In the world where hosted websites are turned into online stores and are opening up left and right, your traditional local brick and mortar retail store has to offer something a bit different to attract customers.
These days, a lot of people have become fed up with mediocre products and abysmal service that are typical for even the big retail chains, and this is definitely something that you can use to your advantage.
Another thing that a retail store has going for it is that, as quick and simple as online selling and shopping is, you can’t examine the products more carefully and try them on, and it can take some time before the item is shipped to you.
If you can manage to make a few simple changes that will allow more people to hear about you, and you create a very positive shopping experience for your customers, then you can find a corner of the market to call your own, and grow your business steadily. Here are several things you can do to attract more customers.
Make Sure You Have Competent and Polite Employees
The last thing you want is customers leaving your store frustrated because an employee fumbled around, wasn’t helpful enough, or was even rude and confrontational.
You can weed out some of the bad eggs in a job interview, and you can motivate workers to be at their best behavior, but you can’t really account for incompetence.
A well-trained workforce equals satisfied customers, and you want to have as many satisfied customers as you can, because that can really help your business and they will be the ones who spread the word about you amongst their friends and family.
Your Storefront Needs to Be Compelling and Showcase Your Best Offerings
What’s the use of having a big display if you just lazily throw a few things up, and call it a day? You need to show off your best wares, promote special offers and discounts, and have a few interesting exhibits that set the tone or paint a certain picture.
A shop promoting a new line of retro apparel, for example, can add one of those early 20th century tripod cameras, an old school bicycle, or have some straw, an old blanket, a picnic basket and a metal kettle and teacup set laid out.
All those extra details you put into your shop help create an entire little world that evokes certain emotions, and helps draw customers in.
Spend Some Time in the Trenches, and Look for Customer Feedback
It’s easy for an entrepreneur to distance him or herself from the mundane retail work as business starts to pick up. You’ll find that some of the shop owners are rarely at the store, and this means that they slowly lose touch with the customers.
It is important to spend some time at the store, and study people’s shopping habits. Don’t just research your customer feedback, do so for other competitors, find out what they are doing good and learn from their mistakes – don’t be intimidated by healthy competition.
You can even casually slip in a few questions about the whole shopping experience, e.g. how easy or difficult it is for the customer to find what they need or to get around.
Collect Some Basic Information on Regular Customers
The dream of any retailer is to have a large number of loyal customers who keep doing business with them, bringing friends along with them, and recommending the store to people they know.
If someone has spent some money at your store two, three or more times, you want to make sure to reward this loyalty. You can get their name and email, or ask them to like your Facebook page, so that they receive special benefits and be the first ones to know of an upcoming sale.
When a customer knows that they will have a few privileges if they keep coming back to your store, they won’t have the need to shop elsewhere for the type of products that you offer. Combine this with great customer service, a beautiful storefront and an efficient store layout, and you will be scoring a lot of points with the customers.
As long as your store is in a relatively good location, and you offer products and services which people have a real need for, all it takes is a few smart moves and a bit of extra effort to set your store apart from the competition.