Best Practices for Success in Retail
Many big name retailers are collapsing, others are sailing smoothly, and a few more are actually growing. The market changes, and those too slow to adapt to new demands and standards lose business. The businesses who keep pace are those that successfully utilize big data and data analytics effectively. Oftentimes, specializing in whatever Amazon does not provide, sets local retailers up with a unique advantage.
Big data collection and data analytics, however, are just the most current means of collecting metrics and acting on them. This must be done to an extent, but it has rightfully become a standard practice. Best practices incorporate more than intelligent pricing and hopping onboard with popular trends. We have a few recommendations to improve the human side of retail, giving your customers’ expectations for a quality experience and generating returning business.
Be an Expert
If you were hiring someone to fix your TV, would you be more interested in paying the expert TV repair contractor, or the general handyman? The latter is a jack-of-all-trades who can do it all, but only half as well. With the former, you know you are getting exactly what you need from an experienced professional.
In the same way, you do not want to be a jack-of-all-trades retail store. You want a niche to specialize in, and to become an authority in. Establish yourself as a curator of whatever it is you focus on. Do this by providing expert product recommendations and reviews and building a local community of experts with trade shows and monthly discussion groups. Document these discussions as content for your business page and YouTube. For example, if you focus on selling boots and provide all of this content and material locally, you’ll be first in mind for anyone looking to purchase boots in your area.
Partner With Other Businesses
Find a business that compliments your products and/or services (not your competition!)and work together. Keeping with the boot niche example, find a local cobbler / shoe repair shop and cross-promote. For every purchase over a certain dollar value made at your location, a discount is available from the partner business, and vice-versa.
Engage Your Customers
Engage, don’t greet. At some point, everyone has been annoyed by the hired greeters at the big-box all-in-one department stores. Actually engaging your customers means starting a conversation, treating them well, and taking a deliberate interest in them. Don’t only ask what they are looking for, but actively listen to their needs and be conscious of them as you look for a solution.
This isn’t a game of 20 Questions, but a back-and-forth dialogue.
Design an Appealing Storefront
Whether your storefront is physical, virtual, or both, it needs to look good. When was the last time you chose to enter a store with a cluttered or dull display or website? You probably can’t recall, because presentation is everything in marketing. Clients’ very first impressions of you are based on your website or storefront.
Document Key Performance Indicators
Applications like RetailApp make it easy to track key performance indicators (KPIs) in a timely and accurate matter. Similar to how larger retailers analyze big data, this allows businesses to make more intelligent decisions when stocking and moving inventory, planning stores, or even managing chains of stores.
Train Your Employees Well
Never assume that your employees know how things work at your business just because they come from another retail store. Likely, they were trained on the job and given little to no follow-up. Be meticulous when training your staff with your store system. This way everyone is on the same page and you don’t inherit the system each new employee brings with them from their old job. This keeps everyone on the same page not only regarding when, where, and how to take out the trash, but also when it comes to answering the phone, addressing customers, and more. It creates consistency in your brand.
All of these practices are within your immediate reach, which means that the last step is simply to get started! Take these tips, build a strategy to implement them, and grow your business.