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    Are you one of those business owners thinking of how to increase retail sales of your store? Are you also witnessing a slump in your top line while your competitors are making money? This blog is for you wherein you can get some of the key insights which can help you increase the footfall and the sales figures.

    The operating costs of running a brick and mortar store are already very high and with eCommerce disrupting this space, it becomes pertinent for retailers to stay in the game and come out with creative ways to increase retail sales.

    This blog post will provide you with some tricks and practices that can be implemented without much effort towards achieving improved sales performance of your business. These are time-tested practices focused on increasing sales in the retail business. Let’s get started.

    1. Trained and Knowledgeable Retail Staff

    As Richard Branson said: “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business; it is as simple as that.” Your employees are your biggest assets and if they are groomed properly then you will see a lot of delighted customers at your store. If your employees are qualified and well-trained, your customers get a better shopping experience and the likelihood of their return gets higher. Thus, the employees must be equipped with all the necessary knowledge and skills required for them to excel in the performance of their duties and responsibilities. They must also be well-informed about the products and services of the store so that they could pitch better to the customers.

    This task could be made significantly easier with a well-planned recruitment strategy. The better the job analysis is, the better are the chances of hiring the right person.

    Apart from the experience and skill set, one also needs to have the zeal for what they do or would be doing. It is your responsibility as an owner to ensure that your team is passionate about their jobs which will translate to great customer experience.

    1. Looks Matter – Visual Merchandising

    Bill Gates once said: “If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.” What one sees is what he buys. A customer walking in a market full of branded retail stores or walking into a swanky mall will not enter the store which is not appealing to his eyes. On the flip side, a store that has an attractive visual merchandising will entice the visitor to walk in and have a look. One can go for a cross-merchandising strategy for customers to match and buy more. Lighting should be well tuned to your products, soothing music in the background is always pleasing to ears, and multi-dimensional displays by tweaking the visual aspects of it are some of the tactics here which can be adopted to increase retail sales.

    By displaying products in a perfect combination increases your opportunity of upselling and cross-selling. The bottom line is you should do everything possible for customers to get a positive vibe from your store that they cannot help but check your store to see something worthy for them.

    1. Keep Playing with the Visuals

    Once you have set your visual merchandising, display and everything, it’s not over yet. Rather it is just the beginning, you have to keep playing with your visuals.  Try different combinations, keep experimenting and figure out what works the best for you. Visual creativity is a fancy tool to improve sales in retail. It is a general human tendency to get bored with the status quo and seek comfortable changes. Thus, you should keep your merchandize fresh and attractive with the new arrivals section to be the focal point.

    There is no one size fits all design and visuals which will work forever and thus as a retail business, you should evolve with time and adopt the latest trends. This is a litmus test for your visual merchandising skills and its upgradation will pull more footfalls into your store.

    1. Inventory Management

    You don’t want to be in a situation wherein you have to tell the customer that the product he is looking for is out of stock. If it happens too many times, even your loyal customers might shift sides. This is the last thing you would ever want to happen in a business. You should ensure that your store does not have to say no to customers because of poor retail merchandising and inventory management. Also, one should guard against the excess inventory to reduce the inventory holding cost. As a retailer, you should have active retail merchandising practices and a sound retail inventory management system in place. In a nutshell, if you want happy customers then identify the right products and keep them available.

    1. Smooth Check-out

    A smooth check-out is vital to ensure a seamless shopping experience for the customers. Time is money for people these days and if you are saving customers’ time then you are adding value to their time. No one likes waiting in a long queue to pay bills; it becomes frustrating for customers. And they might also drop the idea of visiting your store again despite all the plus points with your store but a smooth check-out. Under routine circumstances, an average of 6-8 minutes is a relatively long time for a customer to wait in a check-out queue post which he might begin to feel a bit frustrated.

    There are various ways to speed up the check-out operation. You can consider having additional counters in case of long queues or on holidays or special occasions. In certain cases, you can have a free delivery service for bulk purchases with the option of online payment. Also, you can have multiple payment options (retail POS system, Mobile Wallet, PayPal, etc.) at your billing counters to the convenience of the customers and to speed up the check-out.

    You should also contemplate going for the contactless payment (Samsung Pay, Apple Pay) at a time when internet and smartphone penetration is on an all-time high.

    1. Unmatched Customer Service

    The customer is the king, remember? Your company should provide excellent customer support to all the customers during and even after their buying journey. You should have a 24*7 customer care number to address all the queries and grievances of your customers. Also, routine grievances should be resolved within a reasonable time. Customer service is a key differentiator and can go a long way in customer retention. You can also think of chatbots for your website/app (if you have one) to communicate with a visitor who can be a potential customer. Personalized attention to customers enhances the credibility of your brand. Retail SOPs can play a big role in building a robust customer service platform.

    1.   Personalization Matters

    Everyone feels good when they are treated personally and the same is applied to retail customers.

    The on-the-floor communication between your sales team and your customers is the medium through which your customers get to know not just about your products and services but also your business’s seriousness about customer service and support. This communication here could be the make or break factor for generating a positive customer response and customer loyalty. A personalized (but not invasive) degree of communication could go a long way in making customers feel welcome.

    Different customers visit your store with different and unique requirements. A personalized approach will help your salespersons better understand and address your customers’ requirements.

    Remembering the tastes, preferences, and requirements of your frequent customers and ensuring the availability of such products in your store will help generate customer loyalty. Personalization in retail need not be a strategy but a part of the work culture.

    1. Rewards, Rewards, and more Rewards!!

    Rewards, by whatever name it is referred to, is a good marketing technique. In a perfectly competitive market, rewards become an addition to the offering. You can offer certain freebies to your loyal customers in the form of retail discounts and discount coupons, complimentary gifts, reward points for future purchases, loyalty programs, membership benefits, etc. Everyone feels good when they are offered something additional and useful.

    For instance, many departmental stores sell below the printed price which acts as a reward to their customers. Such cuts might hurt the profit margins but it is compensated by the volume of sales.

    1.   Go Digital!

    Digital presence has become a standard. You should make sure that people get to see your business online even if you do not run your business over the internet. The two most compelling reasons for this are – it will add value to your brand and more and more people will get to know about your business. With an increasing footprint of smartphones, internet, and online businesses, having a digital presence, even in a simple form like a local business listing makes your business visible to the online local audiences including your existing customers.

    But if you are serious about targeting a wider customer base that goes beyond your local limits, going digital is one of the most popular ways. Going online doesn’t mean that you shut your store and completely go online, rather it is advisable to run your business both on both online and offline formats – either multichannel or omnichannel.

    By going online, you are providing the option to your customers to order from the comfort of their homes. In the hectic lives of busy cities, by going online your store would be saving customers’ time, money, and efforts and thus, making their lives simpler. Faster delivery, easy return policy, quick refund, etc. are some of the features you should offer.

    One thing to ensure here is that your website/app should be device-friendly with a simple and effective interface. Plus you will have to do some digital marketing.

    About us

    Your Retail Coach (YRC) is a retail consulting and eCommerce outsourcing company in India offering a wide range of services in retail offline, retail eCommerce and retail omnichannel catering to a multitude of industries.

    Read Part 1-   How to Increase Retail Sales? – Part 2