10 Steps to Effectively Compete in the Changing Retail Environment
How Small-To-Mid Size (SMB) Retailers can in a constantly evolving Retail Environment
As the retail industry evolves, it becomes more and more challenging for SMB retailers to compete. Differentiating against big box retailers who are rapidly expanding into the mom-and-pop shop markets, as well as keeping loyal customers purchasing from your business as opposed to shopping online elsewhere, is not an easy task. To better compete in-store and online, omnichannel SMB need to maximize their access to current technologies and retail management systems.
Celerants retail technology experts compiled a Top Ten list of ways retailers boost sales, lower overhead costs, and increase customer flow and satisfaction.
1. Integrate With and Encourage Social Media InteractionsSocial media channels are the backbone to any company, whether online or not. Retailers utilize social media influencers, tagged, posts, and ads on every social media network to expand their reach to new markets through their own consumers. Letting the customers promote your product increases outreach and product credibility.
2. Incorporate Videos to Sell Your Brand
Videos are a full-picture and increasing in popularity branding tool, especially among millennials; showcasing the product, allowing for reviews, and a full/real picture of the product. This especially helps for the omnichannel approach for people to come into your store or visit online.
3. Enable and Invite Your Customers to Post Online Reviews
Another opportunity for the consumer to sell your product for you, is having online customer reviews available for all potential consumers to view and judge. Online reviews also increase content on your websites and all social media channels, which positively impacts your SEO. The easiest way to manage this is through automated emails sent to the customer immediately after purchase or delivery, to get a full picture of the experience immediately.
4. Empower Your Customers to be Truly Mobile
Consumers are always aware of retail benchmarks; they compare prices to other retailers; they read reviews before even entering the store; and can, now, pay using mobile devices. Companies should use a mobile retail POS for their retail management system in order to interact with these customers and immediately generate “good reviews”.
5. Don’t Just Send out Mass Emails; Personalize Them
Shoppers generally have a spam filter full of automated emails, so personalizing these emails to their preferences will keep your company’s emails out of spam. This retail POS is more difficult to leverage, but personalizing likes, dislikes, and preferences will increase traffic to your website efficiently.
6. Offer Your Customers Loyalty Programs
Almost all retailers have developed some kind of awards program that not only provides incentive to customers to shop at their store, but allows for them to track important metrics and data of flow into and out of their website. When a customer signs up for these loyalty programs, the company will get their age, demographic, location, and other important information to targeting brand outreach and products.
7. Invest in Your Website’s SEO
As the competition between retailers increases online, a companies’ SEO must be sustainable- regardless of intended outreach or audience. Effective SEO strategy allows for, you to increase web traffic, get more “clicks”, and sell more products.
8. Offer More Products on Your Website without Stocking Inventory
Leveraging your vendors/distributors products and offering a wider variety of goods to your customers on your website eliminates the need to stock vendor merchandise by taking advantage of their live inventory on your site and sending directly to the consumer.
9. Optimize & Automate Online Ordering Fulfillment
In today’s eCommerce climate, it is difficult to compete with the instant gratification some online retail stores can provide. Leveraging all your stores to reach the most customers as a fulfillment center, considering: Location, supply, promotional surpluses, specific shipment options, staff, and pickup/delivery frequency; optimizing how fast your customers receive their products, while minimizing cost, labor, and time.
10. Sell Your Products through 3rd Party Marketplaces
Utilizing retail management system giants such as Amazon and EBay, means that your company is missing out on thousands of sales. Selling your product through this point of sale exponentially increases outreach. It also optimizes retail POS platforms because you will no longer directly deal with fulfillment requirements, payment, or customer service, especially with Amazon Prime, a wildly popular option among online consumers.