Running a business has never been easy, but the past couple of years have been very challenging for many entrepreneurs. After doing all they can to help their organization survive amid the complication brought about by the pandemic, they are now faced with inflation, supply chain issues, and high-interest rates.
As such, many owners of small businesses have started getting pessimistic about their immediate future. In a survey conducted last July by the nonprofit organization Small Business Majority, it was revealed that almost one-third of small businesses in the US wouldn’t be able to survive for more than three months if the status quo is maintained. They need an additional infusion of capital, or the business landscape needs to improve quickly.
Inflation is the primary concern of many entrepreneurs because aside from affecting their cost of goods, it also discourages consumer purchase. But while you cannot do anything to alleviate the effects of inflation on the economy, there are steps that you can take to get your business ahead of the competition and thus have better chances to succeed in these gloomy conditions. Here are five strategies that can make your retail store stand out in the market:
1. Get Noticed
This may sound too simple, but many business owners take it for granted that their stores will get noticed by customers who pass by the street. However, the reality is that these potential buyers may not even know you exist unless you do something about it.
Keep in mind that people are bombarded by many brands before they even step outside the house, and a brand needs to be remarkable to catch their attention. It does not mean that you need to be loud or in-your-face aggressive. Sometimes, something as simple as your store signage would be enough to catch the eye of the customer as long as it is well executed and adequately represents the business. “The type of business sign you choose tells your customers a lot about your brand,” says Signcrafters, an Indiana-based supplier of state-of-the-art commercial signs.
2. Create Memorable Shopping Experiences
With the proliferation of online stores that can cross borders and gain access to a broader customer base, it is becoming more difficult for retail stores to bring in foot traffic. However, offline shopping has one distinct advantage that e-commerce cannot hope to match, and that is the physical shopping experience.
Put this advantage to good use by ensuring that everyone who steps inside your store will bring positive memories with them when they leave. Appeal to any or all of the senses by using visually appealing decorations, playing good music, making sure the store smells good, and encouraging them to touch and test the products as they visit. Let them experience quality and personalized service that will make them feel like the VIPs that they are.
3. Offer More Value For Their Purchases
During these difficult times, it is not just the businesses that are feeling the pinch. Customers also feel the effect, regardless of their wealth or socio-economic status. As such, they appreciate companies that recognize this situation and try to give them more value for their money. This does not mean that you have to sacrifice your margins because you do not need to invest in high-ticket items to entice your customers.
Try to run a rewards program with easy-to-reach points and fun prizes. You could also have a loyalty campaign where frequent shoppers receive a card or a gift during special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. At the end of the day, customers want to know that they are valued and appreciated and that you are all in this together.
4. Ensure Excellent Customer Service
Your relationship with your customers does not end after concluding a sale. If you want your business to last for a long time, then you need to ensure that your customers stay happy with you even after making their purchases. Aside from paying attention to the quality of your products, you can also take the extra mile and reach out to your customers and inquire about their user experience.
Check if they are happy with their purchase, and if not, ask what you can do to help. Make them feel that you have not abandoned them after getting their money and that you will be there to provide any support they may need. This will only cost you a few minutes, but the loyalty you could potentially generate from this effort would be invaluable.
5. Look Back, Then Plan Ahead
Business is not an exact science, and you will often find yourself in a position where you need to make decisions without knowing for certain what could happen. Having a perfect success rate is impossible, but you can minimize your errors and losses by being more strategic with your actions.
Whenever you execute a plan or a campaign, take the time to review and analyze the results before moving on to the next one. Do not forge ahead blindly without understanding what was done well and what could have been done better. Then take all the lessons you have learned and apply them to your future campaigns, and so on, until you get more successes and fewer failures.