When you run a small retail business, you’ll have to think outside the box at times if you want to keep up with the bigger players. A significant part of being competitive is staying on top of the latest trends. Here is a look at three of the concepts that will be big for small retailers this year.
Omni-channel Retail Experience
As retail businesses continue to offer shopping options in the form of online stores, physical stores, and mobile experiences, retailers should focus on unifying the customer experience to bring omni-channel full circle. Just because a product isn’t in stock, doesn’t mean a customer will leave the store without making a purchase. (Although, retailers should ensure items stay in stock by using the proper inventory management software.)
If customers seem to be “shopping around” on competitor sites while they’re in your store, incentivize them to buy from you instead—offer coupons to ensure they’ll be loyal. If the item isn’t in stock, offer digital coupons and be sure to create a simple, pleasant mobile experience to keep them coming back.
For customers shopping online at home, be sure to make shipping as transparent and simple as possible. Shopping carts are often abandoned due to shipping charges—either make customers aware of fees from the beginning, or, ideally make shipping free of charge.
A positive omni-channel experience makes it easier for customers to buy from you, keeping them coming back and, in turn, increasing sales. The customers’ interaction with your brand should be as seamless as possible in 2018.
Mobile payment has been growing in leaps and bounds, with options like Visa Checkout, Apple Pay, and Venmo just a few of the many offerings that customers now want to use. If you haven’t already gotten on board with mobile payment, now is the time. By making it easy for your customers to pay for your products, you’ll not only keep them happy; you’ll also benefit from the data gained from these transactions and the comprehensive picture of your clients it provides.
You could even link your payment system to a customer loyalty program to offer customers incentives and gain even more access to data. There is an investment involved, but many small businesses are finding that it ultimately pays off.
Personalized Customer Service
One of the biggest advantages you have as a small business is the opportunity to interact with your customers and give them a personalized experience. You might not have the budget Amazon does, but you also don’t have to rely on algorithms to suggest the right top to pair with the pants a client is buying.
As many aspects of people’s lives become increasingly digitized, keep in mind the art of befriending your customers and getting to know them. This is one thing that online shopping still can’t provide, and it’s becoming a lot more powerful as a result. Get the most out of interactions by focusing on upselling based on an individual’s needs.
These are far from the only areas that deserve focus, but they are three very important factors that can make a big difference in your success this year.