No matter how specific you feel that your business’ niche is or how profound you feel your unique selling point (USP) is, retail is a tough game. Even if your business is selling celebrity look-a-like floral arrangements, you have competition from some business, somewhere.
That’s the modern digital age, where consumers can connect with any business that is located anywhere in the world. If you’ve had the idea, then, chances are, someone else in the world has too.
Thus, you need an edge or something that allows your business to stand a head taller than any competitors. Having a competitive advantage on digital channels means offering more value than any of these possible competitors can.
How do you provide more customer value as a small business? Well, the answer may start with your POS system and whether or not it is built to handle the challenges and tech-heavy demands of the Digital Age.
This post will take a close look at how a business can use today’s technology and business tools to learn how to increase sales in retail and improve retail sales performance overall.
Provide a Personalized Experience
With consumers facing more options than ever before, customers are increasingly looking for a more personalized experience. In the Digital Age, a personalized customer experience means providing offers, marketing messages and other tactics that are specifically designed for each individual and their unique preferences.
In an example, let’s say you own a small retail toy store, and you have a customer that routinely shops for boys preschool-age toys; based on that information, you know that they won’t be interested in sales on Barbie or even action figures for older boys. Thus, you can target them with ads specific to the types of products they are going to shop for.
This is just one example of what a personalized customer experience looks like, but, no matter how you approach it, the end goal is the same: provide the customer with value that is relevant to them and their specific needs/wants from your brand(s).
The challenge is acquiring the information and data on individual customers that will allow you to make their experience personalized. This requires POS software capable of tracking prior purchases/orders and other sources of customer data.
Your customer-facing employees need the right tools and knowledge to assist guests properly. There are subtle tactics that these employees can implement when helping customers that will not only provide better service, but they can even improve retail sales performance! For example, speaking to customers at an angle, instead of straight on, can make them feel more at ease.
Or, when possible, using the customer’s name in conversation. It’s also important to instill in employees that assisting customers is always the primary task and should take priority over everything.
The most important lesson you can teach your staff is to think like a customer and not a salesperson; this will give them the right mindset always to deliver a great customer experience and impeccable service.
Speedup Sales with A Mobile POS System
Speed is everything in the Digital Age, especially when you consider that consumers have immediate access to nearly everything, thanks to smartphones. Thus, businesses have to be even faster than they have traditionally been. One tool to help speed up sales is a mobile POS system.
Not only will this tool shorten checkout times and allow you to accept more payment types (including payments made through smartphone wallet apps!), but you can learn how to increase sales on retail with a mobile POS system too. One of the most critical aspects of having a mobile POS is in the name: mobile.
You can help customers and even check them out from anywhere in your retail store. This eliminates the need for a front counter and makes the checkout process more personal because there’s no physical barrier between employee and customer.
Ensure You Always Have Inventory on Hand
One of the most damaging forces to the customer experience is not having the product or inventory that the customer wants to buy. We’ve all been in this scenario, where we’ve traveled to the store specifically for an item, but find that the store is out of stock for that product.
Inventory management is an essential aspect of running a retail business because it helps protect you from times when you have to apologetically explain to a customer that you don’t have the items in stock that they are looking to buy.
With a modern POS system, your inventory management platform is built right in. As customers make purchases, the number of units left in stock is automatically updated. A great POS software will even notify you when product falls below a certain threshold, which gives you ample time to resupply before you run out.
Encourage Repeat Business through A Loyalty/Rewards Program
Making a sale is great, but if you want to improve retail sales performance, you have to convert that first-time sale into long-term, repeat business. The best way to encourage repeat business and generate loyal customers is through a rewards-style program.
Offering a loyalty program stimulates repeat business by providing customers rewards and better deals the more they spend or, the more they visit your business. These programs come in many different styles, but the goal is always the same: keep customers coming back. In some situations, a rewards program can even cause customers to spend more!
Craft Email Lists
When it comes to sending out offers, marketing messages and other attempts to re-engage customers, email is one of the most popular and useful channels. Email messages are opened more than the same message sent on a different channel, like via text or regular mail.
And, people like that emails can be opened on the user’s own time, which makes emailed marketing efforts feel much less invasive or disruptive. Email is also convenient, in terms of the customer experience, because it can be quickly brought up via a smartphone, which is crucial if you’ve emailed a coupon or discount that the customer wants to use in-store.
The difficult task of email marketing is developing a robust mailing list and getting customers to sign up for your email list. Some businesses even incentivize people signing up, which helps increase the number of people on the list and thereby improves retail sales performance.
