Most people are creatures of habit. Store owners frequently state “We do not want to change anything; we just want to increase our bottom line.” when meeting with a business consultant.
This refusal by some retailers can be a huge stumbling block and impede your store’s success. With the explosion of online retailers and same day delivery, retailing is no longer the same as it was 10 years ago. You must adapt to the new way of doing business, or your store may flounder. Successful brick and mortar stores that continue to evolve are booming. These retailers are shaking up the old status quo by adapting to changes in how customers purchase products. I encourage my business clients to sweep away cobwebs from their cash registers by taking these actions:
1 Rearrange Your Store
Moving displays and products around instantly freshens up the appearance of your store. When your customers are used to going to one specific aisle or section of your store for their repeat buys, they do not look at your other products. By rearranging your store space, they will have to adjust their path through your store. This will bring them into contact with other items that they may have not noticed before! You will begin to hear “Oh, this is new! I never saw it before!” from your customers about products that you have had for 6 months.
2 Clean It Up
Some stores only clean once a week or once a month. Their products are dusty, the carpet is dirty and let’s not talks about their bathrooms. Customers do not want to pick up products that are covered in dust or have not been moved since you opened. Pull items off the shelf, dust them, and wipe down the shelf before returning the product to it. Vacuum the dried leaves and brush off cobwebs. Clean the dead flies from the overhead light fixtures. Don’t forget to sweep the sidewalk outside, collecting windblown garbage too. Customers always notice, and they write about your store’s cleanliness in their online reviews.
3 Immersion Experience
You want your customers to come in and say “Yes, this is exactly what I expected for a body-mind-spirit store!” Play appropriate music, string up the fairy lights, burn some sage or incense, open testers for aromatherapy products, host a jewelry trunk show, set up that ancestral altar or quiet zone. You are displaying your products in the best way. From the time your customer walks in, the store’s smell, sound and products should all be in line with this vision. Your goal is to make your customer desire those products now for their own home.
4 Hire Passionate People
There is nothing worse than walking into a specialty shop and finding disinterested workers. They play on their phones, sip their coffees, and cannot answer product questions. Break the cycle of bad employees. When you choose to hire people that already have a basic understanding of your retail segment and are passionate to learn more, they welcome training. Passionate employees treat your customers better. Your employees will start conversations, and exchange helpful tips about the products with your customers. Customers enjoy learning, but they also love to share their own knowledge with others inside your store.
5 Don’t Lock Up Early
In any city, most small shops have short hours from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. These shops lose customers that work during that time. The customer cannot spend money with you while they are working to earn that money. These same store owners state “But I have Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm for working people!” The problem is these working people are taking kids to sports events, or running errands for groceries, or attending family parties or events on Saturday. With schools having longer hours, and commuting workers, you are missing out on sales to customers that run their errands on the way home from work. You can increase sales simply by staying open for these customers until 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm. Accommodating customers with better hours makes it easier for them to shop when they have time to do so.
Adapting may be slightly uncomfortable, but it does make a difference. Breaking long-held habits or ideas of “how things should still be done” will give your business a much needed jolt. Provide yourself the opportunity to update your store’s “look” and “feel”, and you will revitalize your customer base. Become their destination of choice to experience the whole body-mind-spirit movement.