21 Mar 16 Ways to Grow Your Small Retail Business
If you’re a small business owner, you know all about hard work. You work long hours and do everything you can to close more sales and make more revenue. But did you know there are actually lots of ways to sell more?
Growing your small business doesn’t have to be expensive, and it doesn’t have to be complicated either. To give you an idea, here are 16 simple ways to improve your already great business and create all kinds of new opportunities that will eventually turn into cash:
- Create awesome window displays—Your front window is your business’s first impression. So make it count. Window displays are designed to grab attention and propel passersby into your store, so make your display compelling but not cluttered. Focus on one single sales message that will tell current customers that they’ve come to the right place and potential customers why they want to walk in.
- Give away something for free—Nothing attracts customers like an exciting promotion, so get creative. Sponsor a drawing for a free plane ticket to any customers who purchase before the end of the month. Provide gift bags to people who buy $50 of merchandise. Even a free trial of your product, a free consultation, or a money-back satisfaction guarantee will catch your customers’ attention and make them willing to buy now instead of later.
- Track your stats—As you’re selling your products, keep track of what sells quickly and when. Record your metrics and review them often so you’ll know how to handle your inventory. Buying too much of the wrong product will kill your sells metrics, but knowing exactly what your customers are looking for and when will help you make smart decisions in the future.
- Take advantage of technology—According to a Bank of America survey, nearly 64 percent of small business owners say they wish they took advantage of technology innovations more often and more strategically. Why? Because there are so many smart options out there. Automating aspects of your business will save you time and money as you’re developing your company, so really think about your company’s needs and seek out accessible technologies to help you.
- Try selling online—Speaking of technology, considering selling your product online. Creating a company website isn’t half as hard as it used to be, and having an online presence will help you reach customers all over the world. Having a presence on social media will help drive sales too by guiding customers to your website and to your brick and mortar store. Tweet about special events and offerings, and always announce on Facebook if you’re having a discount.
- Expand your network—Getting your company name out there and building relationships are two of the best ways to get business rolling. Make appearances at trade shows, panels, university career fairs—anyplace where you can meet other businesspeople like you. You never know when opportunities and long-term business relationships will come your way.
- Join forces with another business—As you’re networking, keep your eyes open for opportunities to forge partnerships. Working together with other businesses to promote each other’s products is a great way for both of you to make more sales. Plus it’s basically free marketing. Offer coupons for each other’s products; have your salespeople recommend your partner’s business to your customers. You’d be surprised what small steps can do.
- Communicate with your customers—It’s much easier to sell to existing customers than to track down new customers. Collect your customers’ email addresses and phone numbers so you can tell them about promotions or share your monthly newsletter. Most customers appreciate the occasional text message with special offers, but always give them the chance to opt out of texting or email. Existing customers are also a great way to get referrals and suggestions for new products. Just ask.
- Start a customer loyalty program—Rewarding your customers for sticking around is a fantastic long-term sales plan. Launching your program might cost some money in the beginning, but once customers find out about your loyalty discount or your points system that leads to free gift cards, they’ll be much more likely to buy more and return to you instead of a competitor. Create a program that makes sense for you and your products.
- Hire awesome people—No matter what your retail company is selling, you need great people to sell your product. Focus on hiring the right people who really want to work for you and you’ll save a lot more money than by hiring people fast. Just ask the right interview questions and treat your employees well to encourage longevity. And along with hiring great people . . .
- Teach your employees to offer incredible customer service—In the retail world, people are always looking for the newest, shiniest product for the cheapest price. But even the best product out there will leave a bad taste in customers’ mouths if the buying experience is terrible. Stand out from other retailers by making your customer service meaningful and excellent. Get your entire sales team on board.
- Focus on your brand—In today’s saturated sales market, branding and brand reputation is everything. You want your customers to remember you and know instantly what you’re selling, so it’s worth your time to build a brand, come up with taglines, and design a logo people will remember. Call on a professional marketer if you need to.
- Have great products and diversify—Even the best business will struggle to grow if it’s offering subpar products. Do everything you can to offer the best products you can, and even if you’re fantastic at selling one particular item, try to diversify your product offerings. This will help you turn first-time customers into repeat customers by giving them something to upgrade to.
- Research, research, research—The only way to stay ahead of the market is to always be researching your industry. Find out what the new, up-and-coming product is. Research your competition to learn about their mistakes and successes. And most important of all, research your target audience. Conduct surveys, online searches, and interviews to find out exactly what your customer base is looking for and how to sell it to them more effectively.
- Give to charity—Want to get your company’s name out there and help people at the exact same time? Start by donating regularly to a charity. Customers appreciate businesses that genuinely care about the community, so support a charity that relates to your business values. It will make an impression on your customers, and according to Forbes, charitable giving has been proven to increase office morale and employees’ satisfaction at work. Don’t miss the opportunity.
- Offer financing options to your customers—You’ll never be able to sell to everyone, but did you know that financing options can greatly expand your potential customer base? Partnering with a consumer financing company helps all kinds of customers afford your products, no matter what kind of credit score they have. And best of all: these options won’t cost you a dime. Click here to learn more.