Five tips for retail in the era of e-commerce
This is the age of e-commerce, and 1.66 billion customers prefer to shop online, rather than walk to a brick and mortar store. If you were to take this fact seriously, you could either drop the idea of retail and make an online store, or you could do some research and make your retail store idea a success.
No matter how much we love shopping online, all of us have to step into a physical store at some point. For example, how likely are you to step into a Duty-Free shop at the airport? Or, how many times have you made a grocery store run, despite the frequency of online grocery-ordering services?
We all need to go to a store at some point, and if you are thinking of selling food, you are at an even better place. Don’t let that store idea go into oblivion, and adopt these tips to make your brand recognizable:
Where is your store? Choosing a location is one of the most important steps towards retail success. This is a difficult thing to achieve for many because buying a physical store is way more expensive than signing up for an online website. If you are a passionate business owner who wants to thrive in retail, look for a store that doubles the value of your merchandise.
Be aware of the surroundings of your store; you don’t want to open a high-end store in a low-end area of a town. Research about the area and user demographic before you finalize a store location.
Another tip that can give your new store a boost is opening one right next to a competitor with a steady flow of customers. It is just like presenting more choices to people who came looking for the product you sell. When you are right next to a brand they regularly visit, they can always step in for a tour.
Lastly, never settle for a location that is close to your house; you have to think like a customer and make decisions that will influence the decisions of your target customer. Your store will have a following when you open it at a good location and brand it well.
Another expensive part of opening a retail store is the merchandise. This often eats up a lot of your capital, because you want things to look perfect. This task should not be left for the very end, and you can’t ignore it over other tasks either. If you have confusion over some choices, visit a wholesale store to get an idea of stockings and merchandise patterns.
Choosing merchandise is always a fun job to do since it is a primary step towards decorating a store you had always envisioned. E-commerce has made us slaves to a white page with neatly aligned photos and videos of items. We have to make an effort to click and view items on an e-commerce store, whereas, a physical store is different. In a brick and mortar store, we just walk through the aisles, waiting to see what lies ahead. You must design the outlook of your store around a theme.
You can easily choose the right merchandise when you stay true to your theme. For example, if you step into a body shop outlet, you will find products that correspond to a specific theme. Gift baskets and seasonal gift items are always in the front, whereas, each collection has a different color to it.
By aligning your merchandise, you familiarize your customers with a pattern which they will remember the next time they step into your shop.
Work with people who are as interested in your line of work as you are. If you hire someone who has just shown up so they can pay their bills, you might not get the quality of work you envisioned for your store. Whatever your line of work is, you will be best suited with young people who are also pursuing a degree that matches your field.
Do not hesitate to ask tough questions when interviewing people for your store management. The management will report to you directly, so you need to hire people who are good at what they do and humble about it. It is easier to work around your team when everyone respects their position. If there is a technical job in the store, ask the person about their history with software and the current trends about it.
No matter how amazing your store prices are, the danger of theft always looms in a retail store. E-commerce stores are not completely free from this danger either, but at least people can’t steal and run with an item from an e-commerce store. The best way to handle this flaw is to keep a tight grip around your inventory. Keep a digital list or benefit from a paid software that helps you do inventory. Furthermore, you must have strict laws to punish if an employee is caught stealing.
Now that you have the management and merchandise in check, how to make people frequently visit your store? The best way to deal with this issue is to have an event or two in your store every month. These events can be a good icebreaker about who you are and what you sell. Send people home with a small sample of your product or a gift card. You have to make a lasting impression on the mind of your customers.
The best day to hold an event is either a Friday evening or a Saturday. You can expect more people to show up on holidays as well. Don’t confuse these events as something that will take weeks to plan. Simply have a store visit or a new collection launch to create a buzz about it.
If you have a shoe or apparel store, you can have a popular stylist visit the store and have a mini how-to session to teach people how to style their outfits better. These shoppertainment events popularize your brand and also create some hype on social media. For instance, you can have a Snapchat filter for an upcoming event.
Just like Snapchat filters, your social media profiles should always stay abuzz about the amazing items present in your store. Imagine this scenario: a popular influencer spots a beautiful set of candles on your brand’s Instagram and comments whether he or she can buy it online. Another great idea is to have a lookbook on your website, just like this one on Leather Skin Shop.
You tell them that this item is only available at your physical store. There is a strong chance that a person who liked the product will show up at your physical store and go back online to flaunt their purchase.
Your store must have an internet presence through social media, which is completely free of cost marketing medium. You can always boost a Facebook post to reach more audiences, which can result in more people liking your profile to stay connected about the upcoming season collections.