I spoke last week at the Life Instyle trade show on this very topic and chatted to many many retailers about their business.
Retail has been copping it even more than usual with negative press, businesses going into receivership and stores closing left right and centre. However I still work with many stores who are thriving. Their sales are increasing, data shows customers are coming back again and again and they have a really strong business with strong sales and a great bottom line profit.
What do they have in common? What are they doing to make sure they are one of the stores that THRIVE and not just survive or disappear altogether?
I have created this list of 10 things you should be doing or understand implicity in your store to THRIVE.
1. Have a database/mailing list/client details!! SO many stores do not have this or have not worked on building this. It is crucial to make sure you build your database (you own this remember- unlike Instagram followers!) and serve them.
This means keeping in regular contact and not just sending them Sales offers but keeping them up to date with local events, topics that as your target market they are interested in, (this may be travel or recipes or other things besides your products). If you have workshops on or have added new brands in store or have you have found a fabulous new biodegradable packaging. Let them know!!
image shown from my fave email system 🙂
You should be sending them an email at the bare minimum once a week or fortnightly at worst.And you cannot worry about unsubscribes. Move on. Build up new followers who want your information.
You need to connect with your loyal customers on a level like never before. Staff should know them, help them, understand and solve their problems. How well do you know your customers? Not just your best ones or those who spend the most. How about those who tell all their friends about you?
Those who comment on every instagram post? Those who support you when things are quiet or slow periods. You should be making sure you connect with these customers or yours and what makes them tick. What are they passionate about? Why do they shop with you? How do you make them feel apart of your community?
This is the new metric of retail. You need to offer customers an experience. Something they cannot get from online. Customers need to feel something in store. How do you create that palpable and positive experience that magically incites a purchase?
The famous quote by Maya Angelou can be applied here.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Music and Ambience. A sense of belonging. A sense that they are part of something. What does your store convey?
Calm, fun, joy, sustainability, evokes a sense of calm, homely.
This is an essential element of any bricks and mortar store now and needs to be considered very carefully and thoughtfully.
the warming tones of baby pink at @playa by lucy folk
4. Target Market.
Your understanding of who your customer is and what needs they have is crucial. To truly know who your customer is. To anticipate their needs. To solve their problems. To excite and entice them to come in and see what is new, what new buys you have found, what fashion you have selected for the season ahead.
Create your avatar (you may have a few depending upon your store). Understand everything about them. Use language in your writing and messaging that talks to this person. Customers will feel like you are talking directly to them when ever you communicate to them.
Buy for this person and market to this person. It will make all your communication easier if you know who you are talking to.
5. Buying and Selling
Speaking of knowing your customer. Make sure you buy smart for them. Continue to show them new things, new categories, new designs. Don’t stick with the same old same old stock.
Understand how to have correct amount stock levels and buy for that. Use your sales projections and really break it down per category. How much stock do you need to meet your projections. Is it the right stock? Have an OTB spreadsheet.
Make sure you get new and varied stock and categories in store. Test out new, remove slow movers and low margins items. You are better off selling off a product that does not work quickly with a sale or promotion and getting more money for new stock than holding that stock for too long.
6. Point of Difference.
What is yours? Why should customers come to you? What is unique about you? What do you have that is not available anywhere else? What do you provide that other shops do not? What special items have you sourced? What collaborations have you created?
I tell the story in my workshops about a pair of kids shoes I sourced for my store back in early 2013 or 2014. They were Schier Shoes from ~ Swakopmund, Namibia. The cutest and softest pair of handmade leather shoes for little ones. I only ordered $700 worth so not breaking the bank. BUT they were new. No-one else had them or had see them before. They had a story. They had a point of difference.
Cute right? The second time I ordered them I had special custom gold leather on the tips!!
7. Social Media.
Absolute essential to be present here and talking to your customers with video, emails, photography and conversations and engagement. Not just sales and product but about your store, behind the scenes, creating own original content and being active and continue learning new technology and methods.
You are selling a lifestyle, a feeling, an aspiration not just products.
One of my fave instagrams @nikau.store
Customers need to buy online, preview what is available online, or just use the website to decide whether they should visit.A bricks and mortar store needs the website to support them and who they are. If you are doing a good job of marketing and building your audience and spending on advertising etc…. it seems a big giant waste to not have this as a revenue stream also.
The website should be a strong reflection of your whole brand. Whole customer experience is essential. The online store should match the aesthetic of your bricks and mortar store and the whole customer journey should be considered.
One of my favourites at the moment is Crate Expectations. Firestone Digital have designed this and I love a lot about it!! The navigation, the large format imagery, the pop up, the ease of buying and adding to cart. Check them out if you need help on this front.
9. Customer Service and Customer Experience (CX).
Customer experience is all the interactions between a customer and a store/brand. The interaction can include awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy, purchases and service.Customer service is one element of the whole customer experience. Your customer service needs to go above and beyond. What else can you do for your customer?
What can you do for them that they cannot get from online shopping?
Understand your customer and what excites your customer? Is it the home delivery you provide?, the facetime call to walk them through your store? The gift with purchase or special bag or note you include with every purchase? Consider the whole customer journey a individual has with your store/brand.
Staff are essential to your store when it comes to this also. They help to create that feeling of passion for customers. Relationships are crucial. People buy from people.
The shiny silver bag I used in my retail store one season. And @jumbledonline git packaging.
10. Revenue Streams.
Consider an alternate revenue stream. What else can your Retail store be or provide or add to the community or tribe it services?
Workshops, events, social occasions, special orders, wholesale, private label??? What can you do to increase your overall margin in store, add extra sales or extra lump sums of income? What can you provide that engages your community and brings new people into store?
I hope this has helped you somewhat to consider some tings that you may not be doing already in your store.
What can you implement today or easily that will help you engage with customers more, take them on a journey, excite them and also have them feeling like part of you gang or tribe.
I cannot wait to hear!! Please let me know what changes this has inspired you to make. Send me a DM on instagram or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more imagery and visual stimulation check out my ever evolving pinterest page and join the mailing list for details on new challenges and courses coming your way soon.