By Joanna Arhontis
We get it! Retail can be hard work and growing your business when you are already at full stretch can seem impossible, but we have some good news for you. When you are trying to improve your business, sometimes it can be the simplest and most cost effective ideas that gain the biggest returns…
The ability to take action, knowing what action to take and being consistently good at what you do are the keys to success in retail. The biggest key to knowing what action to take lies in knowing your customer… Who is your customer? Where do they hangout? What do they want? And how do you need to deliver your message to them for best results? The answers to these questions – the real answers and not just what you think the answers are – are the basic keys to growing your business. Once you know the answers to these questions you can apply the strategies below to greatly improve your business bottom line.
Here are 6 simple strategies that will help you to improve your business. These are some of the first things we always work on with clients at the New Retail Revolution:
1. The Potential Customer
What many people who are in business, sales or a service role don’t recognise is the value of the “potential customer”. A potential customer is anyone who enters your business or interacts with your business. Who am I talking about? It’s the postman, the courier, the cleaner, the maintenance man or the man with the stubbie shorts and the plastic flip flop thongs that your staff don’t recognise, or choose not to recognise, as a customer. It shouldn’t matter who walks in or what they look like. You and your staff are marketing to them from the minute they enter your store. Everything makes an impact from the uniforms you are wearing to the smile and the message you deliver when you greet them. You are either building a relationship or breaking a relationship in the first 30 seconds they are in your store. Remember customers will tell 20 people about their bad experience and possibly 2 people of their exceptional experience.
You could have the next $100 – $1000 customer or the next retail disaster story. Train your staff and make it your mantra, “Every person who enters your store could be the best customer you have ever had.”
2. Centre of Influence
While many of us disregard the power of people, let me tell you that this strategy is the least expensive and most profitable form of marketing you will ever undertake in your business. What is a centre of influence? A centre of influence is a person, group of people or other companies and business who will recommend your business to other businesses, colleagues, associates, family and friends. A recommendation of your business, people, services and products will sell your services or products much more easily and faster than any other form of paid advertising will ever do!
So go and build relationships with people who are not in competition with you but who also serve people who are your potential customers and are willing to recommend you to them. Maybe you can do each other a favour…
3. Building Customer Loyalty
Building your database is one of the biggest assets you will ever have in your business, both while you are running your business and when you want to sell your business. The biggest drawback, and I hear it all the time, “Customers don’t want to give me their email address”.
My answer? “What will you give them first?” You need to give the customer something that is of value to them (and not just a discount) the customer needs to see the value to them not to you as the business. When customers see there is something of value for them, for example a $10.00 voucher off their next purchase, they may be willing to give you their email and as an added bonus purchase something else from you sooner rather than later.
4. Communicate with your Database
As we said above creating a customer database is an absolute must in any business and if you have not already started you should start today. When you do contact your customers ensure your emails and notifications give them good content. Make sure you are writing for their benefit not yours. Learn how to sell without putting a price in your communication, make the product you are trying to sell irresistible and price won’t matter. There is an art to this but once you have mastered it, it will mean Cha Ching! Cha Ching! Test and measure to see what works for you and your stock and be consistent.
5. Solution Selling
Train everyone in your business to understand solution selling and the technique of actively listening. If every retailer, and their staff, understand and refine these two skills then no one need ever fear selling again as the products will sell themselves. People have problems that they want a solution for and they go to the experts to have them resolved. Learn the art of solution selling and increase your sales tenfold.
6. Create the Customer Experience
To keep brick and mortar stores alive this is an absolute necessity! Ensure that every customer has an exceptional customer experience. You can create amazing customer experiences, not just customer service, every day in store through events and offers. You might do a deal with the local coffee shop and offer it to selected customers as a gift to say thank you. If a person is a regular customer make sure you speak to them by name and make sure your staff do too. What customer loyalty program can you run? How can you make the experience of shopping in your store pleasurable and something that your customers want to repeat over and over again? Remember sometimes it’s the simple things! Make sure your customers remember you. Create a culture of giving. Practice reciprocity!
If you have found these helpful you can learn more about our amazing strategies at www.TheNewRetailRevolution.com