Overcoming Today’s Biggest Retail Management Challenges
Feb19 2020 Evie harrison Guest contributor From store operations and supply chain management to marketing and finance, recent times have shown an increase in the technological aspects of running a business. Before the turn of the century, running a business was not that complicated. Entrepreneurs focused primarily on mastering the numbers and realizing the opportunities […]


Evie harrison
Guest contributor

From store operations and supply chain management to marketing and finance, recent times have shown an increase in the technological aspects of running a business.

Before the turn of the century, running a business was not that complicated. Entrepreneurs focused primarily on mastering the numbers and realizing the opportunities that would benefit - or go bankrupt - the brand.

In the midst of this digital age, concepts and ideologies are changing faster than businesses can adapt. With almost all businesses entering the online world, physical distances no longer matter, and this has dramatically increased competition in all industries.

In addition, today's customers are very demanding. They are dedicated researchers who will only buy the best product at the lowest price. With a wealth of information at your fingertips, it doesn't take a lot to get the best deal. Squareup.com said 64% of SMBs said customers were more focused on finding the lowest prices than supporting local businesses. And so, brand loyalty threatens to slowly fade away.

Facing emerging challenges, retail brands must continue to expand the consumer base, build customer relationships, increase brand awareness, strengthen consumer relationships, strengthen loyalty, and more. again. So here is, run a business, especially a retail business, is not as straightforward and straightforward as it used to be.

Let's take a closer look at some of the current aspects of retail management and the solutions that can shape its future.

Respond to constantly changing customer demands

With the availability of unlimited online resources, consumers demand a unique shopping experience that meets their needs, preferences and expectations. Buyers are looking for the best shopping experiences, whether it's seamlessly switching between the online / offline experience or switching brands for better price, better quality, better service, etc.

Solution: Brands must now become more aware of their consumers and their expectations. They should focus on aligning their products and services according to their needs and preferences. Retailers need to keep up with the latest buying trends and consumer behavior.

Aim at collect feedback customers and understand their demands. You can further polish your product with creative ideas to meet seasonal or vacation needs.

Create effective marketing campaigns

People avoid advertisements like the plague. But without marketing, brands risk dying a slow, silent death. As a result, big brands engage with buyers and customers across several different channels, such as text, email, and social media platforms.

While communication is essential for engagement and creating the perfect experience, customers are often overwhelmed with repeated messages. It can, in fact, drive buyers to your competition.

Therefore how can retailers market effectively a product to increase brand awareness?

Solution: There are a variety of new marketing trends that your brand can incorporate. One of the most common involves the use of predictive data and analytics. It helps create strategic marketing campaigns, personalize the shopping experience, and turn one-time visitors into repeat customers.

It also equips retailers with the right knowledge and skills to keep up with other competitive names in the market. Plus, with adequate information on current aspects of retail marketing, they can learn how to design effective strategies, apply proper techniques, and everything in between.

Searchenginepeople.com states that 90% of consumers prefer to find out more about a business through articles rather than ads. So instead of bombarding customers with advertisements, marketers need to focus on persuading customers to make a purchase. This allows clients to feel more in control of their decisions.

And with the right strategy, you can make sure all channels are working together to create a cohesive brand image, saving time and money.

Provide a multi-channel shopping experience

Online shopping has several advantages that are hard to ignore. From suggestions based on previous search history to free shipping, brands aim to create a seamless shopping experience. But even so, 65% of customers spend their total shopping budget in traditional physical stores, explains eTail.

Customers have different buying habits. They can:

  • physically shop in stores
  • inspect products on site but buy online
  • place orders online but have merchandise shipped to a local store for pickup
  • buy online and have the items delivered to their home

Solution: Omnichannel integration is about meeting and interacting with buyers on their terms. Businesses need to improve buying options and start selling everywhere - in stores, online, on social media, in marketplaces like Amazon, etc.

Most importantly, retailers need to expand their options and find ways to seamlessly integrate the online and offline connected travel experience. A omnichannel marketing plan can help brands reach shoppers, wherever they are, on any device, however they want to shop.

To win the loyalty of customers

Customers look for exceptional service and unbeatable prices from trusted retailers. The slightest change can make them gallop. Needless to say, the customer experience is a crucial factor for brand loyalty. And without loyal customers, it's difficult for businesses to grow.

More importantly, 79% of salespeople say technology has made it easier for businesses to compete. But many retailers are not integrating as much as they should with digital technology.

Solution: Customers love to be pampered, so personalizing the shopping experience is essential. From predictive suggestions to relevant product searches, the goal is to deliver an incredible experience. And customers love to receive personal promotions and specials.

But more than that, repeat customers demand recognition, whether they buy online or offline. To create a smooth online / offline experience, retailers need to be up to date with current customer information.

