Retail locations still make up a vast majority share of commerce in today's economy, meaning optimizing your retail location can be just as important (if not more) than strategizing whether or not you need to join the online game. Here are a few tips to improve your retail with today's advancements and advantages.
"Everybody got a deal, I did it without one," sings Canadian hip hop artist, Drake. Although, in reality, Drake may be alone on this one if we apply it to the world of retail. With timed sales in eCommerce (Gilt, MyHabit by Amazon, Fab, Rue La La and the list goes on), liquidation retailers (T.J. Maxx, Overstock.com), and Groupon competitors popping up all over the world, we as shoppers are getting pretty darn used to deals. As a retailer, do not 'discount' the power of deals when it comes to marketing and sales. Groupon (and their competitors) offer a marketing edge for retailers, 'recruiting' shoppers in the door. An added advantage of deals to get shoppers inside your store is a tactic that is still quite new and relevant. Groupon's stock may be down, but the benefits are still up.
2. Retail Design
Apple's famous Senior President of Retail Operations, Ron Johnson proved to the retail world the importance of layout and design. Working with a meticulous Steve Jobs, the two understood the psychological role a store layout can play in a consumer's behaviour. Do not take this lightly, as we have seen success in design in countless examples of major international retailers from Macy's, to Zara, to grocers, to big box discounters like Wal-Mart and Target. Layout and design are a sure fire way to up buying decisions and can be a major strategic factor in physical retail.
Canadian start-up Shopcaster got a lot of attention for bringing unique local retailers online based on their products, not just their locations. Why do we want to see boutiques online? Because we love that each location (boutique) has a point of differentiation that we can find easily. What is your niche? What makes your store different? Is this articulated clearly even with your name, location, and feel?
Although, one thing in differentiation that Shopcaster fails to include are employees. Sometimes this is a major point of difference between retailers with similar products to offer. Think of Starbucks. We gladly overpay for coffee for exceptional, consistent customer service. So next time you order your coffee from the chipper Barista, think about the emotional effect it had and apply it to your retail business.
4. Shopping baskets
This may sound crazy, but their is a lot of evidence to show that providing customers with baskets for items allows them to purchase more at once. Need we explain further-try adding some baskets at the front. Allow your customer to think, "while I am here, I should just pick up a few more things." This may not be new or innovative, but it is smart.
Ever walked into a store and thought the place must be going out of business? Bare shelves mean an inventory problem that can affect more than customer perception. Everything from employee theft to outside theft can be tracked through inventory. That and nobody wants to shop at a store that appears mismanaged. So, keep your shelves stocked and tracked for best results. (One of the reasons that we created inventory lists within Salespod[Now Repsly] to help you and your business keep on top of this).
Jenna Hannon is a Canadian born technology marketer and writer living in Silicon Valley. She is currently Strategic Communications at Fanhattan, advisor at Treasure Data. Jenna is also an adrenaline junkie; as a kiteboarder, skateboarder, snowboarder and surfer.