There’s so much retail advice that goes around about selling and running a business. It is sometimes hard to decide what would work for us and what wouldn’t. When it came to curating the best retail advice for you, we said to ourselves, “What part of this advice would truly resonate with a retailer?”
We’ve split the topic into sections based on customers, marketing hacks and taking it one step further by going online. Here’s what experts have to say on these subjects.
A customer is the core of every business – it is only when someone buys from you that you have a business. Here’s how to give customers the best experience, whichever sales channel you opt for.
1. Denise Lee Yohn, Brand-Building Expert
“Your brand platform should describe your core customers with more distinguishing, meaningful characteristics — values, attitudes, needs, goals.”
–Scale Up Your Brand, Denise Lee Yohn Blog
Understanding who our customer is, what drives them to buy what they buy, what demographic they fall into, etc. is key. This helps you position your brand accordingly.
For example, your brand of eco-conscious pouches would ideally target a customer in the 30-50 age group, people who also feel strongly about sustainability, etc. Identifying this target group helps you further customize your products and advertise on the right platforms.
2. Micah Solomon, Customer Service Consultant
“If you don’t create a memorable experience for your customers, your story won’t spread. Customer service is indeed the new marketing.”
–Customer Service Expert Advice: 5 All-Time Top Tips, Forbes Magazine
In a way, customer service has always been the backbone of a memorable retail experience. In the digital age, how quickly you respond to a remote customer can often decide what they have to say about you.
Being good is great, but it is only the truly memorable experiences that can help you build a sustainable business.
3. Shep Hyken, Customer Service Expert, Author of ‘Amaze Every Customer Every Time’
“It’s inconvenient for the customer to have to repeat their story, and it only makes him more frustrated, if not angry. And as mentioned, it is a waste time for the support representative to have to listen to a story that’s already been told. If time is money, and it is, then that wasted time over a number of calls, can add up to a big number.”
–Why Must I Repeat Myself Again And Again?, LinkedIn Pulse
How many times have you transferred your customer through a barrage of call transfers when all they wanted was a simple solution to their problem? No one wants to repeat the same story to several different customer service executives, so try putting in place a system that lets after-sales service be a pleasant experience for everyone involved.
On The Right Kind Of Marketing
The only person who knows your business in and out is you. You have thrived through changing markets and emerging shopping trends to get to where you are. Why not make your business even better?
4. Sucharita Mulpuru, Chief Retail Strategist at Shoptalk.
“Content is your friend if you use it right. Email campaigns, newsletters, catalogs and even useful coupons can all help drive sales.”
When everyone is going after traditional advertising, take the alternate route to get to conversion faster. Carefully designed and curated content can give you just the sales push you to need.
5. Vignesh Subramanyan, Content Marketing Manager AT Radius
“So with a growing trend of “super savvy shoppers”, how can retailers attract consumers into their stores? How can retailers combat showrooming and revert retail stores into a place of purchase? One possible answer is the adoption of technology within the retail store.”
–How To Lure Shoppers Back To Retail Stores?, Business2Community
Several customers these days step into retail stores, only to buy the product for a cheaper price from another channel. Making checkout faster in-store, providing more person-to-person interaction and providing store staff with handy information through devices is one good way to make the in-store experience just as seamless as buying online.
6. Armando Roggio, eCommerce Professional
Online stores that see a fair bit of success may fail when they turn into physical stores. Logistics and daily operations turn into a nightmare. In order to get customers used to the idea of a physical store, online campaigns and social media advertising can go a long way.
You can also segue your online and offline presence by accepting returns and offering trials for products ordered online, in-store.
On Selling Online
Taking your physical store online can be a very overwhelming process for you. If you don’t do it right, it could be a tiring process for your customers too.
7. Ian Irving, Founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief, HATCH Magazine
“We are seeing the world of retail and the high street going through a tectonic shift, with brands taking a new approach to ‘bricks and mortar’ and ‘clicks and mortar’ and the ‘lean retail’ approach is seeing a HUGE increase in ‘pop-ups’.”
–Welcome To The First Edition Of Hatch Magazine, LinkedIn Pulse
There was once a wide line between physical retail and its digital counterpart, and there’s no better time to jump in on the digital bandwagon. Visual appeal will be a huge part of selling, and it is up to you as a retailer to provide rich visual detail in your selling channels.
8. Neil Saunders, CEO of research and consulting firm Conlumino
“The blunt truth is that while stores remain a vital part of the retail mix, they are not quite as relevant as they used to be”
–Target Is Soaring Past Walmart and Amazon In The Most Important Category, Business Insider
In the excitement of going online, it is easy to forget that we have our physical stores to attend to as well. A good strategy is to keep investing in the online store while ensuring that physical stores still remain relevant to customers.
You can do this by having separate in-store and online promotions, curating a few products so they’re available to try and buy physically and giving customers the option of ordering online and picking the product up at a store. The idea is to integrate both channels into a smooth shopping experience.
9. Chris Petersen, CEO of IMS Inc.
When an expert’s blog title itself reads ‘Results Count … everything else is a conversation’, you know he has some solid advice to give. Mr. Petersen talks about the ‘Unstore’, or the idea of a store is more than just a box to sell things in.
Don’t call yourself a store. Do everything that a traditional store would never do. Have space for events, turn them into places people gather at.
In the online context, this could mean having forums and discussion groups for your product. If you sell apparel, have a style forum where people throw in their ideas and perhaps create new trends in the process.
While it is completely true that any advice can only back the product you sell, following through with some of it can actually put you ahead of your peers.