It goes without saying that sales and marketing are the cornerstones of every business’ revenue. What can be more complex, however, is knowing which retail strategies are most effective and how best to implement them. In this article, we will introduce 8 retail strategies that will revolutionize your sales game.
Why are sales strategies important to a retail business?
Opening a store, online or high street, and simply waiting for customers to walk in and buy your product is a sure way to close a retail business. On the high street, competitors are drawing their customers in with sales and attractive window displays on either side of your business. Online, without a sales strategy, your store will disappear among the millions of other online retailers offering lower prices, better quality, and overseas shipping.
Employing efficient sales techniques and strategies will not only grow your potential customer base but also increase sales conversions and thus revenue. There is a reason why B2C businesses allocate an average of 13.7% of their revenue to marketing budgets and B2B businesses allocate 6.7% (being that they need to reach a smaller number of customers as they sell in bulk). To put that into perspective, in March 2021, it was calculated that the amount spent on advertising in the United Kingdom alone would reach 26 billion GBP in 2022, with it forecast to surpass 29 billion GBP by 2024.
Advertising is key to business success, as is clearly shown by the increased spending in this sector. If you want a successful business, you cannot afford to ignore it, so read on to learn how to use it to your advantage.
What retail strategies should you implement to boost sales?
There is a wealth of retail strategies and techniques to increase product sales to customers, so it is important to understand the different types and which ones will work best for your business. A few of the best, both for large businesses and small to medium enterprises (SMEs), are listed below:
- Greet and communicate with your customer
All your customers and potential customers are human — even if they are online shopping and you never see them. So, it stands to reason that, like any human, they appreciate being welcomed or greeted, and asked if they need any help (in a non-invasive way). This warmth and openness to help (according to the level of interaction they like) will help make your customers feel comfortable and encourage them to return. To communicate with your customers effectively, invest in:
- Chatbots or shopping assistants.
- Email marketing through email lists to inform customers of sales or new product launches.
- Social networks to showcase products, reach a wider audience, and communicate openly on an equal level with your customers. Employing social media influencers that adhere to your brand voice is a great way to increase exposure and sales through online communication.
- Know your customer and USPs
When you know your customer, you can offer products that speak to them — leading to them feeling recognized and appreciated, and to them remembering you. It is similar to the person who always buys thoughtful gifts at Christmas and birthdays — everyone always remembers the care and thought they put into it.
To know your customers, you must first build your brand and identify your target audience. Some effective ways of finding your brand and target audience include asking yourself:
- Who are you selling to?
- What are your USPs?
- What is your business’ message and goal?
- What is your story?
- Use high-quality product images
We live in a time when social media is taking center stage in advertising — of the total marketing budget, 35% to 45% is recommended to be spent on digital marketing activities, with about 15% to 25% going toward social media marketing. So, to ensure that the money is spent wisely, it is key to maximize impact, and the best way to do this is undoubtedly through high-quality and engaging images.
There are a few key styles of high-quality product images:
- Compatibility photos: Clear portrayals of the image. Take them in high resolution, on a white background, and with good lighting.
- Lifestyle images: Pictures that allow the buyer to imagine how the product could look in their life. Set up your product with a natural but beautiful backdrop and surround it with other items or people that might interact with it. Your product should remain the main focus of the image, and lighting and resolution should be adjusted properly.
- Textural images: Images that give an idea of the material and quality of a product are especially great for clothing. Take these pictures close-up so that only the texture and material can be seen. High resolution and lighting are paramount for this type of photo.
- Customer images: Images that help to build trust and serve as social proof, as customers can see that the product you are selling is indeed the same product that arrives. They are also helpful to help customers check sizing and color, among other qualities. These images are taken by the customer.
- Honest and SEO-optimized sales copy for trust-building
Building a brand effectively means building brand loyalty and trust. This can be accomplished in three simple ways:
#1. Write honest and helpful copy that provides valuable industry and product insight
- What products, colors, or fabrics are trending.
- What aspects of your product will most benefit them and which one should they choose and why — discuss the specific components, such as a faster computer processor for gaming or more robust materials for building products.
#2. Tell brand stories that increase brand awareness and empathy
- Brand stories, including how your brand was built, how ethically you source your products, how you give back to the community or society, who your team is, and other such stories that speak to the heart.
- Product stories, including who the people behind your products are, why you chose that product over other similar products, and what the USPs are.
#3. Use SEO to optimize your copy
Without editing copy using search engine optimization (SEO), your customers might not ever see it. By using SEO keywords, search engines are also more likely to pick up your articles and direct new customers to your site — thereby driving more sales.
- Implement tiered pricing
By only choosing high or low price points, a business closes itself off to multiple opportunities. Implementing tiered pricing increases your customer base and allows for higher profits. For example:
- Offer a simple drinking mug at $5 — this is your low-cost offer.
- Offer a nicer option, with decorative elements and a higher quality glaze for $8 — this is your middle-cost offer.
- Offer the best option, with a wider variety of styles, a higher quality glaze, and perhaps some glitter or gold emboss for $10 — this is your high-end offer.
By offering tiered pricing, you open yourself up to a wider customer base (with different budgets) and encourage upselling (selling a similar but higher value product instead) and cross-selling (selling additional items that complement the first, for example selling a pair of shoes with the dress).
- Create a sense of urgency: promotions and value propositions
Customers will often need time to make a purchasing decision. To avoid them forgetting about you, implement strategies to create a sense of urgency and convert sales:
- Promotions: Limited-time promotions, such as two-for-one offers or a sale, push the customer to click through to the check-out faster. Use these sparingly, as otherwise, the client will just assume they can wait for the next promotion.
- One-time offers: Offer a one-time offer if they purchase now. These can include free shipping, a voucher for future purchases, a discount, or a gift.
- Make the shopping and check-out experience easy
Based on a study of cart abandonment rates from 2006 to 2021, an average of 69.82% of online shopping carts were abandoned in that period — with cart abandonment on mobile devices reaching 85.65%. Although this can be down to factors such as a change of heart, finding it cheaper elsewhere, or another reason, one thing is for certain: There is nothing more frustrating than choosing all your items and then not being able to finalize the purchase. This issue can lead to cart abandonment and the customer not returning to your platform. To avoid this, ensure:
- Your business accepts all types of payment methods and bank card types.
- Your check-out page is clear and not cluttered.
- Your website systems are secure and fast, meaning no website crashes.
- Follow up!
By following up with your customer, not only can you get their feedback on their shopping experience, customer service, and the product, but you can also promote new products and promotions. Following up also shows that you care about their experience and that you value them as customers. When following up, it is important to not overstep:
- Ask them how their experience was at check-out.
- Send an email after they have bought a product hoping they had a good experience at your store and asking for feedback.
A core sales strategy for e-commerce stores
Sales techniques and marketing strategies range from simple communication and advertising to promotions and tiered pricing. To revolutionize your business’ revenue, build a brand and customer base by getting yourself noticed, and then retain them through effective communication and sales. An additional way to do this is by using good e-commerce platforms, such as Alibaba.com.