Sailing through the “online” tide: All is not lost for retailers
French author Charles Dickens, in his famous novel “A Tale of Two Cities”, wrote — it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Embarking on a new decade, entrepreneurs are also facing such a paradox.
While businesses can rejoice over the fact that overall sales have jumped up like never before in India, the price wars and choice explosion have become herculean challenges for every trader out there. Add to this, the rise of online shopping trends and you have the most uncertain phase for the retail store owners.
But the glass is still more than half full for retailers if they keep pace with consumers’ wants and needs. A few simple ways for brick-and-mortar businesses to keep their footing are:-
Fractional retail: A great way to maximize profits is by cutting input cost. And what better way than fractional retail to do this!
This concept refers to entrepreneurs sharing commercial spaces and building their businesses. In view of fierce competition and dwindling profits, businesses of all sizes are increasingly joining coworking communities.
If you are a designer, fractional retail helps you start a business on prime locations which is always abuzz with customers and expand into new geographies without the burden of high real estate investments. And if you are the store owner of a well-established fashion brand, here is your opportunity to offer your customers something new every month and improve your foot falls. Our experience shows that stores that host Pop ups typically gain from both the rental revenue as well as get new customers that the designer gets into the store.
Visibility: Visibility is something that turns your company into a brand. Thus, devising a marketing strategy is as crucial for retail owners as it is for e-commerce sites.
Identify your audience and ensure that your advertisement reaches them. You don’t need to spend big bucks on your advertisement campaign; you just have to spend it right. For instance, you can advertise via digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and others. They have great penetration power and do not cost much. Some old school techniques like pamphlets and posters also enhance your visibility, if done right. Also, pop-ups shops and exhibitions are a great way to advertise and earn at the same time.
New Experiences: A recent survey revealed that as many as 55% of buyers actively switch brands even when satisfied by purchases. Buyers are constantly looking for a change and while they may love your products their urges need a healthy dose of variety. Inviting new products that complement your offering is a great way to create a frequent buzz and high brand recall for your brand.
In-store experience: The Gen Z has now become active shoppers and the millennial buyers are still driving consumption. And these new buyers are well aware of the ongoing trends. Thus, one must ensure that one’s inventory is up to date.
Also, sloppy service is a big turn off for these young buyers. So, keep your men on the toes for consumers. And as they say, happy and satisfied customers keep the cash registers ringing.
The “Retail is Detail” dictum: Do not shy away from analyzing the consumer behavior. Your product stock must only depend upon consumers’ wants, needs and desires. Figure out a “let go” price for your products that is competitive and yet leaves margin.
Exclusive offers: E-commerce sites often offer free shipping to regular shoppers. This incentive promotes customer loyalty. Similarly, retail stores must also come up with exclusive discount offers for their regular customers like early previews, exclusive discount and anything that makes them feel special. Such offers don’t impact the profit margins much but help in forging good business relationships.
So, here’s to the New Year and the new decade. Happy selling!