If you’re courting the wrong customers, you can’t expect good business. It doesn’t matter if you are running a restaurant or shoe store, you need to know exactly to whom you should be selling. The most successful businesses know whom they’re catering to and why those customers want their products or services. Gourmet coffee shops aren’t catering to the dollar coffee crowd, for example. They have a retail strategy in place that targets the right customers. Below are a few pointers for improving your strategy-
Whatever your business is, focus on customers who will pay full price. Of course, it’s easy to want to cast as wide a net as possible. You want as many customers as you can get; but as tempting as it is, you need to focus on your niche in order for you retail strategy to work. Selling what everyone else is selling doesn’t distinguish your business from the pack. Customers want to know why they’re looking in your store for a product they could get from someplace else. So give them a reason Show them new products with differentiators and additional benefits. They will pay full price for something they are convinced is worth the money, as opposed to the cheaper, older alternative.
We can’t say enough about marketing. Your marketing strategy is crucial to your retail strategy. Marketing includes everything from your physical window designs and signage, to your social media presence. Social media is necessary in today’s world. Your business needs to engage with potential customers on Facebook and Instagram, for example. You can also advertise on these platforms. Customers get most of their information from the Internet and social media. You need to be active in that space to let them know you’re out there, and what products you’re selling. It might be worth it to hire a social media manager to improve your online presence and modernize your retail strategy.
Greeting someone who walks into your business with, “Hi How are you today?” is nice, but overused. Frankly, these types of canned greetings can annoy customers. Instead, trying having your staff engage customers in conversations. It’s that simple. Have them be cordial and professional, but natural. Fostering an organic conversation with customers puts them at ease and makes them more comfortable about making a purchase in your store. It’s easy for staff to be too pushy or hard-selling; no one likes to have a store clerk constantly badger him or her about what they’re looking for while they are browsing. It’s about striking the right balance.
Maintaining a working retail strategy also includes understanding that you will need to change your business model at some point. The market changes and so do customer preferences. You have to be ready and willing to change your business model to reflect outside influences and changing preferences.
One of the best ways to keep tabs on your retail strategy is by using a modern point-of-sale (POS) system. POS systems allow you to track all aspects of your customers’ purchasing habits. What are you selling the most of? When are your busiest times of day? Of the month? Are certain products seasonal favorites for customers? Modern POS software tracks information to provide you with the answers to these important questions. Knowing your customers’ habits allows you to respond accordingly and to trim the fat from your inventory. For example, POS software will tell you quickly and accurately about what’s selling and what is not. If you’d like to learn more about point of sale and how it can impact your customer service, check out this article.
We hope you’ve learned a few things from this article that you can apply to your own retail strategy. Make sure your retail strategy is focused and you know who your customers are. It’s alluring to try to attract as many customers as possible, but you will likely lose sight of your business niche. Focus on your brand and market it; get the word out through platforms you know your customers are hanging out on. Leverage the powerful tools of social media. Treat your customers cordially and naturally. Don’t be afraid to change your business based on their preferences. Businesses often get attached to some of the founding ideas and, while that can work for some, most of the time your business will need to adapt to change.