5 Simple Mistakes that Most Retail Business Owners Make
The term ‘small business’ is a slightly misleading one because no business should ever really be considered ‘small’. Each and
So how do you make sure yours doesn’t suffer the same fate?
The following 5 mistakes are some of the most common that every retail business owner makes at some point and we hope that by highlighting them to you now, you can find a way to side-step them before they ever grow into a legitimate problem.
1. Neglecting Your Shop’s Marketing Plan
Many new shops and e-shops embrace the digital sphere right from the offset, but this should go way beyond simply having a functional shopping site and a presence on the major marketplaces of Amazon and eBay.
Instead, you should have a plan of how to attract customers to your platform. Whether it’s sponsored posts on social media, SEO-rich product descriptions, or a company blog to entice them in, you should always have one eye planted on the bigger picture in terms of attracting your audience. And if marketing is a word that scares you, why not ask for help?
Even though marketing is much more than purely social media, these platforms can be incredibly valuable to target new customers. London-based retailer Rooted Spices are a great example of utilising social media, their Instagram presents a mixture of their own products with competitions and opportunities for customers to interact. Using this type of output as a template is a good shout, while tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can help you manage them in one convenient place. But of course, it’s not just social media you need to get to grips with; make sure you get acquainted with Google AdWords and read up on search engine optimisation.
According to research by Digimax, around 58% of new businesses enlisted the help of digital specialists when it came to marketing, so don’t worry about finding your audience alone.
Speaking of an audience…
2. Failing to Identify Your Target Audience
This is one of the trickier obstacles to overcome, as there are two opposing mistakes that many businesses make. One, as the title suggests, is failing to have a proper grip on the people you want to sell your products to. Contrastingly though, if you go too niche with your targeting, you can isolate yourself before you even begin.
Targeted adverts on social media are a surefire way to reach people you think will be interested in your brand, but why limit yourself to one type of person? Sure, having an idea of what type of person will love your products is useful, but don’t let that get in the way of the general audience too. So yes, if you’re a vegan cookie company, do target people who follow The Vegan Society, but also, how about people who just like cookies? Because, well, everyone likes cookies.
A good real-life example is that of London-based homeware store – Know and Love. Selling items like rose geranium soap might not be for everyone, but their luxury hampers represent a perfect gift for so many people, so why wouldn’t they target a broader audience? Especially in more popular shopping windows like Christmas or Black Friday.
When it comes to who to target, be sure to check a few customer’s social media channels and see who they’re following, groups they’re in and other brands they follow. This type of information will be invaluable when it comes to expanding your audience base.
3. Overcomplicating the Check-out Process
We’ve all been there, a basket full of items that we’re sure we ‘need’, en route to the check-out. But, the longer the items are staring back at a customer, the more likely they are to shift from ‘wow, I can’t believe I’m getting 4 kilograms of coffee for £6’ to ‘do I actually need 4 kilograms of coffee?’
Sometimes a customer is just waiting for an excuse to abandon their chosen items, snapping them out of their shopaholic stupour, and nine times out of ten, a complicated check-out process is that very excuse.
Getting a customer’s information is obviously very important to a shop, it allows you to market to them once more, offer incentives and increase the likelihood of repeat business. But sometimes, people don’t want another online account. By offering a guest check-out option with minimal information required, your shop can snap up impulse purchases that usually fall by the wayside. Hop Burns & Black do a great job of this, not only offering guest check-out but also convenient payment methods like Google Pay.
Sometimes, less is more.
4. Not Playing to your Employee’s Strengths
You’ve got your swanky new sales platform ready, it’s looking good, but you need to generate more customers. So you hire a Sales Lead Generator whizz and think that’s the end of it. But what do you do with your current customers who are already placing orders? What do you do with their orders? You panic and have everyone help out with the current orders to ensure you don’t fall behind – a seemingly logical decision, right? And while in the short-term this makes sense, in the bigger picture, it’s actually stifling your growth.
In the UK, 96% of businesses have less than 10 employees, meaning that every person you hire should be completely right for your company – bringing in a skillset and attitude that complements your brand. And when they’re working, they should always be doing what they do best. You didn’t hire your customer service manager for their bubble wrap skills and you certainly did not hire a web developer for their ability to walk to the post office.
5. Trying to do Everything Yourself / The Perennial Fear of Outsourcing
Similar to the employee point above, too many business-owners try to do everything themselves. From sourcing customers and maintaining the website to marketing and packaging, the list of tasks for a retail business is endless. So why not lighten the load?
As well as a penchant for outsourcing marketing (see point 1), many retailers outsource logistics to ensure they spend their valuable time as productively as possible.
Starting out is full of little costs and an incredibly long list of challenges, outsourcing logistics is one quick and easy way to reduce stress. There are numerous 3rd-party logistics companies that handle order fulfilment on your behalf. These companies offer an array of services from warehouse fulfilment to more bespoke services which can come and collect products from you directly, as and when you sell them.
Numerous London retailers are doing exactly this and joining forces with Weengs, the small business superpower that gives retailers greater control over their logistics.
Weengs offers a unique type of order fulfilment which includes a regular collection slot from your business address, professional packing and complete end-to-end delivery with a variety of different couriers. By partnering with
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