The last few years have been particularly hard for small retail organizations, especially if they rely on selling their goods from physical stores rather than online. One of the main challenges came in 2020 in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the space of a few months from the start of that year, many retail outlets were forced to close their premises. This was due to the restrictions that were placed on the movement of citizens in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Sadly, some retail firms never fully recovered from the financial losses that resulted from lockdowns and movement restrictions and were forced to close permanently.
Today in 2023, higher-than-normal levels of inflation are cutting consumer spending power and combining with a cost-of-living crisis that’s compounding the situation. If you own or run a small retail firm, you may be thankful that you’ve managed to survive the last few years as a viable business. As the outlook for retail starts to improve, it can be the ideal opportunity to consider the steps you can take to boost your business and attempt to increase your profitability.
In this article, some top tips will be discussed for small retail firms. They can be used to make improvements across the business and will ideally help your organization to enjoy increased numbers of customers and profits.
Upgrade your store and provide extra parking
In physical retail premises, the storefront and the shopping environment play a key role in attracting visitors. Well-designed shops that attract the attention of shoppers will be able to achieve higher levels of footfall as more potential customers will be drawn to your shop. The interior of the store should also be air-conditioned and comfortable with space to walk around and explore your product range.
You can upgrade your store in numerous ways to attempt to attract more customers and ideally convert them into sales. One key upgrade to consider is building extra car parking spaces for customers. Millions of consumers will rely on car transportation when going on a shopping trip so they can store and take home their purchases in a convenient way. Retail sites that have poor levels of parking will serve to detract visitors, especially those who are buying large or bulky items that may be difficult to carry over a distance.
If your parking facilities need expansion, search for a building firm such as https://www.keflatwork.com/commercial-concrete-services/ that has extensive experience in laying concrete and building car park facilities. This will help to attract increased numbers of visitors who arrive by car which can translate into improved sales figures.
Ideally, you’ll want to offer your visitors free parking as this can be an added incentive to visit your store and encourage improved trade.
Add a business website for online sales
If your retail store operates from a purely physical location, you’re missing out on the sales that can be generated from the growing e-commerce market. E-commerce is now estimated to be worth approximately $6.3 trillion globally, and every retail operation should look to generate sales online to support their overall profitability.
Create your retail website using website builder services online, many of which are free of charge. Ensure that your site includes encrypted pages for making online purchases as customers will avoid sites where their payment details may be compromised.
In addition, you may seek to hire a web design expert who has in-depth knowledge of the best practices of search engine optimization (SEO). These are content and design techniques for web pages that help your website rank higher when customers search for products and services online.
If your site can reach the first page of the results on search engines such as Google, you will enjoy exponentially more web traffic than if it doesn’t. This traffic can be converted into sales by ensuring that your website is quick and easy to navigate and provides the visitor with an enjoyable browsing and shopping experience.
Provide exceptional customer service
In the increasingly competitive world of retail, it’s incredibly important to offer exceptional customer service to your customers. This is true for both physical premises and retail websites. Put simply, customers expect high standards of service when making purchases and want any questions, queries, or issues answered and resolved swiftly.
For web-based retail, you can automate some aspects of customer service by using chatbots on your website. These can efficiently direct customers to specific web pages that answer their questions or queries. Ideally, you will have created a series of FAQ pages to facilitate this process. However, it’s also important to understand that human staff will be needed to resolve complaints and complex issues quickly and efficiently, thus maximizing the chance of repeat customers.