. It’s also an excellent platform to advertise special offers and events. Online contests on social media provide fun, as well as freebies, and are a great way to attract new customers. Give participants an instant entry for a prize from your line of products when they share a post with friends. Sometimes, all a person needs is to have their interest piqued to become a loyal customer. For the best results, regularly check and update your social media accounts with new, engaging content.
3. Find a Reason to Celebrate
Everyone loves a celebration. The major holidays typically draw in foot traffic into most businesses. But what about sales slumps throughout the rest of the year? One way to boost your lagging numbers is by inventing a reason for people to celebrate. Plan a promotional event around one of the more frivolous holidays, such as Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day or Best Friends Day.
Or, create a holiday that’s all your own. Pick whatever will make people want to visit your store, office, or website. To further the party spirit at your store, create the right atmosphere. Fill the air with music, offer refreshments, and play games for prizes. Hold drawings for a new product you’re introducing to make the item even more tempting.
4. Increase Your Industry Knowledge
The more you know about your industry, the greater your competitive edge. Most businesses today fail because of a lack of knowledge or vision, poor marketing, ill-defined goals, and inadequate sales. Make sure your business has staying power by staying on top of industry information.
With the ever-changing market and economy, you’ll need to update your education regularly. Stay informed of market trends, and never think that you’ve learned everything. Read trade journals, business sections, and reliable online sources, or do your research. With an open mind and desire for information, you can help keep your business on the map for years to come.
5. Open an Online Store
If your business hasn’t learned about the advantages of eCommerce yet, it’s not too late to get on board. First, you’ll need to register your website domain name. This is a very important step since your web address is your online identity. Pick one that matches your company name.
Then, choose your ecommerce platform. It should include all of the tools you need to make online retail a part of your business. Consider the cost, ongoing maintenance issues, and payment gateways to determine which is best for you. If you use a point of sale (POS) system you’ll want to use a platform that integrates with to simplify inventory management and order fulfillment.
Lastly, make sure your site offers an exemplary customer experience. Keep it interesting and easy to use so that buying from you is a convenient process. Doing so will keep your customers happy so they’ll be more likely to remember you and want to buy from you again.
6. Promise and Provide Online Security
If you’re going to offer online services, you need to provide customers a safe online experience. This means meeting data security standards like PCI Compliance. Luckily, your ecommerce platform and payment gateway can help you with this, so it’s something to check for when signing up.
Also, let shoppers know that your site employs a secure online checkout service that uses SSL technology to ensure a secure connection. Reassure your customers that their privacy is protected on your website, so they feel confident when ordering. The addition of a trust seal is a common way to achieve this objective. Studies have also shown that they do help increase conversions, perfect for a business that’s looking for new ways to grow.
7. Develop Your Image or Brand
Anyone can sell a hodgepodge of assorted items. It takes an expert marketer’s touch, however, to conjure up specific emotions and imagery at the mention of a name. Your retail shop will benefit significantly from proper branding. Remember that while you’re in
Identify your company’s most popular demographic, and speak to their desires. Turn your inventory into a way of living, and market it as such. Customers today are looking for the complete experience, not just a quality item. Shopping has become more about purchasing a different life than the one being lived. Retail businesses must compete to stay alive. Establish and develop a strong brand that speaks for your company. Reinforce your brand identity with content and imagery that’s consistent across all of your marketing activities.
8. Examine Your Pricing
Pricing can be a tricky proposition. You need to guarantee that you completely understand the cost of your goods so you can set the right profit margin and retail price. However, you must also keep that price competitive so you can retain your current customers and attract new ones.
But how do you know when you’ve chosen the right price? In the end, the customer will let you know through their willingness to buy your products. If you have a product that just isn’t moving at the price you’ve set, you may have priced yourself out of the market.
9. Connect With Your Customers
Knowing what your customers want only helps you serve them better. Plus, people like to feel special. Take the time to make a connection with your customers. Communicating with them in a way that makes it clear that you understand their wants and needs lets them know that they’re the most important part of your business.
