Three Quick First Steps1. Stop advertising You're wasting money 2. Ignore the bad customers You know the ones we're talking about 3. Build your email list And send out interesting updates
Now, gather some data4. Count your traffic Everyone's doing it, why aren't you? 5. Calculate your conversion You can't improve what you don't know
5 steps to beat new life into your retail store
Over time, we noticed patterns. We knew the few things that made the biggest impact to any independent store.
We started as consultants. When an independant retailer was in trouble, or just wanted an outside opinion, they would come to us.
We would do the gobs of legwork to figure out what they needed to do, then we'd hand them a stack of paper with a detailed plan. (A BIG stack.)
Then we'd watch them follow the plan and, without fail, they would start growing. Awesome.
Over time, we noticed patterns. We knew the few things that made the biggest impact to any independent store, no matter how well it was run.
So we put them together in this guide for everyone to read.
Obviously, we'd love for you to signup to Thrive so we can give you long term, customized tools. But not everyone has the time for Thrive. We get that.
So here are the basics that you can do today. For free. Cause really, all we want is to help.
1. Stop Advertising
Seriously, stop it.
When you buy advertising, how do you know you're not losing your money?
If you’re under the impression that advertising will help you attract as many customers as possible and create awareness about your store, this is not always true.
You can get more sales without getting new customers. And you can get new customers without putting on sales. (See what we did there?)
How do you know you are attracting the right customers? Do you know what your customers want and what they are interested in? How can you send the right message to the most profitable customers for your store if you don’t know them?
Successful stores do not spend money on anything unless they can get a measurable return. Advertising is no different.
We'll get to measuring your advertising in a later step, but for now, stop wasting your money. There are better places to put it.
2. Ignore the bad customers
You don’t need more customers, you need the right customers. Yes, it’s true — some of your customers are really bad for your business. And we bet if you think about it, you'll know exactly who they are.
You've probably been trying hard to satisfy every customer, but some customers cost you more than you make. They waste your time and demand the most service attention. And they usually spend less! They're high maintenance. It's time to toss them out the window. (Metaphorically, of course)
The right customers appreciate the value behind your product. They spend more. And most importantly, they're loyal. You need to determine who these customers are and then get to know them personally. And like any relationship, you get to know their interests, wants and needs.
Figure this out, and the praises they sing will be far louder than any advertising jingle.
3. Start an email list
So you want to build relationships. Right. Well first, collect some email addresses and build a mailing list.
But of course anyone can send emails about their products and services and sales. Boring. The box stores have been doing that for years.
Bring your personality into it. Yes, let people know what's going on in the store, but also tell them what's happening in your life. Let them get to know you personally.
One of our favorite examples was a client of ours who would send out his mother's recipes around Christmas and detail his fishing trips in the summer. It had nothing to do with the furniture he sold, but it got noticed and it got forwarded. And it made all of his customers feel a little closer to him.
Play to your strength -- you. That's what a box store can't do.
(Oh, and did I mention it's free?)
4. Count your traffic
Traffic as in people walking into your store, not cars and busses – you need to count them. It’s really easy to keep a piece of paper by your register and get your staff (or you) to put a tick each time someone comes into your store, not counting babies or dogs…unless they actually purchase in your store.
Counting traffic will help you easily determine your conversion rate. It’s really important, easy and free. When you know the numbers in your store, the bigger decisions are made much easier which saves you a lot of time – a lot more than the small amount it takes to put a tick on a piece of paper.
5. Calculate your conversion
Do you know your conversion rate? Don’t lie. And don’t say that your POS system does it for you…does it actually? or do you just assume it does? My guess is the latter.
Your conversion rate deals with the traffic in your store. It is the people who come in, browse, give your staff flack, nit sweaters, whatever it may be, and then leave, versus the people who actually purchase from you.
[CONVERSION RATE] = [NUMBER OF CUSTOMERS WHO PURCHASE] / [NUMBER OF CUSTOMERS WHO ENTER YOUR STORE]
Just keep the time period the same, and that's the answer you'll get. (Hint: The longer the time period, the more accurate your calculation will be.)
See why it’s so important to count your traffic? By doing this, you can easily determine your conversion rate and what activities are actually making you money. When your conversion is low you are wasting money on advertising and attracting people that aren't buying from you.