With the explosion of the Internet, the conversation we all hear about the retail industry is that it is dead. We are told that companies like Amazon and eBay will take all of their customers, and get them to never enter a retail shop again. If you look at the statistics, things do seem to be going this way and projections indicate that there will be a lot less retail as time goes on.
However, the idea that people will not want to go into a retail shop, browse the racks and purchase goods seems like a long shot, at least in the near future. So the reality is that the opportunity still exists to open up a successful retail shop, if you do it intelligently. With this in mind, here are some ideas for creating a successful retail business.
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Understand Your Market Better than the Competition
Having a successful retail shop used to be mostly dependent on knowing your target market intimately. This was because you only had so much shelf space and so much money to spend on stocking products, so you had to get things right. Now since so much retail is online where companies can sell thousands of products without actually stocking them, knowing your customer often takes a back seat.
Today, you can gain an advantage over many retailers by having an intimate knowledge of your customer. Create a database with their birthdays, past purchases, and likes. Reach out to them when something arrives in your shop you think that they would love. Use questionnaires and interviews to understand and your customer, what they want, how they want to buy it, and at what price. And when they participate, reward them,
Create loyalty reward programs that reward customers for frequenting your business, and helping you to find additional customers. This will make them feel more of a part of your company and increase your importance to them.
Use social media to give your market direct and immediate access to you and keep in constant contact with them. In short become an important part of their lives.
Retailers today need to go the extra mile to keep clients and one way to do this is to set up a delivery service. You can limit this to a certain radius around your business and even charge a fee to do it, but because of how busy everyone is these days, it will certainly be a service that is appreciated.
Yes it will be an extra expense. In fact you may have to hire an extra employee and get yourself a Ford van, but execute it properly, and the payoff to your business should be huge. Clients seeing your delivery truck coming to their office or home is a nice touch and great marketing too.
Play Up Your Shop
Let social networkers in your area know that you have a retail shop, and offer them additional benefits if they visit. Let them know that you are there personally, and in case of a problem with one of your products, they can come and see you in person to have it corrected. Remember, online shops have big challenges with customer service and return policies. Having a place where people can walk in and get immediate service, gives you a great advantage.
This is not the complete list of things you need to do as a retailer today but they are key things that often get overlooked and can create great success for you. So stay motivated and you can compete as a retailer today.