In the past several years, retailers have been faced with an unprecedented number of challenges. If you’re a store owner, you may be feeling frustrated with the inability to earn the income you deserve for all your hard work.
Many of today’s consumers believe that buying online offers more convenience and better prices than purchasing at brick-and-mortar stores, and retailers have been scrambling to find ways to compete. Moreover, with the complications brought on by the global pandemic, many stores are struggling just to stay afloat, let alone grow their businesses.
Fortunately, there are still many ways to make your retail business more profitable. We asked successful marketers, entrepreneurs, and retailers for advice and came up with 11 expert tips that will help you maximize store revenue.
Provide Convenience for Shoppers
In today’s fast-paced modern world, convenience is more important than ever. According to Dog Food Desire Founder Sarah Walker, “The most common reasons people don’t do their shopping in your store are because of distance and shopping fatigue.” Walker advises her fellow store owners to “provide a service that will make it convenient and pleasant for the customer to find everything they’re looking for in one place with low prices and efficient staff.”
One way to compete with online stores is to offer delivery services. Maria Flores from Media Peanut suggests partnering with delivery drivers if you can’t deliver products yourself. “Instead of business owners hiring a delivery employee or delivering the item themselves, there are now a myriad of delivery riders that can be contracted using mobile apps,” Flores says.
You can also add convenience by launching a branded store app and offering a wide range of payment options.
Adjust Your Pricing
Successful pricing should focus on value increase instead of price decrease. One of the classic strategies retailers use to boost revenue is offering three-tiered pricing and making the customer aware of the advantages of the higher-priced product or package.
Chris Muller, Director of Audience Growth at DoughRoller, advises retailers to master the art of upselling. “Upselling provides a more expensive version of what the customers are seeking… if you know how to do it, you will maximize your earnings.”
While Muller acknowledges that the technique isn’t always easy to execute, he advises that “the essential element to successful upselling is to emphasize the value or advantage. Your buyer should understand that it is worth the cost.”
Have an Effective Online Presence
According to Deepasha Kakkar, Founder and CEO of Crackitt, “An online storefront is no longer a luxury for brick-and-mortar retailers; instead, it is now considered a must-have.”
But throwing up a website isn’t enough. You’ll need to make your online store as appealing and informative as your physical shop by including eye-catching photos and professionally written product descriptions.
Retailers also need to ensure that their websites show up in search results by optimizing local SEO visibility. Paul Sherman, Chief Marketing Officer at Olive.com, points out that “46% of all Google searches are people looking for local information. Moreover, 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else.”
Nick Antonopoulos of SEO Design Chicago explains: “Search engine optimization is used to improve the ranking of a page. The ranking referred to here is the ranking seen on the search engine results page. A higher ranking means a higher chance of your page being visited by new customers. This ranking can be a achieved organically and by paying for a top spot. Organic results are results that are very well optimized for the search engine. A paid result is basically putting your page at the top as an advertisement. Search engine optimization can bring more customers to a business by leading more people to the page.”
You can enhance your online presence by listing your business on platforms across the internet, such as Yelp, Google Business Profiles, Foursquare, and social media channels while encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews on these sites.
YouTube is an often overlooked online platform for smaller retail stores. But, according to Jeff Neal, creating product videos has brought many benefits to his business, The Critter Depot. In addition to enhancing brand awareness and providing income from ad revenue, Neal asserts that “These videos also improve our SEO. Visitors will stay on our site longer because they are watching the product video, which then improves our ranking.”
Design Your Store to Enhance Sales
Customers who purchase from brick-and-mortar stores are there for the ambiance and the ability to touch and try out the products that interest them. Improving the in-store experience goes a long way to enhancing sales.
Perry Zheng, founder of Cash Flow Portal, speaks about the importance of visual cues: “Adding height, color, or depth to your displays can be an excellent way to start. By introducing different visual elements, you can create a multidimensional aspect. This ocular display will surely appeal to the masses. Always display your best products at the store entrance, regardless of how much they cost. It lets the buyer know what you are capable of. It is also helpful to come up with displays that show your products in use or allow customers to try them out. This keeps the shoppers engaged. They’ll also get a hands-on experience of what your product feels like.”