Create effective marketing messages that educate your customers on the products that will best meet their needs. Set up an email or mailing list customers can join. Offer them special deals on services and products, and keep them updated on the latest additions to your product line. Let each one know how much you appreciate their business. Never forget how valuable the customer experience is to your sales future.
10. Tap Into New Delivery and Sales Channels
Don’t let your business get stuck in a rut. Remain adaptable to change to keep your business fresh. Knowing what your customers need and expect will help you understand how to serve them better. Consider other ways to offer your products to your customers, and try new sales and delivery techniques.
One of the best ways to transform a small business is to take it online. As opposed to a physical store, an online store can reach a much wider audience. Even a standard website can make a world of difference between a potential customer shopping at your store instead of a competitor’s. Online advertising is another way to build sales, and by using search engine optimization, your business website will rank higher in online searches.
11. Create a Customer Experience
Offer your customers more than just a great product. They’re looking for a complete experience. Make shopping with you a memorable event that they’ll want to repeat again and again. A store with a high-energy vibe attracts people. Stimulate them visually through innovative displays, vivid photography, and other feasts for the eyes. Leverage modern technology like a retail point of sale system to streamline your checkout process. Have videos playing in your store that provide product information, entertainment, and promotional support. For the most substantial impact, make sure that your shop incorporates all the senses in its displays.
12. Introduce New Products or Services
Shaking up your regular product line can breathe new life into your retail business. Add a few new products to your basic line-up regularly so people will want to keep checking back. Seasonal marketing works well in a wide array of businesses. Limited-time products carry an air of excitement and urgency for the purchaser. Also, you could introduce new customer services, such as expedited shipping or online ordering.
Find out what services and products your customers are seeking and what they’re willing to pay to get them. Then, decide whether you can offer these items and make a profit. Proper market research can lead you to the right answer. Just make sure it focuses on the customer demand for these products or services and what your cost will be to provide them. These adjustments can build loyalty with your existing customer base, while helping you tap into an entirely new base of customers.
13. Assess and Adjust Your Advertising
Take a good look at your advertising budget. Instead of finding ways to cut your advertising budget, though, it’s a better idea to raise it. Increasing your advertising during slow sales periods is vital because your business faces more competition and less consumer cash.
Remnant advertising refers to the empty spaces in the newspaper, and it’s an excellent opportunity to promote your business. By employing ad tracking, you can discover how people hear about your business. With so many ways to advertise today, it’s a smart idea to cover all the bases in the beginning. After time has passed, check to see what’s bringing the most significant percentage of your customers into the store. The results will vary due to both the type and location of the business. While increasing the amount of advertising is the best move, it helps to know where it’s making the most impact.
14. Target New Customer Markets
Many retail businesses focus their marketing and sales on a specific demographic group. Whether their major customer market is based on gender, age, interests, values, or region, this approach limits the company’s sales. Consider what other demographic markets might be interested in your products and develop an advertising strategy that appeals to them. When you choose another customer base to market your product line to increase your advertising to the new group. Add another facet to your brand that promotes a lifestyle and experience that will attract new customers to your store. The more groups you can attract, the larger your customer base becomes.
15. Manage Your Cash Flow
Okay, so it’s not the most exciting business tip in the world. But there’s a reason why cash management shows up on this list. Your retail business, or any business, can’t survive without adequate cash flow. It’s very easy to get swamped by the daily details of owning a business. Regardless, you must make every effort to keep a firm hold on your finances. Create and stick to a realistic budget. No exceptions. Know where every dollar is spent. Keep a sharp eye on your business’ cash flow. Control your inventory, so it doesn’t sit around hurting your profitability.
Slow-moving inventory quickly becomes out-of-date and costs your business a fortune. While these things seem basic, they’re the cornerstone of the retail world. And if you want to remain a part of that world, you’ll have to keep tabs on the money.
There you have it, 15 proven tips and tactics that you can use to create a comprehensive strategy for growing your business. Don’t worry, you don’t need to try to apply all 15 of them at once. Not every tactic will be a good fit, but many of them will be. Instead of getting overwhelmed, pick a few to start with, put them into practice, and measure their impact on your growth. Once you’ve found a few that work for you, consider expanding your efforts in new directions.