By Michelle Nicol (Creative Copywriter, Sage UK & Ireland).
With UK retail sales continuing to rise as prices fall, according to the Office of National Statistics, retailers have to be conscious of the savvy consumer who carefully considers where to spend their hard-earned cash.
However, there’s still a great opportunity for successful retailers to grab a larger portion of those sales as consumer confidence grows. So, time to tap into the ambition and enthusiasm that got you started in the first place, and try our top 5 tips to boost your retail business.
1. Keep hold of your customers
They say it’s easier to keep a customer than to find a new one. Newsletters and emails are a great way to keep in touch with existing customers can be a great way to promote special offers or new products and services. Sites such as MailChimp or Constant Contact can help you design and manage your content.
Word of mouth is still your most valuable marketing tool, so existing customers are likely to be your best route to finding new ones. Reward their loyalty with a discount card, exclusive offers, or invitations to special events, or add an incentive to get them to recommend your business to others
2. Take a good look at your pricing
Make sure you’re displaying your goods in an attractive way with clear pricing. At the very least make sure everything is clean and tidy.
If you have a window or display area, make the most of it. If you’re not artistic yourself, then consider asking a local art college for students willing to help.
The same principle applies if you’re selling services. Make sure you have a clear pricing structure and information about what you offer.
Encourage additional sales by bundling products together into a gift box or hamper, or package related services together. This can be a great way of getting people to try something new alongside more popular items that you sell.
3. Market yourself as well as your business
People like to do business with people they like. Most likely your passion and enthusiasm for your area of business is what got you into it in the first place, so share it.
It’s up to you whether you make this content and knowledge available for free to build your reputation, or whether you want to charge for access/downloads and make money from it.
Becoming well known in your area of expertise can also be a great way of getting your business featured in local press, TV or radio.
4. Get online
Online retail is growing at a fast rate, but even if you don’t feel that your business translates to an online shop, you should still have an online presence.
Download our free ‘Sage One Toolkit for Connecting Online‘ for more great tips and advice on using social media to promote your business.
If you are ready to sell products or services through your website, then you’ll need eCommerce tools. Sage Pay is Europe’s fastest growing eCommerce payment gateway and integrates seamlessly with Sage One Accounts meaning your accounts are updated with new sales figures every day.
5. Make sure you get paid promptly
Even if you’re selling directly and getting paid immediately, it’s worth making sure you’re getting the best deals from your suppliers.
Pay suppliers promptly and see if you can negotiate favourable rates or credit terms. If you know your customers and your products well, then you may be able to negotiate a discount on bulk orders.
And look at ways in which you can help each other out. Is there another business that offers a product or service that fits well with yours? Could you arrange some kind of barter, or skills exchange, or help promote each other?
A successful business rarely stands still, so whatever you decide to do, make the most of every opportunity to grow your retail business. Good luck!