Online shopping has grown tremendously over the years.Now, it is more critical than ever that brick and mortar stores step up their game to keep customers coming back and bring in new ones. Location, merchandise, your sales team, and customer rapport are the 4 pillars of maintaining a steady stream of business and remaining profitable. Keep reading to learn more about these four factors and the and the role they play in the success of your store.
Focus on finding a location in a high traffic area. You could sell the most amazing products but if you are in the middle of nowhere chances are the customers will not be flocking to your store. This is especially important if you are a new business owner and you and your store are not well known. Putting your store in a popular strip mall will likely attract new walk-in customers, as opposed to being off the beaten path where customers would have to be visiting specifically. This might mean choosing somewhere that is a little further from home, but the commute will be well worth it. If you are opening in a mall, be aware of all of the rules that will be imposed. For example, you will most likely need to adhere to their set hours of operation.
Keep those display shelves stocked and organized. Deciding on merchandise to sell in your store can be the biggest challenge of opening a new store. You want to find the best deals, have the right items, and be careful to order just the right amount (not too much or too little). Browse the wholesale stores you will likely be ordering your merchandise from and decide on your mark-up. Make sure it aligns with the area your store is located in. If you are in a middle class part of town, selling the most upscale and expensive products may not be practical. Take into consideration the other stores that are around and the type of clientele you will likely receive. When filling your store fixtures, make sure you are maintaining a theme. Customers should know what to expect when they enter your store. This will also help build up a solid customer base. Know your market and keep your shelves stocked with practical and affordable merchandise.
This depends a lot on your situation. If your new store is going to be family run you probably have already planned this with everyone involved. Working with family and close friends can be fun, but also tricky. Make sure everyone has very clear expectations and roles going into this endeavor. If you do not have a staff of friends and family, focus first on finding yourself a trustworthy and dependable second in command. Running a store takes a lot of work, and having someone knowledgeable in the industry to help balance that work is important. Make sure they have a list of several reliable references and really do your homework before bringing someone in to share this important role with you. Most likely you will also need to hire additional staff members to help with sales, stocking shelves and manning the register. Similarly to hiring your manager, ask potential candidates to provide references. Checking past retail experience is important in ensuring you can trust them around the cash register and merchandise. For added protection, place security cameras around the store, behind the cash register, and in the stockroom.
Creating loyal customers is critical to success. Not only will they keep returning to your store, but they will recommend it to friends and family members, generating new business. Make sure every staff member is practicing excellent customer service and going above and beyond to meet customer needs. As the owner, you will likely be summoned to speak with unhappy customers. Remember to keep your patience and do what you can to help. Treat every customer equally and with respect. Word of mouth is the best free advertising you can get.
Keep these pillars in mind when venturing into the retail industry, and you’ll have a strong start to the success of your business.