Basic Techniques for Improving Retail Results – 45 Quick Tips to Help Improve Your Retail Business

Retail consultants often find that when they dig in, that successful retailers often are not any more talented than those who struggle.  The difference is that they have learned the fundamentals of retailing and have built the habits and culture necessary to execute them on a daily basis. 


Additionally the most successful retailers are not afraid to take a hard look at their business and make changes and innovations as needed.  Often the simplest ideas can yield the biggest results.


Here is a comprehensive list of practical ideas, tips and techniques that you can use to make your business more successful.  Don’t worry about executing them all, pick one or two and start making a difference in your business today!

1.) Find out who your customers are and what they are seeking.

2.) Profile your customers by age, income, occupation, etc.

3.) Know the reasons why customers shop at your store? (service, convenience, dependability, quality, promptness, or competence).

4.) Understand the market forces affecting the consumer's attitude when it comes to price and what they expect to pay.

5.) Emphasize areas of appeal such as: special sizes, lower prices, better service, wider selection, good location, or convenient hours.

6.) Have a tracking system for how many customers shop your store every day.

7.) Seek suggestions from your best customers on ways you can boost business.

8.) Implement weekly product and sales training meetings for your staff in order to keep them motivated and up to date.

9.) Examine and adjust your compensation programs on a regular basis to ensure that they are encouraging profit-building behavior from team members

11.) Try to re-establish lost or inactive customers.

12.) Use a store questionnaire to aid you in determining customers' needs.

13.) Make your return policies more customer friendly.

14.) Make it a policy to give cash refunds when requested by the customer.

15.) Offer customers a “no hassle” satisfaction guarantee.

16). Extend your store hours.

17.) Accept more forms of payment – prepaid cards, Discover, etc

18.) Analyze complaints and take action to prevent recurrence.

19.) Train employees to service and work with customers in a professional manner.

20.) Grade your store's location every week in regards to merchandising standards.

21.) Create a system to let customers know how much you appreciate their business.

22.) Use advertising techniques to create urgency and motivate customers to buy now.

23.) Test different advertising methods to find out what works best (direct mail, newspaper, television, radio, social media, email blast, text blast, craigslist).

24.) Create new opportunities for customers to purchase more frequently from your store.

25.) Implement proven business formulas of other successful retail firms.

26.) Replace outdated methods with new techniques and better resources for retailing in today's high-tech, fast-moving, and competitive marketplace.

27.) Set up an inventory control system in regards to shrinkage, performance, amount of merchandise, mark-up, profit and turnover.

28.) Implement monthly loss prevention and safety audits to avoid catastrophic losses.

29.) Utilize a system for tracking slow-moving merchandise and those products that are your best-sellers.

30.) Use different ways to arrange and display merchandise that will make it easier for customers to buy.

31.) Know your average sales transaction and what you can do to increase it.

32.) Increase your sales transactions by offering better prices, more value, sales incentives, or add-ons.

33.) Know which products are price-sensitive to your customers, that is, when a slight increase in price will lead to a drop-off in demand.

34.) Evaluate the amount of inventory you carry, and fine tune your operating expense ratios on a regular basis.

35.) Use newsletters as a “marketing tool” to remind customers of the products or services you provide.

36.) Make it an effort to buy promotional and off-price merchandise to improve your profit margin.

37.) Buy private-label merchandise to avoid the same line prices of your direct competition.

38.) Join other stores like yours in area-wide buying programs to receive better prices or trade discounts.

39.) Do cross-marketing by joining forces with restaurants, clubs, or whatever to jointly develop special promotions.

40.) Belong to trade associations and subscribe to newsletters and trade publications to keep you informed.

41.) Implement monthly employee reviews with written goals and expectations

42.) Interview new employment candidates every week so you have a bull-pen of applicants when you need them

43.) Involve employees in making suggestions for improving business and cutting costs.

44.) Implement a program to reward your employees for their extra efforts and innovative ideas.

45.) Don't let emotions get in the way of making sound business decisions.