3 Ways To Strengthen Your Brick-and-Mortar Store in 2021
This article is for retailers with physical stores competing with online shopping and other customer behaviors that threaten their in-store sales.
When we go shopping, beyond an unconscious need to connect with other human beings, we’re also looking for someone to remove frustration from our lives. We’re looking for someone to take over responsibility for an issue, product, or service we need or want – and fix it.
We like to feel we are in good, capable hands. That’s why people still go to physical retail stores – and will for the foreseeable future. And it’s why brick-and -mortar stores are so important to our mental health right now as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.
Retail sales build one person at a time. Do it right and you form a relationship that lasts with your client. Do it wrong and you miss your chance. Here are 3 tips on how you can make your brick-and-mortar store stronger in 2021.
1) Constantly study your store traffic flow
Where do shoppers go – from the moment they walk in until the moment they walk out? Do they turn around 5 or 10 feet in after giving your store a once-over? If they do, it’s probably because you unconsciously created a barrier. Where are your most profitable items located? If you’re committed to constantly making your environment more exciting and in tune with your shoppers, the reality is you can move almost any store around (yes, even the fixtures!). Remember, physical retail exists to answer a shopper’s one question: “What’s new?” Make sure your store – especially after the pandemic – both looks and smells fresh.
2) Continually upgrade your sales staff
Are you afraid to fire long-time employees you hired to engage but who can’t sell? How can you re-engage them to understand that the party is in the aisles, not behind the counter? What additional training are you giving them on how to sell? What processes should be in place for how you want a customer to receive an exceptional experience? How are you measuring against those standards? When you are slammed with post-pandemic revenge shoppers, it is easy to tell yourself you don’t have to worry about those things – until one day, you aren’t and you’re struggling.
3) Have fun with your marketing!
When your marketing includes humor and can position you as the angel to a competitor’s devil, it gives your brand a unique personality. I did this with one of my first clients. Read about this marketing success story here.
Consider how you can make jokes about online retailers delivering something late, something the wrong size, and the hassle of boxing up returns versus your well-appointed fitting rooms where, if a customer doesn’t like something, you put it back for them. And be sure to emphasize your displays with items they can actually touch, feel, and use. You get the point.
Next time: The importance of training front-line employees.
Bob Phibbs, “The Retail Doctor,” is a 30-plus year retail expert with a proven track record to help brands lift sales, turn their retail staff into real salespeople, and get more out of their store traffic with innovative retail marketing tactics. Contact him at 562-260-2266, or visit his website, where this article first appeared.
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