A CRM system can help maintain customer details and provide customer profiles easily accessible from any point of sale. However, loyalty programs can also collect and integrate relevant purchase data while simultaneously improving the omnichannel customer experience.

Manage your business and brand

There is more to a successful business than just satisfying its customers. It is imperative that all departments of the company communicate effectively with each other and provide accurate data in real time. A lag in one or the other aspect can have a negative influence on the profitability of the company.

Solution: Processes must be automated to simplify business management and overcome common challenges in the retail industry. Choosing the right software for your business can help drive your brand forward. Tasks can be automated, which reduces overhead and saves time.

Retailers need to focus on streamlining internal communications. A ERP system can facilitate real-time collaboration, eliminate inefficiencies, and improve customer relationships. By centralizing all business operations, comprehensive reports can be generated from each division to keep the entire business running smoothly.

6 - Complete a complex job description

Starting and running a business is difficult. You will need more than passion to stay profitable and competitive. Retailers need to take care of production, marketing, accounting, payroll, and more. Sometimes it feels like an act of juggling. The more jobs you decide to take, the harder it is to keep everything in order.

Solution: There is a tremendous amount of information online, from educational resources to blogs to guides. But mentors and fellow entrepreneurs have also proven to be a great source of support and strength. But more than anything else, it is the experience that really teaches the most valuable lessons.

For many brands, outsourcing of various aspects of the business is more advantageous than doing everything in-house. Hiring digital agencies to handle SEO, SMM, or content marketing are suitable options.

Final thoughts

The world of shopping is changing. Recent times have shown an increase in the technological aspects of running a business. And retailers need to embrace the change and adapt new ways to maintain customer appeal and conduct business.

The fact that retailers are making a change in trend indicates that they are aware of their current shortcomings as well as the opportunities available to them to stay ahead of the competition. In addition, brands are ready to accept these challenges. They invest resources in order to design innovative solutions that can be easily integrated into the business. And the sooner the better.

With the right approach and the right tools, retailers can easily tackle, overcome and overcome any hurdle in this highly competitive digital retail landscape.

It's time to maximize your success.

About the writer: Evie Harrison is a blogger by choice. She loves discovering the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, her experiences and express herself through her blogs. Find her on Twitter @iamevieharrison.

Join the #retail, #SmartStore and #Connected Journey conversations on Twitter @RetailNext, as well as www.facebook.com/retailnext.

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Are you a retailer ( or retail sales associate ) who’s struggling with how to approach shoppers ? Worried that you lack the magic touch, or that you’ll come off as an annoying salesperson ? Would you rather be awkwardly staring at your store’s point of sale software screen than actually talking to the customer in front of you ?

You should keep reading because, after years of being one of the strongest sellers at my store, I can garantit you : anyone can sell. That’s not to say it’s not going to take a lot of practice. But over the years, I’ve found that a customer will tell you verbally and/or physically how to sell to them. If you’re listening properly and looking for the right cues, you can always tell if a customer is interested in what you have to say, what approach to take with them, and what exactly they’re looking for.

Check out the tips below, put them into activation, and you should find yourself successfully closing sales : Practice Active ListeningActive listening isn’t just about standing in front a customer silently. There are a few important things you should be doing to engage in this practice :

The most important part of active listening is to not form a response while the customer is speaking. This is really hard to do, and is going to take a lot of practice. It’s very natural to latch on to one part of a comment and form a response to it, and then shut out the rest of the comment. tera become a good listener, a sales person must resist doing this. Active listening should engage your whole body. Things like nodding and having an open stance show the customer that you are listening to what they have to say. Once it’s time for you to speak, give the customer a quick summary of what they said. This has a few purposes. First, it allows you to come up with a response post-comment without things being awkwardly silent. Second, showing the customer that you heard everything they had to say will often open them up to providing you with more information than they initially supplied.

Practicing réactive listening means that you are fully engaged with learning what the customer wants. This engagement makes a huge difference. Not only will you understand what the customer wants in a deeper way, but you also gain their trust easier.

Next : Pay Attention to Body LanguageAlong with réactive listening, you should be practicing ‘active looking. ’ ( Yes, I just made that term up. ) People will betray a lot of what they’re thinking in the things that they do with their body. A lot of body language experts will tell you some odd things to look for, like watching if someone scratches their nose, but I don’t think that level of depth is necessary. In fact, I think that if you’re watching for a customer to scratch their nose, you’re probably not practicing active listening.

However, there is still plenty of body language you should be paying attention to while you’re actively listening. Let me give you a short list of tells you can easily pick up on during a conversation with a customer. 1. Eye ContactWhere a person’s eyes are looking is one of the easiest ways to tell what they’re focusing on. If the customer is looking at you, or the products you’re sérieux with, that’s a good sign. It means they’re engaged with you and are interested in what you have to say and sell.

