Building a successful retail business, both online and offline, takes a significant amount of work to get off the ground. Taking your business to the next level can be a daunting challenge, but growing your retail business is worth it in the long run, increasing profits and further cementing your brand in the industry. With these tips and tricks, you can elevate your retail business.
It is expected that online sales will account for 13.7 percent of retail sales worldwide by the end of 2019 and potentially reach 17.5 percent by 2021. E-commerce is rapidly gaining ground, and as technology advances, online retail sales will only increase. To take your digital store to the next level, be sure your site has features that make your customers’ shopping experiences better.
When customers shop in a brick-and-mortar store, there are employees to assist them, and one of the key responsibilities of employees is to answer any questions a shopper may have. However, when shopping online, customers don’t have a physical person to turn to and must communicate with a business through a phone calls, emails, social media, or live chats.
Through various studies, it has been shown customers prefer live chat over email, phone, and social media communication. Live chat allows shoppers to speak directly to an employee of your business or a chat bot with programmed responses through an instant messenger interface. Both live chat options enable shoppers to have their questions answered in real time through a back-and-forth conversation not dissimilar to texting a friend. Live chat can easily be added to any website through APIs (application programming interface) or a different software plug-in.
The ability for customers to instantly have their questions answered creates a positive customer service experience that endears the shopper to your business. Live chat is also personalized service, as a well-implemented live chat system allows your employees to see what page the shopper is on, what other pages they have visited, and other information that makes helping the shopper easier.
The smartphone has allowed shoppers to shop from anywhere in the world, and mobile shopping is poised to overtake desktop shopping as the preferred method of purchasing goods online. Thankfully, if you have an online store, then it is not difficult to make that store suitable for mobile devices. Many e-commerce platforms handle the hardest parts of creating a mobile site and allow you to skip much of the headache. Take the time to properly optimize your mobile store, as a poor mobile store is worse for your business than not having a mobile store at all.
Many elements go into making a successful brick-and-mortar retail store, but there are small details that can push an already successful store to the next level.
Hiring and Training
Sales associates are the people responsible for doing the actual selling, so if you are looking to increase sales it is a good idea to invest in your staff.
Hire people who want to be there and show an interest in your products. Finding quality employees does require a larger time commitment during the interview process, but the value of good staff members cannot be understated.
Training employees is vital in creating a positive experience for your shoppers and customers. Many stores mistakenly prioritize cleaning and stocking over other processes that more directly impact shoppers. Instead, focus on training employees so they are comfortable with the POS system for faster checkout, and knowledgeable on store inventory so they can best assist shoppers. Once an employee has been trained, don’t bog them down with housekeeping duties, but instead let them focus on customer service. It is important to keep your store clean and orderly, but not at the expense of shopper engagement and interaction.
People shop with their eyes before anything else, so it is important that your store’s merchandising is visually appealing. Create multidimensional displays with varying heights, colors and depths. Do be careful not to overwhelm shoppers with overly loud visuals and designate a focal point to help shoppers focus on specific items. Demonstration or sample products are a good way to introduce items shoppers may have looked past otherwise.
Raising your retail business to the next level can be challenging, but focusing on key elements with a large impact will make the process easier. Flesh out your online store with live chat and a mobile version. Invest in hiring and training quality staff members then set them up for success with working procedures. Keep your store visuals interesting with dynamic displays that showcase products and entice shoppers to consider new items.
About the writer: Nick Rojas combines 20 years of experience working with and consulting for small to medium business and a passion for journalism to help readers grow. He writes about technology, marketing, and social media for the aspiring entrepreneur. When Nick is not sharing his expertise, he can be found spending time at the beach with his dog Presto.
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