One way to achieve this is to appeal to customers’ emotions. According to Shiv Gupta, CEO of Incrementors Digital Marketing, “Messages based on strong emotions are easier to recall and more powerful than messages based on logic.” Gupta asserts that the most profitable emotion to elicit is nostalgia.
Dr. Linda Khoshaba, Founder of Natural Endocrinology Specialists, agrees, “When people are nostalgic, they don’t think as much about money and are willing to pay more for things.” Warm-colored lighting, familiar music, and pleasant scents are excellent ways to elicit nostalgic emotions. You may even want to invest in the advice of a professional interior designer to help create a homey atmosphere in your store.
Another way to help customers feel at home is to offer free trials. “Letting customers try before they buy is a powerful way to upsell… For very little investment and effort, you can gauge customer opinion, ask for their feedback, and convince customers to buy the product they just tried, “ says Admir Salcinovic, Co-Founder of PriceListo.
Adam Crossling, Marketing Manager at Zenzero, advises retailers to “use cross-merchandising methods and spontaneous sales to your advantage.” Store owners can accomplish this by creating attractive displays for holidays and seasons, placing popular items near the check-out to encourage impulse buys, or simply grouping similar items in the same display. Crossling also suggests playing movies for “customer amusement, product education, and any other upsell or promotional tie-in.”
Use Outdoor Spaces to Entice Customers
Daniel Carter, Marketing Consultant at Office Furniture Online, reminds retailers to use outdoor spaces to entice customers. “One of the best brick-and-mortar strategies that I’ve found is to take it outside. People aren’t just going to walk into your store and start making purchases. You need to get them excited about it.”
Carter recommends retailers go outside and personally invite passersby inside. Vaibhav Kakkar from Digital Web Solutions agrees, “When businesses seem to be busy, it’s a retail phenomenon that customers will want to walk inside to see what’s going on… My businesses would often relocate staff outdoors if the [sales] were sluggish.”
Store owners can also encourage foot traffic by having sidewalk sales, improving signage, or even sprinkling environmentally friendly glitter around the entryway.
Make Customers Feel Safe Shopping in Your Store
Unfortunately, Covid-19 has turned a simple day out shopping into a potential health risk.
According to entrepreneur Kamyar Shah, “The pandemic is forcing many people to rethink their purchasing habits to keep them safe. Businesses need to help customers feel safe in their stores; this can be done through communication and instituting recommended health guidelines. Communicating to customers the need to wear masks in the store while visiting the hand sanitation stations shows regard for their health and well-being.”
Scott McKinney, Head of Marketing at Debt Bombshell, agrees that retailers can ease customers’ concerns by “clearly communicating your health and safety measures. Be transparent in the actions you are doing to keep people safe in your location.”
Roy Morejon, President and Co-Founder of Enventys Partners, suggests offering a click-and-collect service. “Some people still don’t feel safe visiting and wandering through a store, so adding the option to shop online but collect in-store can help maximize revenue from customers who wouldn’t otherwise make a purchase,” Morejon states.
Lisa Richards, CEO and Creator of The Candida Diet, adds, “There is a high probability that these [click-and-collect] customers will see something else they like in the store and pay for it too, increasing the number of items and the amount of revenue you make per sale.”
Maintain a Well-Trained and Friendly Staff
Several of our survey participants stressed that exceptional customer service is at the heart of a successful retail business. Savvy store owners ensure that their clerks know everything about the products and can answer any questions customers may have.
Ryan Yount, CEO of LuckLuckGo says that “The more you impress and satisfy the client, the more sales you generate. Many clients actually crave an amazing real-life shopping experience. You can meet their expectations by establishing a trustworthy environment through polite sound, sensation, and material representation. They will return, as will your loyal consumers. This is how you win over online shops.”
Robyn Newmark, Founder and CEO of Newmark Beauty, advises retailers to “train your employees to impress customers in the first few seconds…The employee’s job is to create a shopping experience that engages the customer and quickly converts them into buyers rather than browsers. Give your team communication skills, industry and product knowledge, and the ability to become a customer’s concierge.”
Anthony Mixides, Managing Director at Bond Media, agrees, “the first step is to create a positive customer service experience. Research suggests that 89% of clients will shop again from a retailer if treated with kindness and respect.”