If they’re looking around, at someone else, out the door… anywhere that’s not where you are – that’s not a great sign. Usually if this is the case you should say something like, “Let me know if you need anything else, ” and let them do their own thing. No eye contact doesn’t mean you won’t be able to close the sale – but it could spell dysfonctionnement if you don’t pay attention.

Hands/ArmsAnother important thing to pay attention to is what people do with their hands and arms. Typically, if someone’s arms are crossed, they are uncomfortable and probably not interested in what you have to say. You should tread gently : let this customer know you are there to help. If you’re talking with a customer who is clearly shy and uncomfortable with talking to you, I recommend acting in a more reserved manner and avoiding things like answering questions the customer has yet to ask. In addition, because this positionnement reflects a closed off mind, I mostly suggest avoiding suggestive selling. Suggestive selling does not work well on someone who is not interested.

Open arms and palms facing towards you, however, are an extra sign. If your customer has taken this sort of position in your conversation, you’re doing well. In fact, I would definitely recommend going for it with suggestive selling. ( Of course, make sure you’re showing them items that are actually related to what they want, not just some pre-placed item that your manager wants to get rid of. )

Facial Expression—Particularly the Curve of Their MouthLastly, you should be paying attention to the termes you customer is making. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to pay close attention to your customer’s facial expressions. Even if a customer is pulling a straight face at you, most people’s mouths are fairly expressive in small ways. Often, the corners of the mouth will be curving slightly up or slightly down. Down is not good for you – it indicates frustration or annoyance. Curving up, though, is an extra sign. Additionally, you should pay attention to how tightly the lips are held. If they’re pressed tightly together, it can mean the same thing as crossed arms.

That’s the three major areas of body language you should be paying attention to while actively listening to your customer. Keep in mind that while the customer’s body can give you an indication about how they feel towards you and your product, it’s the listening that is going to yield you the important information about what they want. Now that we’ve established good customer reading techniques, let’s talk about what to do with the information you pick up :

Respond With Similar Body LanguageOne of the easiest ways to set someone at ease is to “mirror” their body language. You don’t want to go overboard on this – that can seem creepy or just mean. But little things are really important. Start with pace and timing. Is the customer in a hurry ? Or do they want to take things slow and steady ? Speak and act at the same pace as the customer. If she’s in a hurry, speaking quickly and speed walking across the store, then you should speak quickly and speed walk across the store as well. If she’s speaking slowly and moves slowly, your speed talking and walking will only come across as aggressive to her.

In addition, you can do subtle things like adopt a similar positionnement, or use similar hand gestures. With the hand gestures, be careful. You don’t want to come across as mocking your customer. Don’t make exact replicas of hand gestures, keep it general. Determine if someone is ready to buy ( or not ) based on non-verbal cuesHere are a few more tips to help you differentiate shoppers who are ready to buy versus those who aren’t interested.

According to SCORE contributor Lee Perlitz, signals that shoppers are interested in a product include : Spending time looking at or discussing one product type – When a customer spends time focusing on just one product, there’s a good chance they’ve already set their sights on that one and are interested in purchasing it. Looking around for somebody to help them – Catch the shopper’s gaze when you see them looking around. According to Perlitz, you can approach them “if they sustain the glance or raise their eyebrows. ”Body language – A shift in body language signals “a change in esprit state that may well indicate readiness to buy. ” For example, if the shopper suddenly looks relaxed after you’ve answered their questions, that could be an indication that they’re ready to buy.

Be sure to approach customers once you see them exhibiting these signals. Failing to spot these signs or not acting in time could result in you missing out on the sale. On the flip side, here are the non-verbal signals indicating that someone isn’t ready to buy. Avoiding eye contact – If a customer doesn’t hold your gaze when you look at them, it likely means they’re not ready to make a purchase yet. Making ‘not now’ excuses – Statements like “just looking” or “not now” are clear signals that they aren’t ready to buy. Perlitz recommends that retailers “make an encouraging remark to keep them looking and back off. ”Looking at many different products – Not being focused on just one product is another indication that shoppers should be given space.

When you see or hear people exhibiting the signals above, then it’s best to hold off on the sell. Figure out the type of customer that you’re dealing with and respond accordinglyAs you know, there are several genres of customers who walk through your doors, and you need to tailor your approach accordingly. tera help you do that, we’ve put together a quick slideshow summarizing the most common types of customers in retail. Check it out below :

More tips ? Those are our tips and tricks to help anyone become a good sales person. It’s important to remember that truly good sales people work on creating trusting relationships with their clients before they sell them anything. If you are capable of creating a trusting relationship, you are capable of selling. These tips are intended to help you create that relationship.

What tricks to reading customers do you employ ? Let us know in the comments below ! Author Bio : Cara Wood is a digital administrative assistant at Capterra, a company that puts software buyers in touch with business software vendors ! When she’s not hard at work at Capterra, she can be found horse-back riding, reading and just generally having a good time at life.

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