With so many choices in today’s business climate, retailers need to find ways to make their brand unique amidst all the retail noise.
Steve Weber, CEO of nChannel, the leading provider of multichannel management software that simplifies selling for retailers, states differentiation in the eye of the buyer can come in many forms -- such as product mix, price, expertise and service.
“But when defining a strategy, retailers need to think about other ways to stand out, like passion, style/décor, self-service, customization, a fun environment, etc.,” he says. “These are things that get people talking and sharing their experience and as a result, will help build a following and broaden viral awareness.”
Here are five innovative strategies for retailers to boost profits:
1) Implement the “endless aisle”: when customers walk into a store, they expect to find what they are looking for. If they don’t, shoppers can lose faith in your brand, abandon other items they were going to buy or go to the competition to look for it. “The endless aisle allows retailers to ship items directly to the customer from drop ship suppliers, other store locations or a warehouse,” Weber says. “Not only can you gain customer loyalty, by going out of your way to ensure they get the item they want, but when fulfilled directly from a supplier, it allows you to meet customers’ needs without ever having to carry the inventory.”
2) Implement buy-online-pickup-in-store: the goal of the brick and mortar store is to drive foot traffic, but if you also have an eCommerce site, a retailer should offer buy-online-pickup-in-store options. “Not only does it provide your customer convenience and a shorter timeframe to receive their item, it also gives retailers the opportunity to sell additional products,” Weber says.
3) Collect customer information: Weber notes that if you aren’t collecting customer information and tracking purchases, you are likely spending too much money on marketing. “By combing in-store and online customer data, retailers can gain more powerful insights,” he says. “Furthermore, by knowing what customers are buying, when they are buying and what they buy together, retailers can improve in-store merchandising and implement more targeted marketing programs with better returns.”
4) Don’t overlook the brand culture: oftentimes small business owners overlook the brand culture, yet Weber argues this should be the first thing a store owner defines and then perpetuates throughout their company, starting with the hires they make. “It’s easier to find a particular skill set than it is to find a good cultural fit, but both are equally important,” he says. “Employees that live the culture understand why the owner started the company and what purpose it serves. They understand what value they provide to buyers and allow the brand to flow through them to their customers.”
5) Take advantage of your website: your culture should be reflected on your website with as much vigor as in your store. Delivering a cohesive experience that lives up to your brand provides the best opportunity for retailers to broaden awareness in the market, attract a larger audience and grow sales at a much faster pace.small business, innovation, retail