Making Your Retail Business Flourish During a Recession
Even during the current slower economic times there are shops that are selling well and making money while others are quiet and struggling. So what's the difference? Talking to some friends in retail it seems to have a lot to do with stock levels. The retailers who are getting new stock in, making their shops look full and busy are attracting customers and have good sales while their retail neighbours who are trading on their old stock are finding it slow and hard.
So here are 7 great retail tips for making your shop successful even during hard times:
1. Get back to basics and look to what products have worked best for you over the last few years so you can make it happen again. Fads have a limited life span but there are plenty of good products that have longer life spans than we sometimes give them credit for. For example, if you sell shoes and previously did well with the clear plastic shoes storage boxes but stopped carrying them 12 months ago simply because they sold out and you didn't get round to ordering more, get them back in and make a feature of them. Keep it simple, look to previously successful products and repeat the profitable income.
2. Keep stock levels up as customers are attracted to high stock levels. If the shop is looking empty then customers will think there's nothing new to see whereas when the shop is full customers think there's something interesting and new to see. It is fine to repeat the stock items, use display methods that take up more space - such as having books with covers facing out rather than spines facing out - to give the effect you're after.
3. Have shelves looking full even if you're low on stock. Bring stock to the front of the shelf so the customers are attracted to the abundance effect. Put reserve stock out to keep the shelves looking full. The customer doesn't need to know that your store room is empty, what matters to them is how full the shop looks. Understand your customer's psychology and appeal to it. People are attracted to success so make your shop look successful.
4. Look to your best sellers and make sure you have them prominently displayed in ways that have worked before for you. Go with the tried and tested good sellers and keep them in stock. I was talking with one supplier about a popular accessory range he carries and some shops have stopped carrying it because the owner is tired of them - even though they are still selling very well. Other shops continue to carry the range and are quickly turning over the stock and making money on the line. He remains baffled but is still making the line because it is profitable and popular. So think of your customers, what are the popular product lines that sell well and keep them in stock, even if you're over the range the money will still make you feel good.
5. Suppliers are eager to keep their sales ticking over too and while they are finding some of their retail customers are cutting orders they are more eager than ever to look after their ordering customers because that's where the money is. So try making it work for you. You should have a good relationship with your sales reps so find out what size order is needed to get a good discount for a popular product so you can run a good value sale that will increase sales and please your customers.
6. Try new items that are similar to previously successful product ranges and present them with good signage and display to attract customers. They'll compliment your existing good selling lines as well as giving you more new products to show regular customers. A local gift and jewellery shop has a great A-Frame board that goes out the front to announce news like new products in store to bring passing-by traffic come in. They also announce sales and special events on the white board in different coloured marker pens. Get new products in and tell your customers about it.
7. While it is always important to be current with the season's trends it is also important to keep in mind the basics that customers want and value. So keep a balance working so the regular sales income from the valuable cash cows keeps coming in and regular customers know to come back regularly to see what's new.
So good luck with making it come together and remember to look after customers so they know they are really valued. There's always a lot of opportunity it challenging time so be ready to make the most of it.