I guess one of the questions we get asked most often is one form or another of how to increase retail sales. It's a good question. Increase your top line, and then providing you manage margin and expenses you'll find your bottom line magically increases too. That's why you're in business isn't it?
Let's evaluate how to increase retail sales. You've got two opportunities: (1) Customers you already have and (2) prospects who are not yet your customers. Work on formulating a strategy for each group.
For example, if I want to increase sales through my existing customer base I have three ways in which I can do that: (1) Sell them more items when they come into my store. (2) Sell them higher ticket items when they come into my store. (3) Bring them back into my store more frequently.
Breaking the challenge down like this gives you all sorts of opportunities to flesh out answers. For example point (1) Sell them more items when they come into my store. You might think in terms of:
- Improving the environment so shoppers stay longer.
- Play music which is age appropriate for your target customers
- Make sure the scent of the store is pleasant and would encourage browsing (think food)
- Make sure there is adequate space for customers to move between displays. Avoid the "butt brush" layout.
- Adding more complete communicative and guiding signage.
- If decor and "talking" signs are themed, it is unlikely you'll overdo them. Remember they are adding to the ambiance and also guiding customers while passively selling to them too.
- The longer they shop, the more they buy...make sure the environment is appealing.
When examining point (2) Sell them higher ticket items when they come into your store.
- The first obvious point is that you'll need higher ticket items. So when you look at your main categories think in terms of the old "good, better, best" system. And then make sure that you and your staff get excited about the "best". Also in reference to the talking signs I referred to, make sure that they "up-sell" when your staff is busy with other customers.
- Teach your staff to sell benefits and not features. One can learn all of the features of the best product, but until they are translated into a "here's what that means to you" statement, they will remain less impactful.
- Use "social proof". Place "Our Best Seller" tags on some of your upscale products that do sell well. This will make those products likely choices for people who have little time or desire to do their own research.
And finally point (3) Bring them back into my store more frequently.
- One of the real keys here is change. How often does your store change? What changes are you working on right now? The same-old, same-old and your store will become lower on your customers' list. Rekindle the passion that brought you to your store. Remember how excited you got about new products and new displays. Of course some didn't pan out and perhaps over time you've lost some of that new experience drive. Recapture it. Change is necessary to maintain a retail edge.
- There are also small things your can do to bring customers back more frequently. For example: place coupons in your customers bags that have special offers that are good during special time periods...perhaps one a week for the next month.
- If you're not using an email campaign to inform and generate traffic from your current base, get that going. If it's appropriate for your store mix, utilize Facebook and Twitter too.
Of course this list is far from exhaustive. Regarding strategies for bringing new customers in, I've shown you the strategizing process so I'll let you and your team practice on that one.
Check out our other website discoverybasedretail.com. Ours is a consulting, training and design company and we'd love to get to know you and learn about your situation.
But for now remember that the point of how to increase retail sales should be a fun one to ponder. Recapture your imagination and excitement and success will follow.