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How to increase sales in retail

Despite the massive shift to online shopping and online stores over the past few years, there remains an overwhelming number of shoppers who enjoy and prefer the physical in-store experience. Although many retailers have gone through challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, they remain relevant in the business landscape and will continue to do so.

However, small and medium-sized retail businesses have to put in extra effort to attract and retain shoppers not only because of the high levels of competition they face but also because customers are increasingly demanding and actively seeking out shopping experiences that resonate with them.

In order for retailers to cater to these trends, they need to be aware of how to boost retail sales for their customers’ satisfaction and for the success of their business. Wondering how to do this? Here’s a detailed list of tips on how to increase sales in retail.

Selling techniques in retail

Because retailers operate in a highly competitive landscape, they need to offer their customers the ultimate shopping experience. All this needs to be done while ensuring that retailers meet and exceed their sales targets to remain relevant and active in a business sense. But how can you boost sales in retail? Here are some suggestions to help guide you.

1. Focus on your store’s exterior

An often overlooked aspect of a brick-and-mortar store is its exterior. This refers to the signage, lighting, cleanliness and overall appeal of the store to make a good first impression and draw customers in. If you haven’t done so already, try to approach your store from a first-time customer’s perspective. Is it easy to find? Is the exterior appealing? Are there any minor touch-ups that you can do to make your store’s exterior more visually appealing?

2. Optimise store layout

Retail stores tend to have “hot” and “cold” zones. What this means is that there are zones where many customers flock to when they’re looking for items while there are also “cold” zones, which few customers stop at to browse. One effective strategy is to design or change your store layout so that as much of it as possible will be considered a “hot” zone. This may mean shifting and rearranging your product displays to ensure that customers spend more time in your store, shopping for an array of attractive products as opposed to heading for their well-known shelf and purchasing just one.

3. Manage your inventory

Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than making the effort to go into a store only to find out that the specific item they’re looking for is out of stock. As such, managing your inventory and ensuring that you’re always stocked up on supplies is another essential sales retail approach to follow.

4. Run smart promotions

Shoppers love promotions and any opportunity to spend less than they set out to. However, when introducing promotions, retailers should be smart. You should consider offering products on sale that sell less quickly than others at a discounted price. However, thorough calculations will need to be made to ensure that once a sale is made, your margins are not too thin and unsustainable.

5. Offer vouchers

Another way of improving your in-store sales is to offer vouchers and surprise rewards. Giving customers a discount on their next sale is a great incentive for repeat purchases. Meanwhile, a surprise reward, which can be a small token of appreciation, will go a long way to enhancing the customer’s shopping experience and ensuring they’re left with a pleasant memory. By targeting these personal needs for appreciation, you’re much more likely to retain your customers and ensure smooth and streamlined sales in the future.

6. Introduce loyalty programmes

Loyalty programmes are excellent for retaining customer loyalty as well. And one way of doing this is by rewarding your loyal customers with discounts or through other means for their business or even for referrals that they recommend to your store. Regarding referrals, these are not only a great way of introducing new shoppers to your store but they’re also a great way of cementing your relationship with loyal customers.

7. Stimulate impulse purchases

Impulse purchases are unplanned purchases. These can be stimulated by ensuring that you carefully curate your shop layout, structure and design. For example, small items that will have an almost negligible impact on the final amount a shopper will pay can be promoted by placing them in strategic positions such as at the checkout counter.

happy retail customer with shopping bags

8. Offer free samples

As humans, we all love freebies. And this is another aspect to take advantage of. If your store allows for it, consider offering free samples to your clientele to not only retain them in your store longer, thereby boosting your chances of making sales, but also to pique their interest and curiosity and to appeal to a common human desire – to receive some form of gift.

9. Gather consumer data (and use it intelligently)

It’s never been more important than now to personalise your offering to your customers as they’re increasingly shifting away from generic and impersonal communication. If you have the opportunity to collect customer data such as their interests and email addresses, you’ll be better able to communicate new offers and developments regarding your business in a highly personalised way, which they will appreciate.

10. Train your team

There’s something to be said for your sales team on the floor as well. You need to invest in training them thoroughly in order to help them sell more. These are usually the customers’ first point of contact and this is what sets online shopping apart from brick-and-mortar type shopping. The impact of human interaction cannot be underestimated. However, your team needs to be on-point with every single customer that walks through the door. They need to be knowledgable about the products and features you’re offering, be friendly, polite and helpful as well as be trained in the ways that will optimise sales.

11. Incentivise foot traffic

Of course, in order to make sales, you first need to boost foot traffic to your store. This can be achieved by making the interior of your store as attractive as possible. Three strategies should be followed simultaneously to get this right. They are lighting, smells and sounds. By focusing on all three at the same time, you’ll ensure a pleasant shopping experience, longer browsing time and greater chances of making sales. As such, your lighting should never be too bright, you should stimulate your customers’ olfactory senses through lit scented candles or room deodorisers and play soothing music to slow down their walking pace so that they can browse for longer.

12. Upsell and cross-sell

While upselling means selling a product of the same nature at a higher price, cross-selling refers to selling complementary products to your customers so that you boost the total value of the sale. This is where team training (discussed above) comes in and should be focused on for greater sales volumes.

13. Provide complementary services

Going above and beyond for your customers is another way of setting you apart from your competition. The more options you offer your customers in terms of easing their experience, the higher the chances are that they’ll keep returning to you. Hence, complementary services such as free delivery, gift wrapping, product demonstrations, product assembly and even free parking are perks that will boost your standing.

14. Take advantage of local SEO

Local search engine optimisation (SEO) is another “must” for retailers. Why? Because an overwhelming number of shoppers perform online searches for local stores before they pay the store a visit. Therefore, the information you present online is like your business card. It needs to be attractive and as informative as possible to gain the customer’s attention and retain it.

15. Boost your CSR efforts

Consumer awareness today means that customers are much more likely to support local businesses that have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. They are looking for businesses that give back and that contribute to a better society. It’s no longer about doing business for business’ sake. It’s about going beyond and extending your impact to the wider community. As such, when you engage in CSR efforts, make sure you emphasise these to your customers as part of your brand story so that they know that there are positive consequences when they choose to shop at your store.

16. Offer convenient payment options

Perhaps the final and most important strategy to employ is offering your customers convenient payment options. While cash used to be king, its usage is quickly declining and becoming replaced by debit and credit card usage. These primarily contactless methods of payment need to be supported by card machines or POS terminals that offer a seamless payment experience. In fact, using card readers not only speeds out the checkout time and reduces queues. It’s also a highly important way of ensuring you cater to modern customers’ payment needs. Nothing will frustrate a customer who would like to pay with a card more than reaching the checkout only to find out you only accept cash.

Final thoughts

Although shopping habits are changing due to global developments in the business space, retailers remain as relevant as ever. With changing consumer preferences, retailers need to not only ensure they provide a highly enjoyable and high-value shopping experience, but they also need to maximise their opportunities to earn sales. In this article, we shared 16 retail selling techniques to help you do just that. Putting them in practice in a holistic manner is much more likely to earn you both new and repeat business than ignoring them and conducting business as usual.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the contents of this article and the myPOS Blog, in general, should not be interpreted as legal, monetary, tax, or any other kind of professional advice. You should always seek to consult with a professional before taking action, since the particulars of your situation may materially differ from other cases.

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