Retail is an incredibly fickle world. One minute your store is doing amazing sales & everyone is toasting your success. The next minute, all you hear is crickets and everyone has forgotten who you are. This can apply to both ecommerce and bricks and mortar stores. Let’s be honest, we are pretty used to hearing that some of even the biggest brands are closing stores or even closing down completely.
I’ve also even seen it firsthand myself over the years. After starting out as a teen, in a part time job with one of Australia’s largest retail fashion chains, I quickly moved fulltime into the management team of one of their largest, flagship stores, which turned over millions in sales each year. (Can I brag and say I even one an award for my efforts) I then went on to train management staff in how to run their retail stores. Again, for another large multi-national fashion chain. So, I’ve seen the inner workings and decision-making processes on a large scale. And to be honest they’re not all that different to a small local retail business, whether it is bricks and mortar or ecommerce.
And a little secret I will share with you is this: You have a much better chance of keeping everything strong and sustainable than some of the larger chains ever will. And here’s how you can do it:
- Be reactionary – make the changes instantly to ride any waves. They can be as small as a huge week of rain is predicted and you sell umbrellas. Well then, get those umbrellas on the front fold of your ecommerce store and at the front door and counter in your bricks and mortar store. Back it up with a few extra posts online and maybe even an ad showcasing your range!
- Be hands on – Even Richard Branson agrees that keeping your finger on the pulse, at the ground level means you keep your business thriving. Your customers are clients who are dealing with your business at that level, so you need to really know what’s going on yourself.
- Understanding your market – you get to have a much closer level of communication as a small business. Use it to your advantage – ask you customers what they want and provide it. Yes, that latest range of shoes might be amazing, but there’s no point adding it to your range if your customers don’t agree. (Unless you’re looking for future clearance stock)
- Keep on top of staff morale – This is important for every business. It only takes 1 toxic employee to create an exodus, leaving you in the sh$t. This doesn’t mean agree to every staff demand. But it does mean to recognise their skills. Let them help you achieve your success.
- Market yourself & your business in person – people but from people, especially in today’s world. So, show your face, join your local Chamber, attend local trade shows as a stall holder. If you’re a local business, make sure everyone in your area knows who you are and what your business does.
- You MUST be online – This is absolute truth. A website & Facebook page is now a standard requirement for any retailer. But it doesn’t stop there. There is no point having a website if it’s not converting. And there’s no point having a Facebook page if it’s not getting engagement. So, whether you do it yourself or get someone to help. You need to be seen online