Growing Your Retail Business

Operating a retail business requires a dedicated, consistent effort in today's globally competitive business environment. It's essential to run your entity on sound traditional retail fundamentals while also embracing new ideas. Your goal is to gain a competitive advantage that positions you for sustained sales and profit growth.


Here are 10 tips for building your retail business to accomplish the above goals:


1. Choose a good location

If you're just in the planning stages of your new retail venture, carefully consider your location. Choose a high traffic location with ample parking. Consider who your retail and service-industry neighbors will be. You want to have high-quality businesses surrounding you that will contribute greatly to your store's traffic.


2. Understand your market

Your niche market has particular needs. They will look for retailers who offer products and services that fulfill these needs. They will look for up-to-date products relevant and useful to them. Study market trends to understand what products your customers and potential customers want today.


3. Consider merchandise you will offer

The inventory you carry and promote will be the lifeblood of your enterprise. Think carefully about your product line up and product mix (assortment of related products, typically marketed together). Talk to industry professionals who are experts at helping retailers choose proper products and the proper product mix.


4. Study accounting ratios that can help you understand your performance

It's important to know basic accounting ratios specific to retailing. This helps you track business performance. Ratios give knowledge that help you in tweaking your operations for better performance. Important ratios to gain knowledge of include gross margin, current ratio, quick ratio, inventory turnover ratio, and return on assets.


5. Develop dedicated, knowledgeable employees

Your employees are ambassadors for your store. Commit to training your employees in the tenets of professionalism. Constantly keep them informed of changes in your business - new products, services, warranty particulars, refund policies, and more. Make sure they focus on customer satisfaction through empathizing with your customers' wants and needs.


6. Have a qualified and dedicated assistant

You can't always be at your place of business. Family responsibilities, appointments, health issues and more will contribute to you being occasionally away from your shop. Therefore, train a first-class second-in-command. Pay this person accordingly based on their increased responsibilities. Having a good assistant will make your job easier and contribute to another person's growth in the industry.


7. Understand your customers

Essentially, you want to know the age group of the majority of your customers, their income ranges, and occupations. You can acquire this information via surveys, and through face-to-face communication with them about this information as is proper. Knowing these details will help you formulate your marketing materials and sales promotions. You can also tailor your reward programs for these customers based on this acquired information.


8. Understand your competition

Knowledge is power. Study your competition. What new products and services are they offering in their retail stores? Do these seem successful in growing your competitors' sales and profits? Are people flocking to these establishments because of these offerings? If so, investigate how you can match and even exceed their efforts in these initiatives to build your business as well.


9. Use social media

21st century marketing means using the new ways of keeping in touch with your target market. Understand how using Facebook, Google +, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites can add to your business. You want to converse where your customers are conversing. Keep them in the loop about all you offer in your retail shop.


10. Be committed to continual learning

The key to building a successful retail business is being open to ongoing learning. You must do this to stay abreast of industry changes. Furthermore, you must do this to stay abreast of customers' ever-changing needs and wishes for new and innovative products. Continual learning means you stay relevant and meaningful to your client base.


Consider the above 10 tips for building your retail business. Make a pledge to use some or all of them in your enterprise. A steadfast effort in this will aid you in driving sales and building a business for the long-term.


Michael Ugulini is a full-time freelance copywriter from the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada. He writes SEO (Search Engine Optimized) articles for small businesses, feature articles, blog posts for small businesses, newsletter content, brochure content, and web page content.