Getting Through Retailing Tough Times

While there is no surefire way to avoid these, there are though a few simple ways you and your staff can improve your retail sales when you are faced with such tough times.


1. Advertise More

Just when you think it's time to cut back on your marketing expenses, advertising more during a slow sales period in your business is actually a good idea and can do more good for your financially. It is wise to increase marketing efforts during slower sales periods because there is more competition and fewer consumer dollars. Consider getting newspaper ads, magazines, specialty publications and other forms of marketing.


2. Generate a Buzz

Whenever anything noteworthy happens in your business, send a press release to the media. The idea is to grab any free coverage possible. Get involved with community events. Consider hosting classes, meetings or other networking events in your retail store. Use a unique promotional events to generate a buzz about your business. You can try to do a contest, sponsor events, or anything that will let people know about your brand


3. Examine Your Pricing Strategy

When purchasing and pricing products, be sure you've considered the cost of goods and that your retail shop is able to make a profit at the price point. Your product price should be competitive, but still profitable. Ultimately, the right price is the price the customer is willing to pay for the product.


4. Design Store for Sales

Take advantage of cross-merchandising strategies and impulse sale opportunities. Use lighting techniques and creative displays to attract customers. Play videos for product education, customer entertainment and any other upsell or promotional tie-in.


5. Connect With the Customer

Excellent customer service is the key to increasing sales. Listen to your customer to understand what exactly they need and want from you. Then educate them about your products without flooding them with unnecessary information. Finally, let the customer know that you appreciate them doing business with you. Offer value-added services and products. Create a mailing list by asking for contact information from each customer.


6. Manage Your Money

This may seem like a very obvious tip, but as a retail operator, most become too involved in the little details of their business that they tend to lose track if their business expenses. Create a budget, know where every dime is being spent, keep an eye on cash flow, and take control of your inventory. In conclusion, you need to go back to the basics to keep your sales up. Just as long as you know the most important yet simplest techniques in running a business, you'll be able to keep your business running smoothly during hard times in the economy.


Retailers Forum Magazine, a leader in wholesale merchandise sources, has serviced independent retailers since 1981 and strives to bring good tips and advice to our readers every month. Thanks for joining us and recommending us to your peers.