[tweetmeme]While the economy is showing some signs of recovery, many retailers are still hurting. Even more so for small retailers.
If your retail store is underperforming or the sales are down, check out Bob Phibbs’ new book “The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business: A Step-by-Step Approach to Quickly Diagnose, Treat, and Cure.” The book offers a number of tips to help come up on top despite the recession and improve your retail sales:
1. Get to know and understand your financials – and make decisions based on how you can improve your bottom-line.
- Look at your sales by category report, and reduce inventory in categories that are not selling and pump up orders for best sellers. Limit new orders based on past sales.
- Review your pricing to see how it contributes to the profitability of your retail store.
- Be sure that your stock levels correspond with your most recent sales trends.
- Look at ways to increase the number of items per sale.
2. Reexamine how your store or showroom looks and organized.
- Look at how your store display is contributing to increase your conversation rate (the number of people who purchased as compared to the number who entered the store).
- Think how your product presentation and placement is persuading customers to buy more than they originally planned.
- Consider how you are merchandising your store – placement of your new arrivals, the color combinations and heights of items displayed together, how you are grouping items together, presence of well-placed signs, among others.
3. Make sure that you are hiring the right employees
- Check how you are making sure that each employee you hire contributes to the positive health of your business.
- Look at the process how you hire – from making sure that the job descriptions are clear to interview techniques that will help you gauge how well the new hire will fit in your business.
4. Analyze how your store actually sells
- Get the greeting words right – no more “Can I help you?” as you’re more likely to hear, “No, just looking.” The words, “Good morning, welcome to (name of store)” may sound formal to you, but it can elicit a better response from the customer.
- Look for possible windows of connection with the customer – and teach your team how to talk to each other as well as customers.
5. Build and coach your team
- Given that your crew’s attitude affects how well your store sells, make sure you meet with your team regularly once a week, before the store opens.
- Create a goal sheet for employees, keeping them realistic and manageable.
- Consider the benefits of hiring mystery shoppers.
- Give raises and promotions only if the employees deserve to be rewarded because they have achieved success.
- Get rid of the deadweight and non-performers; don’t hesitate to fire them after giving them written warnings.
6. Use the Web to market your store.
- Get a website and learn how to use the Web to get the word out about your business.
- Look at how your retail store can use and benefit from social media.
For more on Bob Philbin’s book, read “Growing Your Retail Store Business” and buy the book The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business: A Step-by-Step Approach to Quickly Diagnose, Treat, and Cure.