Retailers are asking me what to do and what I tell them is that the only thing you can control is how you approach your business - not business conditions.
Blaming it on anything else won’t get you anywhere.
You can’t lock the doors of Walmart, unplug Amazon, best Best Buy or cover the Target.
You can only control what you have the ability to control.
All of your focus has to be on how to attract customers into your store, keeping them there, selling them something, inviting them to come back and marketing to them afterwards.
Using these eight steps in order gives you that focus.
1. Be honest. Ask yourself what you are doing right and what might be going wrong in your shop. Evaluate your processes, allocation of labor, training programs and marketing materials. Make a list of at least five things that are working and five that aren't.
Now be even more honest - think about what your potential buyers see. Make a list of five things that you think they love and five that they don’t.
2. Prioritize and decide to change those things that aren’t working first. Some of these might be tough, like firing someone you know has to go, having a mammoth clearance sale of dated merchandise, or moving your entire store around. Now notice how much better you feel. Taking action with purpose to make your business better makes you feel better.
3. Bond. Find a way to make your employees’ day first, then your customers’ day and then your own. Find a way to connect with your employees, not as a best friend but as a person. Find common ground. If you make your employees feel good, they’ll transfer that feeling to your shoppers and happy shoppers buy more and that makes your day.
4. Gather. Do whatever it takes to get the word out about your store. If you have an email list already, skip to #5. If not and you have an old mailing list in a dusty file cabinet, or a list in your PC, copy all of your physical address information along with loyalty rewards, special orders, sales books and other information into a new database.
Once you have your email list, use it in a personal way. Personally invite customers into your store with something specific they might enjoy. Even just thanking your best customers for their business in a personal way brings them back in. When they do come in, thank them personally again. Here’s the secret for making memorable thank yous.
Come up with a compelling subject line that promises benefits – not free, discount or coupon.. What do you want them to do upon reading it? Come into the shop, tell a friend, join Facebook page, create a gift list, come to an event – you decide. I share more ideas on what to say in my popular book, The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business.
5. Use retail sales training so your crew can sell rather than clerk your merchandise. Have your employees role-play their new skills towards the front of the store. Nothing attracts and is more inviting than people seeing other people shopping. Next create a store sales goal; breaking it into bite-sized goals.
6. Become a student of Facebook and learn as much as you can about attracting fans, engaging them and keeping them. Here are five ways small businesses lose them.
7. Change your parking. If your parking lot is empty and you’ve always told employees to park in back, have them park in front to look busy, then have them move them when you are packed.
8. Zip it. Stop asking other shop owners how their business is. If it’s great and yours isn’t, you’ll feel worse. If theirs is worse, you still won’t feel better. Instead ask them one good thing they did yesterday.
You want to attract more customers to your store, you need to look at the energy you are creating – or not creating – in your store and then work to make someone else’s day so they can make yours.