5 Tips To Redefining, Rethinking, and Reworking Retail

by Brandon Wright September 13, 2018
Jewelry Store Layout

Everyone is talking about e-commerce and how to push your online sales. But I want to focus on brick and mortar retail today. Specifically how to redefine, rethink and rework retail. Before you go rushing off paying tons of money on your online store, take a look at your physical store. You might be surprised that you have a few things to work on.

5 Ways Redefining Brick and Mortar Retail Can Help Your Business

  1. Create Your Experience

One thing that physical stores have over online stores is the ability to appeal to multiple senses. I know it’s possible to shop online for perfume but unless you are repurchasing perfume you’ve already smelled, you are kind of gambling on what you are going to get.

But if you own a specialty perfume shop, you have the ability to reach your customers by the way it smells, the way perfumes are organized, how the packaging feels, and what music (or silence) can be heard. This will only work if you know your customer. What job are they trying to solve with your product or service?

Say you are a spa. You will probably take a few extra moments to pick what type of music will be played over the speakers and the volume of it. Why? Because that could be the difference between a relaxing environment and a disruptive environment.

Look around your store and take it in from the customer’s perspective, then create the experience. Focus on the 5 senses:

  • Sight-What do they see?
  • Hearing-What do they hear?
  • Taste-What or can they taste? (especially important for food industries)
  • Smell-What can they smell?
  • Touch-Can they touch and compare?

Depending on your specialty, some of these senses will be more important than others.

You simply cannot do this online.

2. On-Going Training (And Feedback)

In order to master any trade, you must practice, perform, and then practice again. This is probably one of the most effective ways to ensure your store associates are happy. It’s common for training to occur when people are hired in retail but extremely rare that on-going training continues. On top of that, feedback between the manager and associate is usually non-existent. Decide what works best for your store, whether it’s weekly or monthly training but whatever you do make sure feedback is constant.

Feedback levels the playing field. On-going training isn’t just manager training associate, it’s associate training manager!

Your foot soldiers (store associates) are the ones interacting with customers all day long, they will have the best feedback on how to rearrange the store or what hot products should be moved to the front of the store.

Creating an environment where open feedback is not only common but encouraged will make for a happier employee and better retail experience.

3. Build A Relationship 

You’ve created the ultimate experience (physical location) for your customer. Your sales associates are trained weekly and open feedback is encouraged. Now it’s time to focus on your customer. Am I taking crazy pills? Nope, that’s the right order. Getting your house in order sets everyone up for success. If your store is chaotic and hard to navigate then your store associate is going to be stressed when they are helping a customer. It will show.

Proper training and an awesome store layout will help your store associate have confidence. They will be able to focus on the customer’s needs and help them to find a solution.

A relaxed environment for everyone could mean a customer might end up buying something they needed but didn’t think to ask about.

4. Help Your Staff Become Influencers

This is already happening. Teens as young as 13 years old can make money simply by posting a picture of them wearing a certain product on their Instagram.

This is perfect for fashion boutiques. Encourage your store associates to try on the apparel and to model it in the store.

Not only should they wear them while working but they should post them on their personal social media accounts!

With proper training, it can become an authentic way to share the latest trends or overstocked items.

Say you have a slow day at work and 3 store associates decide to model the latest shipment of clothes. Each of them post to their personal accounts that have at least 700 followers apiece (that’s 2100 people that are being reached) and bingo you have 3 ads out.

Push it further and allow your employees to offer codes or personal sales through them. A little friendly competition.

This definitely needs some boundaries or else it could turn into employees playing on their phones all day long.

5. Don’t Rush For an Online Store

Everyone assumes that it’s mandatory to have an online store asap. It’s not. If you have large local following, it might be smart to push your traffic in-store.

You know your business better than anyone else. Maybe it’s a unique product or service that is meant to be experienced in-person. Spend your time and money on perfecting your physical experience before pivoting to an online focus.

Don’t confuse having an online presence with an online store.

You should have an online presence. A website that has your story, blog, contact info, and FAQs.

This is huge for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which can reach more people through the content you create.

You can communicate through your online presence and push traffic in-store by offering sales or having parties that are only in your physical location.

You can always expand into an online store later.

Reworking Retail (Brick and Mortar Style)

Brick and mortar is still here. It just needs to be reworked.

If you went into business to provide a solution and to create an experience for your customer, then start with your physical location.  

Redefine your idea of retail, rethink your current process and get to rework.

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Brandon Wright

Brandon is the Founder and CEO of Clientbook (a clienteling tool for retailers that increases in-store foot traffic and sales).

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