Today’s environment of big data, social media and the gig economy can be a minefield even for big corporations. For a smaller business that’s trying to grow, their ability to adjust to these challenges can make or break their future. Here are a few retail growth tips to think about while you’re finishing your leftover Christmas barbecue.
1. Employee satisfaction is the key to success. With the growth of the economy in recent years, as well as the explosion of the gig economy, people have more employment options and better wages than ever. If you’re going to be successful, you’ll need to keep your top performers motivated – and keep them from jumping ship.
Keeping your employees happy doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as simple as a small bonus for top salespeople. It can also take the form of outside benefits, like discounted food at local restaurants, or low-priced gym memberships. Local business organizations can be an excellent way to connect with other business owners to find out about programs in your area. These kinds of perks can be a low-cost way to keep your team happy and focused on sales
2. Customer Resource Management (CRM) software can be a powerful tool. Many retailers use CRM software like Salesforce CRM to manage their customer relationships. Retail CRM software manages customer transactions, and also keeps track of what your customers are buying.
By collecting this data, CRM can use advanced AI tools to predict what your customers will buy next. These predictive analytics allow you to target advertising to the customers who are most likely to buy a particular product. This information also helps you identify your top customers when you’re planning to offer a promotion.
3. Moving your data to the cloud can multiply your business. Let’s say you own three stores. Your employees are happy, and you use Salesforce retail CRM software to keep track of your top customers, but your data is all stored locally in the stores. Mr Jones runs a small construction business and does work all over your area. He frequently shops at all three stores but is not a top customer at any single store. Because your stores aren’t talking to each other, you aren’t getting the best data. You aren’t targeting Mr Jones with ads or discount offers.
Mr Jones also shops at several MegaMart locations in your area. MegaMart has implemented all the latest retail industry solutions, including the same CRM software you’re using. But instead of storing their data locally, they use the cloud. Because they have access to a broader dataset, they aggressively target Mr Jones with ads and discounts. This type of holistic approach is the future of retail, and it’s how the next generation of successful retailers are running their businesses.
4. Social media is here to stay. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are critical to any current retail growth strategy. CRM software can help you identify top customers, but once again, you’ll need a holistic strategy to use this information to your best advantage. Good customer data can help you deliver the right ads to the right people, and social media can help you deliver those ads.
Not only is social media a great place to promote your business to customers, but it’s also another way to engage with your sales team. Create a company account, and give shout-outs to top performers. It lets them know they’re appreciated, and it costs you nothing.
5. Metrics are good, but they’re not the whole story. One downside of our new, data-driven business environment is a tendency by some employers to rely too much on metrics when coaching employees. Metrics are tools to identify general trends, but they won’t necessarily tell you everything you need to know about an individual team member. Someone may have relatively low sales numbers, but may also be skilled at motivating other team members, or stocking inventory efficiently. Get to know your people’s strengths, and use them appropriately.
Growing a business isn’t just about running the books. It’s about building a successful team. It’s about identifying future leaders and giving them opportunities for advancement. If your team members feel like their efforts are appreciated, and that they have the chance to grow their careers, they will stay with your company and help you grow your business.