There isn’t a retailer alive who wouldn’t like to know how to increase retail sales. As if there were a magic bullet! Which there isn’t. But there are a few core fundamentals that go into increasing retail sales.
To my mind, the place to start is with product, merchandise. It’s the reason why retailers exist in the first place. Customers visit retailers to get something to satisfy a desire or to solve a problem. While they’re there they might also need expert advice or know-how, or need whatever they are buying to be delivered or installed. But in the end, the interaction begins because the customer wants or needs something. And a customer goes to a particular store because they expect that store to have what they want or need.
Increasing sales starts with what happens in your store when your customers meet your merchandise assortments. It all starts with product, with merchandise. Do you have what they want or need? Do you have what they expect to find? Are your assortments compelling, intriguing? Is the merchandise presentation clean and focused? Are things easy to find? Can your customers count on these things when they visit again?
In the past few years, assortments have been under a lot of pressure. With many independent retailers unable to regularly and fully replenish their inventories, inventories have declined unevenly, leading to narrower assortments with less depth in the core of the product offering, and excesses of underperforming items and categories around the edges of the product offering.
Customers are smart. They intuitively understand when a store is looking a little ragged, when the assortments are under pressure. Shelves and racks don’t look right, features look tired and housekeeping isn’t crisp. It’s more difficult to find what they’re looking for, all too often they can’t find it at all. When this is what customers encounter, they are less inclined to come back.
Increasing retail sales begins with meeting and exceeding customer’s expectations. The very best retailers have always carefully constructed assortments designed to do just that. Their assortments are constantly changing, evolving, adding new things, deleting others, always testing. Their presentations are crisp, with everything easy to find. Their features are compelling. Their inventories are also tightly managed, with frequent replenishment. SKU counts are kept under control, there’s solid depth in core products and the overall assortment is only as broad as the customer base will support.
Take a look at it from your customer’s point of view. Step out onto your sales floor. Take a look around. Are you as good as you’ve ever been? Are your assortments as compelling as they’ve ever been? Are your presentations as crisp as they’ve ever been. If the answer is yes, what more can you do to further raise your game? If not, you’ve found the place to begin as you work toward increasing your sales.
Wow! your customers. Exceed their expectations. They’ll remember. They’ll talk about you. And they’ll be back.
Ted Hurlbut is a retail consultant, coach and speaker who helps independent retailers increase sales, profitability and cash flow by leveraging his deep expertise and proven retail know-how, Get his FREE report “The 16 Essential Elements of a WINNING Independent Retail Strategy” Visit: HurlbutaAsociates.com
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