How To Increase Retail Sales: Capitalize on Current Customers

By: on July 19, 2016

As an independent store owner, you’ve certainly wondered how to increase retail sales. But what exactly does “increase retail sales” mean for your small business? And how do you decide how to boost retail sales and grow your retail business?

In a new four part series, we’ll offer unique answers for how to increase retail sales.

Each article focuses on overarching areas of your retail operation and highlights revenue-generating improvements you can make for your store.

All improvements featured in the series leverage common capabilities of your point of sale (POS) system. If you’re part of the 64 percent of single-store retailers operating without a POS, or if your retail system is out of date, check out our retail POS buyer’s guide to see what’s available for you.

This first article in our “How to Improve Retail Sales” series focuses on how to capitalize on current customers.

How to Improve Retail Sales: Quality or Quantity?

The most obvious way to boost sales is to increase the quantity of sales. More transactions equals more revenue, right?

But you can’t focus only on quantity. To boost revenue you need to establish an effective customer experience. The path to improving retail sales begins with improving the quality of sales.

A qualitative approach to improving sales capitalizes on the customers you’re already bringing into your store. As explained by Bob Phibbs, CEO of retail consultancy The Retail Doctor, your associates must turn shoppers from non-purchasing browsers into actual purchase-making customers.

“If you’ve felt meeting your retail sales projections depends solely on the number of shoppers who show up at your door, then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.”

Bob Phibbs, CEO at The Retail Doctor

But the goal isn’t just for customers to make a transaction. You want them walking out of your store with everything they need.

“When customers leave with only one item and not with everything they need, a competitor gets their additional business and a chance to make a loyal customer out of one who should have stayed yours,” says Phibbs. “In short, you’re settling for crumbs when you could have the whole feast.”

Delivering a Positive Customer Experience

Phibbs emphasizes the importance of properly training your sales associates on “how to sell the value of a single product over the price of the product while looking for ways to enhance that value with additional products.”

There’s no doubt value-added sales tactics enable you to capitalize on current customers. But the impact of these tactics on sales is small in comparison to creating a positive, well-composed customer experience.

In the long run, the delivery of a well-defined and executed customer experience is essential to capitalize on current customers.

Your customer experience and journey are the pillars on which you, your associates, and all other entities of your brand interact with past, current and potential customers.

We’ve provided tips in the past on how to establish and improve retail customer experiences. The most important tip is to treat your customer experience as a living thing. It’s not something that’s built so much as it is continuously nurtured.

Customer Experience Roadmap
You’re fortunate as a small retailer because you can directly drive change in your operation. There’s no red tape to navigate on the way to making improvements, unlike larger retail enterprises with multitudes of customers and brand assets. You’re the decision-maker when it comes to making tweaks and changes to your customer experience.

Unlock the Power of Your Retail Point of Sale System

As the decision-maker you also choose which retail point of sale (POS) software your store uses.

Many independent retailers view these systems are viewed as secondary or even tertiary to their store’s operation. However, the powerful tools and capabilities of these systems make them a primary cog in your store’s machine.

According to our list of the five must-have retail POS features, inventory management is crucial. Over two-thirds of the retail POS buyers we consult specifically request inventory capabilities.

But just because they’re doing it doesn’t mean you should.

The reason you should do it is because research shows 83 percent of customers won’t return to your store if an item they want to purchase is out-of-stock.

Inventory management features help you ensure products are in stock and capitalize on every potential sale. And perhaps more important, inventory management automates tedious and time-consuming manual inventory methods.

Snapshot of Shopify’s inventory management capabilities.

While inventory management is an important feature for capitalizing on current customers, there are plenty other features of retail POS systems that benefit small retailers. A few other notable benefits include:

  • Reporting and analytics: Get accurate insight into who’s buying your products, what those products are, and when and how they are being purchased.
  • Customer management: Collect highly valuable customer data, including contact information, purchase histories, and more.
  • Employee management: Easily manage employee schedules and accurately complete payroll duties.

If you’re stuck on deciding between a few different POS systems, or if you have no idea where to start, fill out a quick form and speak to one of our expert retail advisors. They’ll give you free advice and provide a shortlist of the best systems for your store.

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