As an independent retailer, your brick-and-mortar store is the backbone of your business. And as an independent retailer, you probably have a limited budget to house said store.
But what you lack in space you can more than make up for in productivity.
Regardless of where you’re located, what you’re selling or how many square feet you have to work with, there are ways to maximize your space and optimize your revenue. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Efficient layout. The first key to making the most of your store space is using it as efficiently as possible. Working with the principle that less is more, start by decluttering your store; not only do cramped and crowded spaces taint the customer experience, but they make it harder for people to find – and buy – what they need. The second key is to keep your space tidy. While some fixtures, displays and signage are necessary, keep them to a minimum – and only if they serve a purpose. Also consider the traffic flow of your store; ensure customers can navigate with ease and place your popular products where people are sure to see them.
Invest in staff. Having the right employees in place will improve customer satisfaction, increase revenue and spur loyalty. In addition to strong sales skills and a knack for upselling, an ideal staff member will have strong product knowledge, passion for your industry and familiarity with the store layout. Also, provide regular training and professional development opportunities, whether it’s product conferences, or upselling.
Premium product selection. When it comes to product selection, more isn’t necessarily better. Would you rather have piles of product collecting dust, or fewer items flying off the shelves? In addition meeting your customers’ most common needs, a more streamlined product line will cut down your overhead and free up some cash flow. A good way to stay on top of your inventory is to study sales reports and data on a regular basis – and stock up accordingly. Where you place your products can also affect sales; by placing sale items at the back, you will force customers to walk through the entire store, thus exposing them to more of your premium products and increasing the odds of impulse purchases.
Optimize prices. One of the more overlooked strategies to make the most of limited retail space is to price your products properly. In order to increase your sales per square feet, you want to find the sweet spot that gives you the highest margin possible without scaring customers away. Again, studying your data and analytics (as well as the competition) will give you an idea of what people are buying – and at what prices. There are also a few timeless pricing tricks you can use to improve sales, such as ditching the dollar sign or pricing items to end in .99 instead of .00.
Get people in – and keep them there. When it comes to retail, getting people into your store is half the battle. In order to get the word out and make a name for yourself, look beyond traditional advertising and promotions. That means leveraging social media and technological advancements, hosting community events and taking advantage of marketing trends, such as the current Pokemon Go craze. Once you have people in your store, it’s important to treat them as potential customers; they may not buy something right then, but making a great first impression will give them a reason to remember you. And may just gain you a customer for life.