During these challenging times for the retail sector, it is paramount that high street stores endeavour to increase their appeal to customers, designing and operating their stores to optimise potential sales. Customers are not only being lured away from brick and mortar stores by digital platforms but also by the health crisis and, if an appropriate effort isn’t made, retailers will suffer the financial consequences.
While a store make-over or exciting new stock may not be fiscally rational options during this period, an effort can be made to avoid common retail mistakes and minimise potentially harmful costs. By keeping your business secure, you will be better equipped to weather difficult times, as well as come out stronger once the economy begins to grow again.
Here are the most common mistakes retailers make on the high street.
The Wrong Team
Hiring is a tricky skill to master. Even those who are experienced judges of character can still be surprised at a later date. When building a retail team, customer service and employee personality are crucial as they will work to connect with shoppers, leaving a positive and lasting impression. Even strong brands can lose sales with poorly performing sales teams.
One essential piece of advice offered by well-established retail businesses is that you can teach tasks but not personality. This boils down to hiring a team based upon their character traits, such as enthusiasm and passion, since these are far more difficult to instil in a team than the ability to perform operational tasks.
Poor Store Design
Shop layout and retail shelving are crucial elements of your shopping experience. A store that is not well designed will inhibit its own sales, no matter how appealing a product is. Common mistakes are:
- Congestion, restricting the space customers have in which to browse, leading to stress
- Confusion, creating frustration from disorientation
- Blind Spots, leading to zones that customers will unintentionally avoid or neglect
To tackle these issues takes time as they may not be immediately obvious. Consider products that do not perform well, gain customer feedback, and walk the shop floor yourself. By doing each of these regularly, you will be able to, over time, discover and eliminate issues in your store’s design.
Failing To Adapt
Customer preferences are constantly changing and your store should reflect this. High street businesses that fail to adapt their operation to new demands continue to fail. Now, with tools like social media, understanding a customer audience is easier than ever and these platforms can be used to direct your store’s decision making for the better.
Adapting can mean a number of things. The products you stock can reflect local demand, your store design can reflect the region, and you can even modify your services to take advantage of gaps in the market.
As your business becomes more established, you will gain a more in-depth understanding of your overhead costs; what is essential and what can be cut. Failing to review your costs, such as ongoing subscriptions, utilities, and supplies, will slowly accrue into substantial drains on your business. Budget reviews are essential to healthy businesses and should be made a regular part of your high street retail operation.