If you operate a retail store, you probably already understand the importance of attracting new customers and keeping their loyalty in order to stay afloat. That’s why it can be helpful to realize that even in today’s high-tech world of social media, influencers, and the like, there are still some simple ways to ensure you’re doing all you can to build and maintain your client base. Here are three things you can do to bring in more business and keep existing customers happily within your fold.
Sadly, there has probably been a shop in your neighborhood that you never paid attention to until there was a huge “Going Out of Business” sign above its door. The owner’s failure to make his or her store noticeable was likely a key factor in the shop’s failure. The lesson here is that even if your business doesn’t have a prime location, doing what you can to make it stand out can be critical to its success.
A good starting point is to have signage that is readable from a distance. That will typically mean using a clear font and contrasting colors that people can easily see when walking or driving by your shop. If your store is tucked away without a street-front presence, consider sidewalk signs or flag banners that will help draw attention. Once you have proper signage, maximize your visual appeal by making your storefront look as sharp as possible. Applying a fresh coat of paint, keeping your sidewalks swept free of debris, and ensuring your windows are sparkling can go a long way toward grabbing the attention of any passersby.
Your clients likely find it reasonable if your shop isn’t open for business 24/7. What they might not find acceptable is feeling like they can’t get ahold of you during business hours. Although you may be busy assisting in-store customers, when your phone rings and you’re unable to answer it you may never have a chance to earn that caller’s business.
Many owners solve this problem by engaging a company like VoiceNation to answer the phone for them. Using a service like this can ensure that no call is ever missed and that your clients are assisted by a helpful agent rather than being sent straight to voicemail. Receptionists can give basic information such as your location, hours, and stock availability to callers, then provide you with messages and details from customers who require further assistance. It’s like being fully staffed at all times, without having to hire additional employees.
In the same way that using a phone answering service can eliminate the risk of missing out on potential business, so can following up on every incoming communication. Regardless of whether it’s a query forwarded by your phone service, an email from an existing customer, or feedback on a blog you’ve posted, being responsive when people reach out can make them feel more confident in you when it’s time to make a purchase.
Ideally, you’ll have a staff member or a marketing service dedicated to handling communications. If that’s not practical or your correspondence isn’t at a level that merits full-time attention, then it might be wise to habitually set aside some time throughout the day to respond. Perhaps sitting down for an hour before your shop opens and after it closes will be adequate, or maybe there’s a typical afternoon lull you can rely on to catch up. Whatever chunks of time you dedicate to the process, start by skimming through your messages to prioritize the most critical ones and tackle those first. For the rest, if you don’t have enough time at the moment to address them, it can still say a lot about your commitment if you acknowledge the query and assure the correspondent that you will follow up at your earliest opportunity. In many clients’ eyes, the worst thing you can do is to not respond at all.
Growing and maintaining your store’s clientele needn’t be an overwhelming task. By ensuring your storefront is eye-catching and attractive, making sure customers can contact you, and responding to existing and potential clients when they reach out to you, you’ll likely be going a long way toward having a successful retail establishment.
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