Retail is an important sector in South Africa. The country has a retail market that is considered mature and there is a shopping culture that is quite established with well-known brands.
There are a few factors that could make running a business in this sector difficult, though. A lot of the operating costs that are involved in running your shop have risen and this makes your margins tighter.
The way that people shop has also started to change. They want more convenience, individualised experiences and high quality. If you want to keep your business turning a profit, you will need to keep the following tips close to hand!
Be a people person
Your customers should be the centre of your business. By engaging with them and knowing what they want, you will be able to attract new customers as well as returning ones.
You might have to be on your feet for long hours and you will need to keep a smile on your face. And, just as important, you should extend your interactions with customers beyond your shop. You can do this through social media or mailing lists.
Continually get feedback from customers so that you can be clear about what you should be offering them.
Customers need a reason to go to your shop over someone else’s. There should be a gap in the market that you have identified and then filled. Retail is a huge sector and so this can be difficult, but you might just be looking to find a gap in the local area.
You will also need to establish a clear brand for your shop. This brand should be carried through your marketing and the way that you decorate and stock your shop.
What is it that you believe in? How do you want this to translate this to your customers? The brand that you develop should be something that your customers can identify with. Therefore, you will also need to ask, who your audience is?
Ecommerce has begun to dominate the industry. This hasn’t made brick and mortar stores irrelevant. They do, however, need to combine online features to their business to remain connected.
First and foremost, your website will need to be up to date, easy to use and useful to users. Then, if you want to expand your market, you can add online sales to your business.
A combined online and offline shopping experience is what works best for customers. Although setting this up could be a lot of work, once you have, you can capitalise on a much further reach. Not to mention the increased sales due to the convenience for your shoppers.
You can also use your online platforms as a way to keep in touch with your customers, figure out what they want and listen to any feedback that they might have.
Up the ante in-store
Think about what kind of experience your customers are getting when they are in your shop. If your customers enjoy coming to your business, they are more likely to come back.
You need to consider what it is that you are offering them. You can create events in your shop or change the layout so that the shopping experience is easier. It could be as simple as making sure the shop floor is not too cluttered.
Finding the right retail business will be the first step, keeping up with the trends and focusing on your customer will be the rest of the journey.