Any retail store owner can tell you that a fiscal year has its ups and downs. This doesn’t mean that they are doing anything wrong; it’s just that sales slump after a while.
However, you as the business owner are not entirely powerless, as there are certain strategies you can adopt to help boost sales even during off season.
These methods are much simpler than you might think at first and they involve training your staff, better advertising, getting social, and improved money management.
How You Can Increase Business Profit
A retail business is not only dependent on customers, as they are the whole reason behind the existence of retail stores. The sooner you realize this, the better. You need to adjust the offer according to customers’ needs so implementing a solid customer relations policy is vital to increasing sales.
You need to follow your clients and potential shopper on social media to find out what they are presently interested in and provide them with that idem.
Perhaps one of your regulars is going hiking and he or she needs a large backpack that you don’t normally sell. What you can do is ask around and get the model they want from your suppliers.
This way, you ensure they make purchases in your store because you going the extra mile to get them what they want. Don’t think they won’t remember the next time they plan to buy a piece of clothing.
We have already mentioned the importance of social media. It is estimated that there are 2.38 billion accounts on Facebook and Instagram alone so you see why it is important to be present on social media. Post regularly, advertise new marketing campaigns, and promptly respond to inquisitive shoppers.
There are the basic rules on social media that will definitely help you boost sales. On the other hand, if your followers notice that you are slacking, slow to respond, and that you haven’t posted nothing new in months, then your online marketing strategy could backfire.
That is why a responsible stance on social media must be taken, even hiring a social media manager if necessary.
Be the Talk of the Town
One of the biggest weapons in the struggle of small, family-owned businesses against large corporations is their immersion in the local community. Over the years, entrepreneurs have grown their businesses into the community, which is an excellent business model that can be applied elsewhere.
In order to increase sales, your franchise should be the talk of the town, as more and more customers get to know your assortment. Feel free to invite the press to cover important milestones in the history of the company or take part in local sporting events.
Even a vintage and quaint street sign with your name on it should generate enough buzz that you become a household name.
Are the Prices Right
You’re in the business of making a profit; there no doubt about it but the root of your problem might be the prices. The profit margin should be set just right, so you are making enough money and attracting the biggest number of shoppers.
Any mis-balance between these two factors can lead to a drop in sales. If you start overcharging for goods, the number of customers will decrease, as they will find better offers elsewhere. Just take into consideration the scale of online shopping that will soon make for 10% of all global trade.
Yes, you will earn more per sold item but there will be no one to buy them. On the other hand, if you set the prices too low, then there will be an increase in sales but this influx of cash will be your swan song as you will lose money in the long run.
Also, if you sell all your stock too quickly, the warehouse will be left empty because suppliers are often slow to deliver, quite literally.
Increasing Warehouse Efficiency
Speaking of the warehouse, storage is another behind-the-scenes segment of daily operations that can aid your sales. Retails which are shop floor oriented often forget to organize the warehouse to be as efficient as possible. This results in increased operational costs that diminish the effects of a good advertising campaign.
What good is it to you if you are selling well with a comfortable profit margin if poor warehouse management is eating up thousands of dollars!
In order to cut down on costs of storage, you have to make the warehouse fully functional using modern technology, why not take advantage of conveyor belts, forklifts for hire and to-the-top palettes, when they can maximize the use of space and the retrieval process.
A fully automated warehouse might be a serious investment but it will pay off in no time if you improve the business operations in other segments.
A warehouse must be efficient rather than please the eye, but it is completely the opposite when it comes to the storefront. Visual merchandising is an integral part of boosting sales because humans are visual learners. It might seem odd to have a tacky and shiny shop window but this is the kind of stuff that will grab people’s attention.
Furthermore, you should take great care of how you place items that are up for sale. Supermarkets are at the forefront of this, as they place gums and other small items next to the cash register so people would buy them, for example.
You should hire merchandisers to the exact same job in your store, so you would be able to subliminally “suggest” to shoppers to buy at your place.
Keeping Track of the Expenses
Although you will have to invest heavily in your business in order to earn money, you do need to keep track of your finances. A new uniform that would look nice on an employee is an investment worth making but buying a massage chair in the lounge room might not money wisely spent.
Basically, you should be generous when it comes to things you really need but not too generous on luxuries. Only if you know where dime from your budget was spent, will you be able to calculate the balance sheet at the end of the year. Having said this, hiring a skilled accountant would count as a great investment.
A Timeless Offer
People get all hyped out about shopping that each Black Friday there are casualties and even fatalities. We’re not suggesting that your offer should be a killer bargain but that shoppers like to feel special. Instead of marking only national holidays with discounts, why not create a holiday of your own?
Yes, organize a franchise shopping night that will lure people out of their houses when the other stores are keeping the prices high. This way, your store will be special, the customers will feel special and the sales will be exceptionally high. It’s a win-win situation.
As you have seen from our examples, increasing your retail business profit is comprised out of several small steps. A discount here and there, meticulous accounting, and good warehouse management are key to expanding your business.
Furthermore, you can introduce these changes one after another, to avoid spamming potential shoppers and discouraging them from visiting your store(s). In fact, the completion has become so harsh these days that you will probably have to put into action all of these steps and come up with additional ones if you wish to stay afloat.
If you don’t open accounts on social media, set the prices right or improve customer relations, don’t doubt for a second that your competitors will.
Patrick Adams is a freelance writer and rock-blues fan. Besides writing about business, he works as a consultant for MLA Holdings, the best supplier of electric forklifts in Sydney.
He also loves to play chess, watch basketball, and play his guitar. More than anything, he loves to spend his time in his garage, repairing appliances and creating stuff from wood.
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