Let’s talk about retail marketing. Perhaps we should begin by addressing what is a retail sale and who is considered a “retailer.”
A retail sale happens when a finished product or “good” is purchased by the end user. You buy your groceries, shoes and most items from a retail seller. When, for instance, your grocer buys cases of soup for resale that is called a wholesale transaction. Your grocer is a “retailer” as he sales his goods to you, the end user. Your hairdresser is also a retailer but they sell services to you, again the end user.
Specifically let’s discuss on-site (within the walls of your store) marketing. We can, and should, look closely at reaching out and attracting potential customers via print ads, radio, TV and especially online advertising as it is second in cost only to your on-site marketing.
Top 5 Steps to Building your Customer Base
Greet Every Customer
If you don’t greet your customers as they enter your shop, don’t worry about it – you’ll probably never see them again!
This is so basic and yet far too many store managers don’t do it. We have all experienced this; you enter a store, the manager or employee is right there and yet they are “too busy” to smile and say hello? What could be more important than making your visitor feel welcomed and that you are happy to see them?
If you greet each person upon entering and thank them as they leave – even if they do not make a purchase – you will have made a great impression and secured a second visit.
You can tell the people that work for you what you want them to do….and some of them will, but more often they will do as you do. You must lead the way; greet every customer you see with warmth and a smile.
This trickle-down style of ownership, where the people that work for you see YOU doing what you ask of them, leads to teamwork and a “buying in” of all you as the owner/leader say and do.
As a store manager, I was over-the-top concerned about cleanliness and organisation. I constantly swept the floors, cleaned the rest rooms, organised the shelves and made sure the entry way was clear and presentable. In a short period of time even new employees were mirroring my efforts. Trickle-down-ownership is a great investment in your people and your business.
Make Sales Obvious
If your featured item is as hot as you think it is, make it accessible. When your new customer steps into your store your key item should be obvious. Whether it’s lighting, traffic flow or signage there should be no doubt that your offering – today’s sale item – is a great value.
Auto dealers always have the shiniest, sportiest and quite often most expensive cars in their showroom.
Along with this wonderful item you have for them it is essential to your business to expand your total sales dollars by having close at hand all the items that go along, or accessorise, your key item.
If it’s a man’s suit that is front and centre then a display of shirts, ties, belts and shoes should be nearby. A simple sale such as buying a coffee is quite often accompanied by a pastry and a suggestion that perhaps the customer would like to take advantage of a large coffee for only a few pennies more!
Solve a Problem
When a person enters your place of business it is your job to help them, to satisfy a need or solve a problem. They have come to you hoping that you will fill a need for them.
Maybe they need a new phone or a ring, perhaps a scarf to match their winter jacket. Now whether-or-not you have what they seek if you can help them in any way you will have made a new friend and began setting the foundation necessary for this customer to return to your shop.
So, it may be that you did not have the exact ring they were looking for today but, owing to the fact that you were so helpful they are quite likely to return to you when next they are looking for some other pieces of (hopefully expensive) jewellery.
Make a Friend – Earn a Customer
By helping to solve your customer’s problem you have made a new friend. They will be quite likely to speak well of you and your shop and to frequent your business when in the area.
To solidify this relationship and increase the probability of repeat visits a reward of some kind is a great idea. Many places will provide a gift or coupon based on number of visits or amount of sale. This is also a great opportunity to introduce them to your social media offerings as a way to increase your exposure and customer base.
As there are things you must do to establish your business there are also some things to avoid.
TWO SURE MISTAKES THAT WILL HAVE YOUR BUSINESS CIRCLING THE DRAIN
- If your place smells bad, it is bad – it’s a bad place! This should be a no-brainer but I bet that you, like me, have been driven out of an establishment by foul or strong odours. If you happen to be nose-blind (can’t smell) be sure to get a friend’s opinion.
- Dirty floors or carpets – once again this is a mistake that is so obvious that if you find you’ve committed it perhaps you should relinquish your plan of opening your own business.
If you truly want your own business and would enjoy working in your chosen field, then the secret to success is working so hard that you make it look easy…and then it will be.
- Moltz, B and Lesonsky, R. Small Business Hacks, 2018
- Karmoroff, B. Small Time Operator, 2013
- Small Business Administration <https://www.sba.gov/> [Accessed 21/01/2019].