By Barbara Wold
Now that we are well into 2018, it is time to take a minute to assess where your store is now and where you want to be, and to put into motion some of the following ideas that will make a difference in your business all year long.
First, take a day off to go on a field trip. Get out of your store, and take a staff
member with you. Visit successful stores in your area—all types of stores. Notice
how you feel in these stores, the ambience, the employees you encounter, the
merchandise presentation, the visual displays, the entrance, the windows, the
signs, the cash-wrap counter, the lighting and overall appearance.
Take notes of what you did and didn’t like. At the end of the day, list at least
five ideas you can use to improve your business and put into action immediately.
This day off will help you look at your business with a different set of eyes. It will
be beneficial for you, your staff and your customers.
Once you’ve accomplished that, you can pull ideas from these 15 strategies
to grow your business.
1. Use social media marketing. Build awareness with social media marketing
(SMM), increase visibility and engage in conversations. Explore various SMM
tools including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and You Tube. Determine which platforms work best for your business and devise a detailed marketing plan.
2. Plan all yearly promotions and in-store events now. Give your customers a
reason to continue shopping at your store and get noticed in an overcrowded
marketplace. If you want to increase sales, you must continually think of creative ways to excite your customers. Dare to be different. Be daring, and you
will come up with new opportunities!
3. Review your business goals. To remain successful and continue to grow, you
must plan for your success. Strategic planning can be your blueprint to achieving your goals and planning for future growth. Set the right goals, believe in
them and fully give yourself to them, and a radical change, for the better, will
take place in your business.
4. Invest in or update your current point-of-purchase system.
5. Review the terms of your lease/loan for a better deal. You might be able to
secure a better deal or extend your lease to gain some tenant improvements
from the landlord. If you have a loan, go to your bank—you might be able to
refinance it. It’s worth a try. The worst thing you can hear is “no.”
6. Create a focus group. A focus group is an excellent way to collect fresh new
ideas. Gather 10 customers to brainstorm about your business. Ask the most
honest judges of your store—your customers and noncustomers. Talk to your
customers and listen; really listen.
7. Improve your image and customer service. Excellent customer service is no
accident; it takes a plan, a commitment and an atmosphere of service awareness in the store. Retailing today is about how the consumer feels. It is about
the feelings, not the “stuff.”
8. Build and improve your staff. Create a team that does the best possible job
for the store. When you and your staff feel the passion, you are going to be
dangerous in the marketplace.
9. Give your store a makeover. In a competitive retail environment, an effective
store design can give a retailer an advantage. Don’t fall blindly in love with
your store. This is what your customers are supposed to do!
10. Evaluate your store policies. The first step in evaluating your store policies
is to ask yourself a simple question: Are my store policies written for my convenience or my customers? Take a moment to answer honestly.
11. Turn backroom “junk” into gold. Mark it up, mark it down, return it or give
it away. It’s “dead money” if it’s just on a shelf.
12. Get to know your market and demographics—they might have changed.
Formerly homogenous communities are facing the demands of young families, immigrants and elders. As the composition of American households
Speaker Barbara Wold shares 15
things retailers can do now that will
pay off big later.
Plan for Success
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Tuesday, June 26
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continues to shift and the ethnic makeups of communities change, so should the mix of
products sold and the services offered.
13. Start a frequent buyer/loyalty program. Keep customers buying and increase sales as
much as 20 percent without adding advertising expenses by offering an incentive with a
high perceived value and a low cost to you. Turn it into a “special club.” This also gives
you an excuse to obtain database information that you can parlay into additional sales.
14. Be observant of any new consumer trends. The future of retail will be influenced by lifestyle trends, customer needs and their effect on spending. Trend and consumer awareness
are invaluable, teaching us to capitalize on the newest trends and services to be successful.
The awareness of trends comes from looking at all the possibilities, taking chances and
taking charge of the future now!
15. Help your customers shop around the clock. Retailers should experiment with store hours.
Opening on Sundays, if you are not already doing so, might be one way to increase traffic.
By being closed one day a week, you lose 52 days of sales a year. Talk to your customers
and other businesses in your downtown so everyone has consistent hours. •
Barbara Wold is an internationally known speaker and authority to the retail, consumer tourism and
hospitality industries. More than 40 years of firsthand experience in sales management, marketing and
repositioning have made Wold a sought-after speaker. She is also an authority on building business
through customer-driven strategy and has taught in more than 20 countries.
]“To remain successful and continue to grow, you must plan for your success. Strategic planning can be your blueprint to achieving your goals and planning for future growth.”