The economic landscape may still be rocky for many retailers, but at EposPartners, we’ve seen a surge in enquiries from independent and start-up retailers in recent months. The retail landscape is no longer dominated by major brands and even if you are the smallest independent retailer, you have the opportunity to gain valuable market share, provided you take the right approach.
Consumers seek more information than ever before when it comes to their purchase decisions
I think most retailers will agree that consumers actively seek out more information than ever before when it comes to their purchase decisions. From checking out reviews online to comparing prices on the latest price-checker app, what is clear is that to compete in the modern retail environment, you need have an online presence to support your offline business. Without it, you risk losing market share to the competition that are delivering both.
Retailers need have an online presence to support their offline business
By online I don’t just mean a static website, but a place where customers can interact and engage in the shopping experience. Whether that is browsing your site during their lunch break or letting them know about your offers via Twitter and Facebook, you need to be doing everything you can to keep your customers thinking about you long after their initial purchase.
As a leading independent hardware retailer, we know that our customers need to do so much more than just have a good EPOS system! So here are a few small but significant tweaks you can make to your offering that could make a huge difference to your sales!
Customers want an enjoyable shopping experience
Customer service delivered by your staff is one of the key factors affecting whether your customers leave your store satisfied and is one key area of advantage for smaller, independent retailers. Meeting and greeting customers is an easy way to boost engagement immediately, so make sure you dedicate some of your team to front of house activities. If you are drafting in additional staff who perhaps aren’t part of the regular team, take extra care to ensure they deliver the level of customer service that has come to be expected by returning customers. Consider ways to make the day enjoyable for your staff, such as incentives for the number of greets or store card sign ups and so on. Customers want to find their shopping experience enjoyable and there is nothing worse than having to face a grumpy employee who is clearly only looking forward to the end of their shift!
Stock Availability is critical to maximising sales
Stock availability and good customer service at a local store level is absolutely critical to maximising sales in the current climate. There is nothing more irritating for a customer than to want to buy something from you, but you just don’t have it! Now I know you can’t predict every potential order, but what you can do is ensure that your systems are updated so that customers are given the most accurate information. Finding an item is in stock when you check online or via an App, only to get to store to find it isn’t, is not going to do you any favours!
Good Images – A great product can be totally let down by poor pictures that fail to show it off in it’s best light
Check the quality of your images that you are using to promote your products. A great product can be totally let down by poor pictures that fail to show it off in it’s best light! If you are keen to really make your products stand out, but your images are letting you down, it may be worth investing in some good quality product shots that will grab the attention of your customers and entice them to buy.
Independent retailers need to offer a truly cross-channel experience
So, in essence, as an independent retailer, you need to offer a truly cross-channel experience which means that your customers have total choice in the way they shop with you. To stay ahead of the game, you need to make sure that you are giving your customers compelling reasons to shop with you by providing a seamless, enjoyable and stress-free shopping experience! Good luck!
Jennie joined EposPartners in 2011 having worked with two leading retail chains to develop their multi-channel solutions. An experienced E-commerce manager having also worked in the Civil Service and high-end hospitality, she is determined to continually develop the EposPartners brand, improving the customer experience by listening to their needs and sourcing suitable solutions. Jennie is proving that EposPartners is the place to come for advice and guidance when making that all-important purchase for your retail outlet.
For more information visit www.epospartners.co.uk