If you’ve been in the retail business for a long time, then you know that there are good months and bad months. You could enjoy record-breaking sales one quarter, only to suffer a sales slump the next. It happens to everyone, even large companies, and is more indicative of market conditions and the cyclical nature of retail rather than your skills.
Whether you operate a franchise or an independent retail store, it’s easy to get disheartened once the sales figures start spiraling down. However, the right tools and know-how can turn your fortunes around. If your current strategy isn’t working, then maybe it’s time for a change.
1. Improve the shopping experience
The rise of online shopping has left a lot of brick-and-mortar retailers in the dust. While physical outlets can’t compete with online stores when it comes to speed or convenience, there are areas where the in-store experience can truly shine. While tools like dealer loaders are still useful, consumers are looking for something new.
One of the most popular trends in retail today is experiential retail. The goal is to allow consumers to experience the product in ways online shopping cannot provide.
Let’s say you need new running shoes. You walk into any store and see the same rows and walls of shoes. You can see and try the items on, but the whole experience isn’t much of an improvement over online shopping. Then you walk into a different kind of store. It feels familiar but also different. You see a particular treadmill that allows you to test shoes under different inclines and speeds. Anything that improves the experience for customers puts you at an advantage.
2. Use time to your advantage
One of the most popular tools in marketing are scarcity and urgency. Seasonal sales are so effective because people know that if they wait too long, they could miss out on discounts and exclusive product offerings. That sense of urgency drives consumers to spend more than they usually would have.
That doesn’t mean you should slash your prices by half to attract consumers. Another way to drive sales is to create limited-edition products and bundles to your current offerings. For instance, you could bundle two or three of your most popular products and slash prices by a bit.
3. Know your stuff
One of the reasons why buyers prefer specialized stores to big-box retailers is the sales staff there usually know everything there is to know about the items they sell. Free expert advice is a tried-and-tested method of building customer loyalty. This is especially important in product lines that benefit from technical know-how such as computers and consumer electronics.
You can either train your customer-facing staff in the basics of your products or hire a product specialist as the go-to knowledge guy. Customers will walk away knowing that they can trust your brand to provide tips and advice for the products they use.
You can follow one of these suggestions or combine all of them to transform your retail strategy. Competition in retail is fierce, and you need to stay ahead of your competitors if you want to survive in this industry. Experiment with different marketing techniques and see how they affect your sales.