“Happy customers are more inclined to tell their friends, family, and co-workers about it. 72% of customers will tell six or more people about a favorable encounter,” adds Abe Breuer from VIP to Go. And as Executive Coach Irene McConnell from Arielle Executive points out, an important part of exceptional customer service is to “banish the long wait. One way to do that is to keep your store well-staffed, particularly during busy periods. You should always have enough employees and registers to handle the rush hours.”
Ryan Fyfe, COO at Workpuls mentions: “Every customer should be greeted and helped upon entering an upscale clothing retailer’s store. Services such as having clothes hung both on hooks and even on custom made stands designed for each one piece should be provided while directing customers towards designer brands right away. Sales staff should also make every attempt to get customer contact information for added motivation during discounts or exclusive product offerings (e-mails, text messages).”
Providing employees with a pleasant working environment and paying them competitive wages is one of the best investments a retail business can make. “Make sure that everyone on your team wants to be there and [is] enthusiastic about and knowledgable about the products. If they are excited, they will want their customers to share their enthusiasm,” says Marc Bishop, Director of Business Growth at iDigiMagnet.
Reward Customers for Their Loyalty
“It takes less time, effort, and money to retain a current customer than to recruit a new one,” says Mellowpine Marketing Director and Partner Gian Moore. “Loyalty rewards programs that integrate with payments are a popular way to engage customers and encourage more frequent visits across in-store and online sales channels.”
Michael Knight, Co-Founder of Incorporation Insight, agrees. “Loyalty and/or membership models give customers the feeling of having an advantage over other customers, allowing them to experience a premium version of shopping or even treatment.”
Giving customers the opportunity to earn points towards future purchases encourages repeat business, and rewards programs are also an excellent way to obtain customer e-mail addresses to present them with relevant offers. Robert Bolder, Founder of VPS Server, advises, “Loyalty programs provide critical information into client preferences, improve customer loyalty, and help customers feel more at ease in your store.”
Make Your Store Environmentally-Friendly and Socially Responsible
Today’s shoppers are more concerned about sustainability than ever. Chris Nddie, Co-Owner of ClothingRIC, points out that “81% of Gen Z prefers to shop in stores… But in order to catch the attention of this demographic, retailers need to be more sustainable.”
According to a First Insights report, 73% of Gen Z are willing to pay more for sustainable products. Nddie continues, “Eco-friendly retail is the future, and retailers who put environmental concerns at the heart of their business will make huge gains in the time to come.”
You can capitalize on this trend and do your part to save the planet by adopting sustainable business practices, offering eco-friendly products, and donating a portion of your profits to related charities.
Improve Your Marketing Strategy
All the effort and expense in the world won’t get results if your business uses ineffective or out-of-date marketing strategies. Some ways to improve retail marketing are to update your company vision and branding, get to know your customers and find out what they need, and keep an eye on what your competitors are doing.
Sahil Kakkar, CEO of RankWatch, advises, “Tell a true story about your company’s identity and values. As a business owner, your personal brand story distinguishes you from the competition…when clients learn more about you and your story, they will develop a stronger emotional attachment to your company and will be more motivated to make a purchase.”
Chelsea Cohen, Co-Founder of So Stocked, reminds retailers to invest in local advertising. “Learning [your] audience and targeting them through newspapers, magazines, and press releases could increase brand awareness and sales. Many businesses believe these are outdated advertising avenues, so using them could give you an advantage over competitors focusing on other mainstream channels.”
Earn Additional Income from Unused Space
There can be no doubt that the pandemic has hit traditional brick-and-mortar stores hard. However, many store owners have managed to stay afloat by turning unused retail and warehouse space into ancillary income sources.
For example, one of the easiest and more lucrative ways store owners have found to make the most of unused space is by becoming a host for a luggage storage service like Stasher. Businesses have reported thousands in additional revenue from turning just two meters of otherwise wasted retail or warehouse space into a luggage storage area.
The concept is simple: Travelers book online and show up at the store with their luggage. Your staff members only need to place the bags in a secure area and return them when the customer comes back after a few hours or days. Your business will receive an automatic monthly payment for a minimal time investment.
Are you ready to earn additional income from your unused retail and warehouse space? Become a Stasher Host today!