Retail is in the Detail

Top tips for increasing turnover.

Retail is in the Detail

Much of the appeal of franchising lies in the support received from the franchisor, from the business model, marketing and branding, supply chains, colour schemes and furnishings, to the background music.

You’ve also done your homework and secured a prime location, got the relevant knowledge and experience, done your market research, know your customer base, and notified your family they may not see you for a while.

In retail, however, customer is king and they notice a lot of things that you as a store owner might not. While the franchisor provides the model and products from which you operate your business, there are a host of things you can do to boost your sales. You may be running a franchise, but the onus is still on you to manage it well. Here’s how.

1. Ship shape
Look at your store as a customer would. Is everything clean, orderly and attractively displayed? Are items easy to reach and in stock? Does ticketing match the items? Is the store easy to move around? Is your checkout streamlined? Is your staff well groomed and attentive?

2. Well trained staff
Does your team ignore customers or harass them? Both can result in lost sales. Overly keen sales people can put off buyers, while disinterested sales people don’t make the customer feel welcome. Product knowledge is also essential when helping customers make the best choice.

Observe your staff and their customer interaction or provide a customer review card at the checkout so you can make the necessary changes.

3. Steer customers
Studies show that most shoppers look left and then right as they enter a store, and then navigate anti-clockwise. Strategically placed displays that are visually compelling are a must for leading customers around a store. Badly designed floor plans such as long, uninterrupted aisles can result in 20% of the merchandise being ignored.

In cluttered mazes, customers pay most attention to finding a way out without breaking anything.

4. Digital signage
Whether to entertain bored shoppers or showcase promotions, digital signage with a well-planned content strategy can have a dramatic impact on sales. In a case study comparing sales turnover conducted by digital signage company, Moving Tactics, stores with digital signage had a higher volume of sales of between 58% and 81% compared to those that didn’t.

5. Special treatment
Look at large retailers and see which customers get preferential treatment. Shoppers with fewer items get an express checkout, while those with full trolleys have to wait in line. Challenging the dominant logic and adjusting your customer service accordingly can have a big impact on your profit margins.

6. Make shopping an experience
Amping up interactivity with prospective buyers is a good way to increase sales. Food and beverage sampling is not new, but it encourages shoppers to buy something new or move stock. You don’t just need to be in food retail to take advantage of these strategies.

If you’re in the car mechanic business, giving customers a viewing lobby where they can watch repairs being done can encourage trust and repeat business. Also watching product preparation leads to questions that lead to sales. People are highly influenced by their senses, so appeal to their sense of smell, sight, hearing, taste and touch.

7. The rhyme and reason of music
There is a science behind in-store music. Studies have shown that consumers shop longer and make more purchases when they’re exposed to music. Creating the right atmosphere therefore goes a long way in encouraging customers to both spend and return.

Music should be an ambiance enhancer and the customer shouldn’t be aware that it’s playing, so check the volume. Music can also engage employees, boosting performance and reducing stress in the workplace. It’s important to make sure that your employee’s choice of music matches that of your target customer, though.

To revive staff or reward them for sales, play their favourite song. It immediately energises the room and motivates staff.

Tracy Lee Nicol
About the Author
Tracy-Lee Nicol is the managing editor of Franchise Zone Magazine and deputy editor of Entrepreneur Magazine. She studied her Masters degree in Art History and Visual Culture at Rhodes University and spent the next two years working and travelling in Asia. Her love of people, business and teaching is reflected in telling the stories of entrepreneurs, franchisees and franchisors, inspiring others to take the leap to being their own boss and bringing about positive change in South Africa.

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