12 Step Guide to Improving Your Retail Sales

12 Step Guide to Improving Your Retail Sales

Regardless of the economy, businesses need sales to stay profitable and competitive. Those who succeed in retail approach their business in useful ways; they have habits and that build foundations for success every day. By following these twelve steps, any business owner can start building these habits and set themselves up for success.

Self Awareness

A small business person has many roles. They must manage finances, personnel, advertising, purchasing, sales and other parts of their business themselves. Most people do not excel in every role, so business owners should find ways to get help in their weak areas while capitalizing on their strengths.

Planning

No one arrives at a destination if they neither know their destination nor their route. Many retailers know they want to earn a living, but they do not take the time to identify their goals and plan ways to achieve them. Without a well-constructed business plan, a store can easily tread water as products, services and objectives change on-the-fly. A business plan also helps owners establish business credit and secure loans to finance growth.

Understand the Market

No business will excel unless its owner and staff commit themselves to excellence. Knowing they depend on their business for their livelihood, business owners should commit themselves to becoming experts in their industry. This means they must know their products, understand what customers need, recognize their competitors and find new ways to add value.

Emphasize Customer Service

Satisfied customers often become repeat customers, the foundation of any growing business. They also spread word about their shopping experiences among friends and on social networks, highlighting the value of a good reputation. Keeping an existing customer almost always costs less than finding a new one, so business owners should make sure that they and their staff understand that the customer always comes first.

Recordkeeping

Businesses must document sales, purchases, deposits, payroll and any other transaction. Without organized, legible records, a business cannot tell when they lose money or when something goes missing. They also have no way to prove their credit worthiness. Everything from taxes to payroll depends on accurate records.

Manage Cash Flow

Even when a retail store earns profits, they can suffer from cash flow problems. If business owners do not keep track of their cash, they can easily get into a bind when the time comes to pay employees and the bills.

Be Fair

Business owners often pass the pressures they feel onto those around them. Cutting corners with customers or employees never pays off, so businesses should always treat everyone with respect. Employers should pay their workers well and on time. Good management decisions and behaviors go a long way toward increasing sales.

Be Different

The most successful stores find ways to make themselves different from their competitors. By adding value, stores will attract customers willing to pay more for something they could easily buy somewhere else.

Track Inventory

Inventory is money, so if it they lose it, it’s just like losing cash out of the drawer. Businesses should take reasonable steps to prevent their merchandise from disappearing. They should also have inventory software in place so they know when to reorder. Inventory should closely match demand to avoid losing money as products grow old and obsolete while sitting on the shelf.

Make Careful Buying Choices

Most customers think about more than price as they shop, but offering competitive prices always helps improve sales. Retailers must buy at prices low enough to compete with other stores and still earn profits, but stores often cannot justify the volume of goods needed to achieve the best price points. Stores often can join buying groups to share volume pricing. They can also find new vendors willing to offer discounts to new customers.

Quickly Adapt

Products, customer preferences, the economy and other factors change all the time. Becoming too emotionally attached to a business position can set owners up for serious loss. Whenever changes occur, business owners must willingly adapt, even when it means abandoning a favored product or a preferred location.

Get Help

When businesses struggle and solutions do not quickly come, owners should get advice. Hire a retail consultant if possible to get new ideas for reviving stagnant sales. Also, owners can talk to experienced business people they know for advice. Successful people often help others out by sharing their wisdom and experience.

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SMBReviews is committed to providing small and mid-sized business owners with the information and resources they need to select the best service or product for their company.

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