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Articles

Published June 2005

55 Easy Ways To Improve Your Retail Business

By Bob Nelson

When results count, you'll find that highly successful people aren't any more talented or intelligent than you are, they simply have learned how to do things in a different and more profitable way.

Here's a comprehensive list of practical customer-winning ideas, tips and techniques to set your business apart and make it a successful experience.

CUSTOMER ANALYSIS:

1.) Find out who your customers are and what they are seeking.

2.) Profile your customers by age, income, occupation, etc.

3.) Know the reasons why customers shop at your store? (service, convenience, dependability, quality, promptness, or competence).

4.) Understand the market forces affecting the consumer's attitude when it comes to price and what they expect to pay.

5.) Emphasize areas of appeal such as: special sizes, lower prices, better service, wider selection, good location, or convenient hours.

6.) Offer unique products at prices your customers can well afford.

7.) Have a tracking system for how many customers shop your store every day.

8.) Seek suggestions from your best customers on ways you can boost business.

9.) Try to re-establish lost or inactive customers.

10.) Use a store questionnaire to aid you in determining customers' needs.

11.) Plan on making any changes to satisfy the new value-conscious consumer.

CUSTOMER RELATIONS:

12.) Improve your return policies.

13.) Make it a policy to give cash refunds when requested by the customer.

14.) Offer customers a "no hassle" satisfaction guarantee.

15.) Use a suggestion box and customer want slips.

16. Extend your store hours.

17.) Accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.

18.) Analyze complaints and take action to prevent recurrence.

19.) Train employees to service and work with customers in a professional manner.

20.) Call customers to let them know when new items have arrived.

21.) Have lots of convenient parking for customers to use.

22.) Have a clean bathroom available for customers to use.

23.) Grade your store's location every year in regards to and accessibility.

24.) Create a system to let customers know how much you appreciate their business.

MANAGEMENT SKILLS:

25.) Use advertising techniques to create urgency and motivate customers to buy now.

26.) Test different aspects for promoting business: -- new offers --new items -- new prices -- special announcements -- stronger ads and better headlines.

27.) Know what type of advertising methods work the best to attract customers (direct mail, newspaper, television, radio).

28.) Use memorable advertising that sets your business apart from the competition.

29.) Create new opportunities for customers to purchase more frequently from your store.

30.) Implement proven business formulas of other successful retail firms.

31.) Replace outdated methods with new techniques and better resources for retailing in today's high-tech, fast-moving, and competitive marketplace.

32.) Set up an inventory control system in regards to shrinkage, performance, amount of merchandise, mark-up, profit and turnover.

33.) Determine whether to price certain items below, at, or above the market.

34.) Utilize a system for tracking slow-moving merchandise and those products that are your best-sellers.

35.) Use different ways to arrange and display merchandise that will make it easier for customers to buy.

36.) Know your average sales transaction and what you can do to increase it.

37.) Increase your sales transactions by offering better prices, more value, sales incentives, or add-ons.

38. Know which products are price-sensitive to your customers, that is, when a slight increase in price will lead to a drop-off in demand.

39.) Know the maximum price customers are willing to pay for certain items.

40.) Computerize your business to help streamline everyday tasks such as inventory control, point of sale, and overall business analysis.

41.) Evaluate the amount of inventory you carry, and fine tune your operating expense ratios on a regular basis.

42.) Buy distinctive merchandise that fits into a niche your competitors don't have.

INSIGHTS FOR A SKILLED MARKETER:

43.) Attend trade shows that provide the latest technology, inventory systems, educational seminars, and other industry related resources.

44.) Use newsletters as a "marketing tool" to remind customers of the products or services you provide.

45.) Create a budget for both regular and off-price merchandise, and do you know what role they should play in your buying strategy.

46.) Establish dependable resources where you can buy current, name brand and designer merchandise below wholesale prices.

47.) Make it an effort to buy promotional and off-price merchandise to improve your profit margin.

48.) Buy private-label merchandise to avoid the same line prices of your direct competition.

49.) Join other stores like yours in area-wide buying programs to receive better prices or trade discounts.

50.) Do cross-marketing by joining forces with restaurants, clubs, or whatever to jointly develop special promotions.

51.) Belong to trade associations and subscribe to newsletters and trade publications to keep you informed.

52.) Involve employees in making suggestions for improving business and cutting costs.

53.) Implement a program to reward your employees for their extra efforts and innovative ideas.

54.) Empower employees to make important decisions, even if it means losing a small amount of money to make your customers happy.

55.) Don't let emotions get in the way of making sound business decisions.

Browse our Business Knowledsge Engine for other informative articles on starting and growing a business in Canada!

Categories: sales, retail, marketing, management

Author Info

Bob Nelson is President of POWER Retailing. He can help you improve salës and p.rofits, turn inventory into c.ash, and recover the monëy invested in your business and you only pay for results. For fr.ee information on how to simplify your marketing efforts and add dollars to your bottom line, visit http://www.retailing.com For practical answers to specific business quëstions, call Bob at 480-460-1980 or contact him by e-mail: bnelson@retailing.com

2005 © Power Retailing, Inc. All rights reserved.