It can be a hard world at times for retailers when it's so much easier for a customer to simply go online and purchase the exact style, shape, size, color, or brand that they are looking for. But brick-and-mortar stores still do pretty well when taking this relatively new convenience into consideration.
That being said, there's nothing wrong with attempting to boost your sales numbers, especially considering how it's more important than ever nowadays to stay ahead of your competition - that competition translating to mean pretty much every company on the internet. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
1. Provide In-Store Pick-Up and/or Delivery Options
In-store pick-up and delivery services are becoming an increasingly important service for retail locations to offer. If your customers are shopping online anyway, why not offer them the convenience of staying with your company by allowing them to get their items faster while still finding exactly what they need online.
You can also offer online-only promotions or online-only items that will encourage them to take advantage of your online store, while still encouraging them to visit your physical location by allowing them to pick up their items faster than it would take for them to receive them in the mail. Yet delivery should still be an option for customers who might have more difficulty getting to your physical store due to physical limitations, tight schedules, etc.
And don't try to make up your profits with your shopping costs, especially on larger items. This will encourage customers to shy away from taking advantage of your delivery option, which defeats the purpose.
2. Collect Customer Data
Opting in and giving stores data that they are willing to share with that store is a great way to personalize the shopping experience for your customers. For example, grocery stores will often encourage customers to sign up for that store's card by providing the store with some basic information about themselves in exchange for the card and the discounts that go along with it. The store can then track the purchases the customer makes with that card and target future coupons and discounts to that customer based on the products that the customer is more likely to buy.
So say you buy diapers, soup, and store-brand vegetables regularly from your local grocery store, and you are also a holder of one of that store's cards. It's no accident when you receive coupons in the mail or in your e-mail the following month for those exact same items. It encourages you to come back and spend money in that store, and you'll probably be more than willing to do so, considering these were items you were going to be purchasing anyway. Why go to another store and pay extra when you can re-visit the same store and save a few bucks? Personalizing a customer's shopping experience can be invaluable.
3. Stay on Top of Your Out-of-Stocks
The fastest way to usher a customer out of your store and into the arms of your competitor is to keep your shelves poorly stocked. If that customer is heading to your store with a particular product in mind, especially if that's the only product they left their house to get, and you don't have that product, that customer will be significantly less likely to shop with you in the future (especially if they're looking for that same product again). No one wants to have to travel to two stores to find a product that should have been amply stocked in the first one.
Having a quality field management software package can nip this problem in the bud. When field reps notice that a shelf is empty, they can check the store's history to see if they have recently ordered that product (and that it should therefore be present and in abundance) or if the store has run out and a call to the merchandiser for more product is in order.
4. Modernize Your Staff
Speaking of field management software, it truly is an effective tool to get and keep everyone in the organization on the same page at all times. This way there's no excuse for something not getting done when actions to resolve the issue are nothing more than an instant message away. Field reps should all carry a smartphone or tablet, and these devices should be regularly updated in order to keep up with the latest trends and information that the company needs to communicate with them in order to ensure that they are able to properly do their jobs.
Plus, digital forms are a heckuva lot faster and more accurate than traditional paper forms; digital forms allow reps to do their jobs in half the time and without the need to spend hours poring over paperwork, double-checking that everything is properly completed. With the right software package, management can be alerted to problems in the field almost as soon as they are discovered, which allows everyone in the organization to act much faster before a small problem can evolve into something more catastrophic.
Following the tips presented above should help you see a significant climb in your sales numbers. See how those numbers compare to those of your peers by clicking below to receive our free Field Force Productivity Assessment.