executivechronicles.com | Retail Business 101: Clever Ways to Improve Your Small Shop | Every small business owner knows that to run your own small shop, you have to put your heart and soul into it. But sometimes that isn’t enough.
The key to a successful small retail business is strategy. Growth doesn’t happen by accident, so you have to make a plan for it to happen. Let’s break down the strategies you need to make sure your business thrives.
Create a Business Plan
This is the unsexy part of owning your own small business, but it’s crucial that you don’t overlook it. Creating a business plan will create a path to success and increase business growth. You don’t need a business degree to write it yourself; you can follow a template.
Your business plan will guide you as you make growth strategies and other decisions for your shop. Want to bring in a new product line? Check if that’s in the business plan first. Want to redecorate or hire a social media manager? Check the plan.
Following the plan you laid out for yourself at the beginning will make sure that you don’t get in over your head and keep you on the path to success.
Join the Community
The beauty of a small business is that they’re local and can reflect the personality of the community. Customers love supporting small businesses because it makes them feel like they’re doing something good for their town, so you need to join the community around you.
Participate in local events like block parties, host fundraisers to support a local non-profit, and partner with other small businesses in the area to support each other.
Hosting events in your space is also a great way to welcome the community. You could host a yoga class taught by a local yoga instructor, a wine night with wines from a local vineyard, a painting class taught by a local art teacher, and more. Look at each event as a way to get involved with the community and support other local businesses.
Create a Welcoming Environment
If you want your customers to keep coming back, you not only need to have great products, but you need to make your store an appealing place to visit over and over again.
Never underestimate the value of a new paint job. It can open up the whole space and create a more welcoming vibe. Hire a commercial painter for the best results.
Keep your shelves decluttered for a better shopping experience, and change out your window displays seasonally. Keep your trash cans out of sight and bring in some chairs so your customers can take a load off.
Ambiance also makes a difference. Having a signature scent will make your store more memorable, so consider using candles or essential oils daily. You should also choose music that matches the feel you want your shop to have, so don’t play heavy metal if you sell clothes for little girls.
Focus on Curb Appeal
Your storefront is the first impression that you make on customers, so it should also be welcoming and appealing. Small touches like a welcome mat and greenery also go a long way in making a store a pleasant environment.
Adding a bike rake and a place for your customer’s dogs to chill while their owner’s shop is also a great touch. Make sure you leave out a water bowl for dogs.
Sweep the pathway to your store daily and keep the whole outside area well maintained. You can also set up a decorative product display or chalk sign to announce any deals you’re offering.
Make sure your signage is clear and matches the brand identity of the shop, which we’ll talk about next.
Build Your Brand
Yes, your shop needs to be on social media. But that’s not all that branding is about.
Your brand is how customers get to know you, so it includes everything from your social media to your signage to the types of events you host. The most important thing about establishing a strong brand identity is to stay consistent.
Think of three words that you want to describe your store. Let’s say your words are welcoming, inspiring, and helpful. When you make new decisions for the store, you can ask yourself if it aligns with one of those three words to fit within your brand.
It may feel limiting at first, but zeroing in on your brand will actually open more opportunities for your store. It’ll help your customers get to know you and keep coming back, which will build loyalty.
Sell the Right Products
Part of your business plan should include always evaluating what is and isn’t selling well at your store. Tracking this will help you understand what your customers want and need.
Don’t bring in new products just because you love them and hope your customers will too. Do your proper market research to make sure your products are a hit with your key demographics.
Sourcing local products will also win you some points in the community, and it’s another great way to stand out as a local staple.
Strategize the Layout
Just about every store strategies their layout. You know those shops that keep their most enticing stuff near the cash register so you see it when you’re in line to check out? That’s on purpose.
Grocery stores do it too. They put the most expensive brands on the middle shelves so that they’re at eye level and keep the generic brands on the upper and lower shelves so they’re harder to access.
No matter what you sell, you can layout your store in a way that draws the customer in and encourages them to shop more. First, choose the right floor plan for your shop, and then set up the product presentation in a way that leads customers in.
Small Shop Success
The right strategies will set your small shop up for success, so don’t underestimate their impact or the time it takes to outline and execute your plans.
Your shop will be unique and special, but you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Follow these small shop ideas and strategies that have worked time and time again for other small businesses so you can be successful too.
For more business resources, check out the rest of our blog.