Hi! I'm Dane Carlson, and welcome to the Business Opportunities Weblog. I've been publishing this website, by myself, and sometimes with the help of others for over twelve years now. You'll notice two things about this site right away:

  • We have tons of content. In fact, since November 2011, I've published more than 26,000 posts on thousands of different business ideas and opportunities.
  • We don't sell much advertising. In late 2013, I realized that by selling advertising, what I was really selling was my readers. In 2014, I've already radically cut down on the number of ads and will hopefully keep cutting.

Retail

There is arguably no more competitive industry than brick and mortar retail. Facing an increasingly mobile society and a direct challenge from online retailers, physical stores contend for the market dollars that keeps them going on multiple fronts. A successful retail store distinguishes itself from competitors through a combination of accessibility, pricing and the one attribute that has kept these stores thriving in the current marketplace: customer service. These are all part of an overall positive retail experience which keeps customers and revenue flowing in constantly.

A positive retail experience starts the moment your customer walks in the door. Customers want helpful information, but they don’t want to feel pressured or rushed into making a purchase. For this reason, a representative should never ask a customer “can I help you?”, as the answer to this question is most often a hurried “no.” Instead, you and your employees should try to gain insight on why the customer came to the store. Approach your customers and start a conversation about items they seem to be interested in. Your customers will likely appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the product, and the details that come up in the conversation will function as selling points.

Wordy descriptions and advertisements only go so far in the mind of a consumer. People considering a product are likely envisioning it in action, so the most effective promotional technique is to depict it in this manner. This is the difference between something in a store and a product customers see themselves owning. A piece of clothing is more attractive on a mannequin than on a shelf, and an eye-catching display will draw in shoppers who may not have otherwise looked at a product. Display your items in a unique or practical way to demonstrate their appeal to the customer.

Knowledge of your own product is essential to the success of a retail store. Instant information is a widespread expectation in our society, and many customers will delay a purchase rather than commit to a product they feel inadequately informed about. If a customer leaves your store “to come back another time,” the odds are that they will not return. You and your employees should be well versed in your product, and be able to relay relevant information to your customers at a moment’s notice.

Upselling and cross-selling are important for a retail store to maximize its profit, but done poorly these techniques can drive customers away. Always think of the benefits to a consumer when suggesting further products. Only suggest items that substantially enhance or increase the value of the initial product, and never become pushy in your approach. This way, customers feel as though you are simply providing them with information that will increase their enjoyment of their product instead of simply trying to get them to spend more money.

Consumers are also very aware of price. In a marketplace with so many options, many potential customers are simply looking for the best price on an item. A best price guarantee is the best way to ensure a search for the best deal ends at your doorstep. Offer to match or beat the price on any competitor’s advertisement, and customers will have little reason to do business with anyone else. It is a nearly inconsequential loss of profit that is quickly made up in volume, loyalty and word-of-mouth advertisement.

Retail stores face a more competitive environment than ever before. However, despite the changing marketplace, the principles of retail remain the same. Successful retail stores flourish by offering value, convenience and professional service to their customers.

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Originally posted by Dane Carlson on December 9, 2013 in Guest Posts.

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