Retail Pep Talk: Back to Basics

You may have recently seen that after two strong quarters retail giant Target's profits are down 90% because consumers are wary of inflation. It also means they might just be waiting out the storm. But Target was also quick to say that things will most likely go back up as quickly as they went down.

So, what do retailers do to keep their customers coming back, especially when their dollars are stretched thin?

Here we offer a few important reminders to help you get back to basics and focus on what’s most important.

1. Make new friends.

During economic slowdowns consumers are known to do a lot of window-shopping for entertainment. They’re not necessarily buying but escaping the stress of their everyday lives and waiting out the downturn.

Don’t brush off anyone who comes in your store, but rather use it as an opportunity to assess who is buying and who isn’t. For those who are not buying yet, get to know everything about them including their personal information so you can send them the perfect message when a special occasion or life event happens. Offering up personalized suggestions or notifications about future sales events is a great way to build trust and make new friends with potential customers.

2. Take care of your best customers.

The folks who come to you over and over have become clients.They are feeling the pinch too, but if you know them well enough you know what items they need even when budgets are tight. Offer them sales on those items, contact them personally, go out of your way to make sure they know they can trust you to find the best product for the best price.

Customers come from a lot of different places, but they all come for the same reason: trust. They trust that they will get a good product, good value, good experience, expert advice, and great customer service. According to research, customers will travel further to buy from retailers they have a good relationship with.

3. Make a great customer experience your best advertising channel

By now most of us know the statistic that on average it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.

Yet, retailers focus so much time, money and effort navigating the maze of advertising options out there: digital ads, flyers, radio and TV spots, social media, billboard, email, direct mail, and everyone’s favorite - free hot air balloon rides or hotdogs.

The goal of advertising is to get people in the door, but that doesn’t guarantee it will bring them back. This is where clienteling comes in and extends the in-store experience beyond the four walls of your store. Every client experience should be as personal, meaningful, and productive as an in-store meeting.

4. Stay positive.

Economic slowdowns don’t last forever. Retailers who work hard during the low periods to stay in touch with their customers and create unique experiences are the ones who see the steepest rise in sales when the economy evens out.

Don’t get discouraged. You got this!

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