A lot of retail businesses look at Amazon as the enemy. The online retailer sells just about everything and often for less than a brick-and-mortar retail store can offer. And, with 2-day shipping from Amazon Prime membership, there’s very little waiting period for the item(s) to arrive. That said, instead of trying to beat Amazon, you can join them! They have a lot of programs and benefits that help retailers.
For example, you can learn how to increase sales on retail by signing up to give your customers the ability to pay online with their Amazon account. This kind of one-click purchase is critical for speeding up the otherwise-lengthy, online checkout process, which dramatically improves your customer experience.
Another Amazon offering allows you to sell your products through Amazon, which can enhance your visibility. People that would have never come across your brand can now stumble upon it while they shop Amazon!
Start Advertising Online and Offline
Building buzz and getting the word out about your retail business and its brands/products means advertising in the right online and offline locations. After all, if consumers don’t know you exist, how can they spend money buying your products? For most businesses, advertising both online and offline is essential, as their customers operate on both.
But, some companies may find that only one location is practical; it depends on the business. Thus, when advertising, it’s essential to measure the success of your ads. You can ask people where they heard about your business or which ads they’ve seen.
The advertisements that draw in the most significant buzz and the highest number of customers are the winners. In the future, you’ll use these insights to know the best places to advertise and how to craft the messages to draw customers in.
Promote To Customers through Receipts
Receipts are an all-too-often forgotten method of how to increase sales on retail. After all, every customer’s transaction ends with a receipt, and there’s ample room on this transactional record to include any message you want. Plus, they have already made a purchase from you, which means they’ve demonstrated an interest in your products.
You’ve undoubtedly come across this in your purchases, especially from major box stores that give you long receipts explaining the latest prize sweepstakes they have going on, or a link to their online customer survey or redeemable reward points.
You might not realize that creating custom receipts is easy, as long as you have the right POS system that has this feature built in. Then, it is just a matter of deciding what objective or goal you want your receipt-based marketing messages to achieve, such as alerting the user of valuable warranty information, asking them to complete a survey, offering them a coupon to stimulate a future return visit or something else.
Understand Trends and Learn About Customers via Reporting
Consumers are naturally fickle and change their behaviors seemingly overnight. Sometimes, what worked yesterday doesn’t work today. Being a successful retail store is all about tracking these changes and adapting as quickly as possible. You don’t want your customers to feel that your marketing efforts or practices are dated.
It can be very damaging to the customer experience when you don’t keep up with the times! Staying ahead of these behavioral changes means carefully monitoring custom data acquired through your POS system and looking for insights and changes that demonstrate a shift in how customers are acting. The more data you have collected and the more reports you conduct, the better you’ll understand new trends.
These trends can occur based on timing, new technology, changes in social dynamics or from other factors. For example, you may use your customer reports to look at which products sell the most during each season. Thus, when winter rolls around, you know what items to highlight and even discount in your store, which will improve retail sales performance.
Alternatively, you could see that more and more people are shopping through their mobile device. Thus, you make a push to ensure that your website pages are very friendly on these devices. You may even decide you want to develop a mobile app for customers to use!
Learn and Beat Your Competition
It isn’t enough to only track your customers via data-born insights; you also want to keep a close watch on your direct competitors. There’s a lot you can learn by analyzing the competition and what they are doing, notably if they are outperforming you!
You can study their tactics and see how to increase sales on retail by implementing similar strategies with your business (only better, of course), whether it be how to craft more effective social media posts, where to place advertisements, how to structure the store, employee training methods and so on.
There’s no limit to the amount of information you can gain from your competitors! On the other hand, if your business is outperforming them, you still want to monitor and learn what it is they are doing. After all, you don’t want to suddenly wake up and find that their business is booming and your store is a ghost town. You want to stay on top of the competition at all times.
Learning how to increase sales on retail takes a lot of work. As this discussion makes clear, there’s a lot that you can do, so it is difficult to know where to begin! You might even feel a little overwhelmed by all of these ways to improve retail sales performance.
It’s important to realize that it isn’t a matter of doing everything we’ve listed all at once, but rather a slow trickle. Start with the strategies that your business is already doing and see how they can be improved. Then, you can begin introducing some of the other items on the list that you aren’t yet doing.
If you want to kickstart your sales efforts, you should consider upgrading your existing retail POS system with a mobile POS that has the capabilities to create custom receipts, produce customer reports, eliminate the need for a counter, accept mobile payments, track and manage inventory and more. You should even try out free POS software. This tool will not only help you improve your retail sales, but it will also make it feel much less overwhelming to begin taking many of the steps mentioned in this discussion.