While some will argue that retail businesses are falling behind online vendors, a well-planned retail business has enduring value in attracting customers with the right strategy. Even with increasing competition from online giants like Amazon, retail business owners can leverage their unique value proposition to retain customers, build communities, and drive growth. Read on for how to grow a retail business in 2024.
15 Expansion Strategies for Your Retail Store
Ready for rapid expansion? Whether you want to start a candle business, a wine business, a boutique business, or any other retail business, there are similar principles for growth. Below are 15 strategies you can apply simultaneously to open new avenues for retail business expansion.
Expand Your Product Offerings
The first expansion opportunity for retail businesses is to expand their product offerings. Innovate on existing products or expand to a new line. You can also consider a physical location expansion to accommodate new inventory or additional product lines.
Improve the In-Store Shopping Experience
For retail businesses, offering a unique in-store shopping experience can draw customers who would otherwise shop online. Consider enhancing visual merchandising, creating a personalized shopping experience, and optimizing your store layout to improve customer experience. In addition, offer presentations, testing, samples, workshops, and other activities to bring in customers.
Offer Online Shopping Options
Online shopping experiences can make it easy for customers who want to support local businesses to pick their favorite products without leaving home. Set up a store on your website, and even offer free local delivery to increase sales.
Utilize Social Media to Engage With Customers
Social media is a powerful tool to expand reach. Highlight your products and offer tips, insights, and educational information to build customer trust. You can also host giveaways and quizzes, and promote in-store events. Respond promptly to customers, re-post their photos highlighting products, and even host live events to engage with customers through social media.
Implement a Customer Loyalty Program
Customer loyalty programs can be as simple as earning points or coupons toward future purchases. You could offer a certain number of points for each $10 spent or a more complex digital system that customers can use toward future purchases, discounts, or rewards.
Offer Special Promotions and Discounts
Discounts and promotions can increase sales, encourage additional purchases from existing clients, and attract new customers. For retail businesses, a loss leader can help drive additional sales. While promotions can increase immediate sales, they can also get customers into the store and encourage repeat purchases. Check out doola rewards here for inspiration!
Utilize Email Marketing to Reach Customers
Customers are bombarded by advertisements and emails daily. If you’re not in the front of their minds, there’s a good chance they will go elsewhere when they need to make a purchase. For that reason, email marketing can be an effective strategy to connect with customers, update them, and build business growth over time.
You can promote sales, special promotions, and updates on the store or referral program. Consider sending out blog posts, inventory updates, and other useful information.
Improve Your Website and Online Presence
Building your website and online presence can make it easier for potential customers to find you. Apply best practices of SEO, such as optimizing site load time and targeting specific keywords, to improve site ranking in organic searches. Consider adding a blog with useful tips, information, or discounts to increase domain authority over time. Learn more about how to start a website for your business here.
Conduct Market Research to Understand Customer Needs
Understanding your target market and ideal clients is essential to tailor the shopping experience to meet their needs. Consider sending out surveys or working with a market research company to identify growth opportunities.
Offer Convenient Payment Methods
The more payment options you offer, the better. If you make it easy for customers to pay, you remove one more barrier to purchase. Consider accepting credit cards, debit cards, checks, cash, and even using online payment apps or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.
Collaborate With Influencers or Bloggers
Influencers have powerful marketing credibility and can expand brand reach. To gain credibility and reach a wider audience, consider partnering with influencers whose audience matches your product offerings. Even micro-influencers who have a strong local following can increase customer interest in your retail offerings. You can also build sales funnels and partner with influencers, bloggers, and marketers to leverage their following and create online growth.
Host In-Store Events or Workshops
For retail stores, in-store events and workshops related to your product offerings are some of the most effective ways to increase sales. For example, if the store sells cooking supplies, you can host cooking workshops and recipe-testing events or invite local chefs to give talks. Likewise, a hardware store could offer demonstrations or workshops on building techniques, how to use specific tools, and more.
Use Targeted Advertising Online and Offline
Targeting advertising online and offline can bring in customers. Consider location-targeted online advertising, as well as local flyers, newspaper ads, or billboards. You can also attend trade fairs, farmers’ markets, and other local events to showcase products and increase awareness of your store’s offerings.
Offer Complimentary Services or Add-Ons to Products
Complimentary services or add-on products can get clients in the door who would otherwise go elsewhere. You can offer free samples, workshops, training, or specific promotions depending on your business offering. For example, you could add a free product when clients buy certain products you want to promote.
Monitor and Analyze Sales Data to Identify Opportunities for Growth
You need to know what’s working to create further growth. Carefully look at sales and performance data to identify popular products, events with maximum sales, and other growth opportunities. Bringing in your most successful products or events can create horizontal expansion and drive further success.
Final Tips on Growing a Retail Business
Retail businesses require attention to detail, from managing inventory to delivering an exceptional customer experience. With so many details to attend to, retail owners can improve store efficiency by automating systems. Consider inventory management software, and also bookkeeping software to save time.
For bookkeeping, doola can help. Get doola Books for stress-free bookkeeping. It’s designed for busy founders, so you can focus on creating the best store customer experience rather than worrying about the accounts.
How do I build and maintain customer loyalty in a competitive retail market?
To build and maintain customer loyalty in a competitive retail market, offer unique events, services, and shopping experiences that bring in customers. You can also offer promotions, discounts, and specific product promotions to attract customers. Consider setting up subscription services or loyalty programs to retain customers.
How can I effectively manage inventory and ensure I always have the right products in stock?
Inventory management software can help you effectively manage retail inventory. You can also use a FIFO approach (first in, first out) and identify low-turn and high-turn stock to stay ahead of customer demand.
What are some effective pricing strategies to maximize profit margins while remaining competitive?
You can consider numerous pricing strategies based on product offerings and market. For example, you can try cost-plus pricing, bundle pricing, penetration pricing, value pricing, or subscription services to maximize revenue.
How do I identify and stay ahead of retail industry trends to remain competitive?
To identify and stay ahead of retail industry trends, consider monitoring emerging trends, attending conferences, participating in online forums, and getting regular customer feedback. You can also implement footfall analytics and other data analytics, as well as people counting to measure demand.
How can I effectively manage and motivate my retail staff to deliver excellent customer service?
To motivate your retail staff, consider rewards for excellent performance. Show staff that you care about them and support them. Offer opportunities for promotions or store discounts. You should also be open to listening to their suggestions and advice so they feel there is a collaborative environment in which everyone is working together and supporting one another for growth.