1. You’re not delivering an exceptional customer experience. It’s the old saw but it’s true... brick and mortar retail is all about the experience customers have at your store. It’s not about the products; just trust me on that. Creating that takes more than saying you provide customer service, it takes retail sales training, a relentless focus on going out of your way, and having an open heart as you engage each shopper. Engage shoppers in-store, and they’ll come back... and send their friends.
2. You’re not getting their contact information. A customer who buys something and leaves without any way for you to contact them leaves as a ghost. You need a system of collecting information that isn’t intrusive, robotic, or dependent on deals – are you listening Walgreens? You could use a kiosk in your store, a QR code to scan, or even an old-school form. Your best marketing should be aimed at people who know you already.
3. You don’t have regular communication. A simple set of emails for new customers or a monthly newsletter keeps your name front and center. Whether they need what you feature in that email, newsletter, or publication is irrelevant; they regularly see your brand which keeps you top-of-mind. Without using the information you collect, you are now a ghost, forgotten by those shoppers.
4. You haven’t created great window displays. If you have display windows, and you’re not using them correctly, you are not taking advantage of one of the most powerful marketing pieces at your disposal. You can either capture the attention of passersby with a thoughtful, focused display, or you can load it up with lots of junk and watch those passersby ignore you. Take the time to discover the scrumptious outfit, the tricked out electronics package, then add a great sign and voila. Note a best practice is to change them twice a month.
5. You haven’t used Facebook sponsored posts. The numbers on Facebook are still staggering which is why their sponsored ads and posts are so popular. Did you know you can actually select a competitor’s followers as a group to aim your ads at? I didn’t think so. Yes, they cost money. You have to use money to make money. And the more keywords or emails you use to form custom audiences, the better. Like any marketing, you can't just post an ad and do nothing else. You have to monitor, track, and A/B test the heck out of it. That said, I know of nowhere else you can drive your message to shoppers within your own trading area so easily.
6. You avoid the reality of online pricing competition. There is a perception that a smaller store will, by nature, be overpriced. Do you want to get buzz and attack online competitors head-on? Come up with a policy you’re comfortable with that offers your in-store customers an opportunity to stay, buy and return. Hear me out. We all know that Best Buy has about eight online retailers they will price-match...including Amazon. Your margins won’t allow you to go there. But when price matching becomes an issue and your customer is about to walk out, offer them the difference in a gift certificate for future purchase, an upgrade, or something of equal value. Wouldn’t it be better to save that sale by making those offers than letting them leave and buy from someone else? And won’t that buyer leave happy and most likely return? Of course, but it takes a very forward-thinking leader to make it happen.
7. You have limited store hours. If your hours are for your convenience and not your customers’, say closing at 5 pm on weekdays and staying closed on Sundays, you are actively telling a group of customers who work – we don’t need your business. The three highest traffic times in retail stores in order: Saturday 11-1, Saturday 2-4, Sunday 1-3. Retail is not a hobby business; you have to be open when shoppers want you to be.