Before the pandemic, when things were “normal”, customers shopped in strange patterns and their choices were not divided equally among retailers. That hasn’t changed, so if you want to attract more customers to your store you need to do more. Start here:
1. Plan Events & Promotions:You have competition coming at you from all sides, all vying for the customers’ attention. What are you doing about it? Just opening your doors is not enough, you need to be ready with events that are locked and loaded on your calendar. A Re Open Open House is a good idea, so is a Grand Reopening. Think about the upcoming holidays and plan for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Holiday 2021. If you are selling online or via social medias you will need to do something for Cyber Monday as well. Keep going and add events for each month of 2021.
Plan each event, buy product for each event as needed, and get your team involved. Remember, in-store events do not always automatically equate to running a sale, although that’s an option. You can do makit & takits, demos, seminars, trunk shows, pop-ups, vendor days – your options are endless.
2. ReTrain Your Team. You can’t do everything by yourself; you need a team of strong associates backing you up.
Be specific about what you need and be upfront about what is required to do the job. Sanitizing the store and reinforcing mask mandates may be with us for a while and your team needs to know what is expected of them.
This isn’t a time to hold back, it’s time to sell. Hold training sessions about product and how to deliver exemplary customer service when you can’t always see the customers face. Update your team frequently on what’s happening in the store, and commit to a training schedule that lasts all year long. Adopt our Buddy System and partner new hires with seasoned pros that can mentor them as they learn about the store and the products you sell.
3. Create a Never Out List.Every retailer should have a “Never Out” list of the things you need to have in stock one hundred percent of the time. During peak times of the year this list takes on an even bigger significance when being out of one of these items can literally make or break a sale. Your POS system will likely create this list for you, but make sure to do frequent physical counts on the sales floor to make sure your list is correct.
4. Sell, Sell, SELL Gift Cards.Gift cards are your secret weapon. Notice we said gift CARDS. That’s because a recent study found that retailers who switch from paper gift certificates to plastic gift cards increase gift card sales from 35 percent to 50 percent.
There’s more: 55 percent of gift card recipients require more than one shopping trip to the store to spend the balance of their card – that’s good news for you. But beware, a gift card or certificate that’s presented in a boring paper sleeve or envelope doesn’t look like much, even if it’s for big bucks, so package your gift cards with a look that’s unique to what you sell. And since many shoppers want a contactless transaction these days, offer your gift cards electronically as well.
5. Make Sure Your Return Policy is Competitive. If every one of your competitors accepts returns and exchanges but your policy screams NO! NO! NO! customers will go someplace else to shop. If you don’t have a return policy here’s a good place to start: “Returns and exchanges gladly accepted within ______ days. Your receipt guarantees it.” You’ll save more sales if you train all your associates to politely suggest an exchange or a gift card before offering a refund. Note that during the pandemic many retailers have opted to lengthened return and exchange windows.
6. Be Prepared for Markdowns.You have product that was sitting dormant on your shelves for the 60+ days your store was closed, and probably for months before that so a clearance strategy for those goods is important. Packing product away for sale next year is almost never a good idea, and trying to sell past season merchandise at full price isn’t a good look. Or strategy.
A markdown plan for every piece of merchandise that you purchase is a smart idea. You will need to determine which merchandise will be discounted, how much it will be discounted, how it will be signed (numbers work better than percentages), and where it will displayed on the sales floor. Unless you are having a big sale, display clearance merchandise near the back of the store so shoppers have to pass through new product displays to get to it.
You’re exhausted just reading this, right? Being a retailer has always meant long hours, juggling tasks, and putting out fires. Add in selling online, selling via social media, keeping up with what’s happening with the pandemic, and you have a lot of new hats to wear. Trust us, having a game plan makes it easier. If you’re stuck or have questions, give us a call. We’re here to help!