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Bringing Business to Retail

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Now displaying: Page 18
May 5, 2016

As a retail store owner, you probably get requests every week, from people wanting you to stock their products.

I’m sure some are beautiful, some are not, and some, you just wonder what the person was thinking when they emailed you.

Click Here to Download Your "5 Questions To Ask A Potential New Supplier" Retail Biz Strategy

Picture your potential supplier. They have a product that they’ve spent months or years perfecting, sourcing samples, getting manufactured and now, its here.  Or perhaps they’ve secured distributorship for an awesome new product. They want it to be in all the stores, because, let’s face it, they think it’s brilliant. Often, these suppliers are new to wholesaling and they’re learning as they go. As a retailer, you have a responsibility to your brand and your customers, to chose the correct products. Here are my top 5 questions you should ask potential suppliers before you even look at their products.

1. Products liability Insurance (PLI).

 This is your top priority. No retailer should take on any product that doesn’t have its own products liability insurance What is PLI?  It’s insurance that covers the manufacturer or distributor in the event that their product (or service) causes injury, death or damage to another person or business. As a retailer, I don’t want to be responsible for someone’s death/injury caused by a faulty product. And you can bet your bottom dollar, that should something happen, all claims will lead straight to you, if the manufacturer or distributor isn’t covered.

2. GST

Unless a product has massive mark-up more than 110%, in these tough, cut throat, economic times, no one is going to want to have to gouge 10% of the total sale price to give to the government when they can't claim any input. It can be argued that a retailer can make their sale price anything they like, but at the end of the day, there is only so much tolerance in the general public for price differentiation. If a product has an RRP of $30, an online retailer (not registered for gst) might charge $29.99. The gst registered business (who probably has bigger overheads and gets a lot more traffic into their store) is going to have to charge $33 to make the same amount of money. As retailer, if you have a choice of two similar products, with the same RRP, and one was registered for gst and one wasn’t, which would you choose? When you ask this question, and get the reply “But I’m only new, I don’t earn/turn over enough to register”. Being registered for gst shows a retailer that a business is not some fly-by-nighter. The person is confident in their business being around for more than a few months.

3. Account terms

Some smaller suppliers won’t offer you account terms. You need to think about whether this product has proven track record and if it’s in your business’s best interest to have money tied up in an untested product. As a retailer, you must look at yourself as an agent for a product. You are going to be out there, actively promoting and selling this product. For many stores, account terms are a deal breaker.

4. Some sort of marketing plan

Now, very few retailers will ask this question. They think it’s getting a bit nosy, or it’s not there place to be asking about someone else business affairs. A suppliers marketing plan doesn't have to be uber professional, it can be sketched on a tissue for all I care, but I want to know how a supplier is going to drive customers to my store, or create a buzz around a product. Essentially, What’s in it for me, the retailer? If a potential supplier can't or doesn't know to how to promote their product, ask them to think about how they will can work with the you to get your product out there. Perhaps they could offer extra product for a giveaway, or offer to contribute to some advertising. There are many ways, that don’t have to be expensive. It just requires some creativity and openness.

5. Professional product shots

As a retailer, you have to protect the brand you’ve created. Your customers know, like and trust what you’ve developed. As such, you should set high expectations of what a supplier provides to you, and the products you sell should be presented consistently and professionally. Do you really want some shots taken on a mobile phone representing your what you sell? Are you prepared to put the money in to have a product presented to a level required in your store? There are of course, a lot of other things to consider before taking on a brand, but with all of my experience, these are the 5 questions I ask a supplier, before I get their product in for analysis. Put this information somewhere on your website and direct potential suppliers to that page. This automatically creates a ‘barrier to entry’, reducing the requests you get to people who don’t think the first hurdle makes life too hard. If possible, have them fill out a form on your website with this information on it, which automatically gets emailed to you. You can set up a reply email that informs the potential supplier that you’ll get back to them in a set period of time. These questions are designed to help you wade through the requests that you receive and make your business more systemised and easier to grow. For more retail biz strategies, subscribe to the bringing business to retail podcast, where each week, I interview industry and through leaders for their take on life and business.

Click Here to Download Your "5 Questions To Ask A Potential New Supplier" Retail Biz Strategy

May 5, 2016

Each month, I’m sure you’re inundated with potential new products. Whether it’s from visiting trade shows, being solicited by potential suppliers, or through your own research, taking on a new product always carries some risk.

Get Your "Production Selection Guide" Retail Biz Strategy

To help you streamline the process, today I’m talking questions you should ask before taking on a new product Your shop floor is real estate, and you need to ensure every piece of stock, pays it’s so called rent.

So, the first thing to ask when assessing the suitability of a new product is Does the brand align with yours? Focusing on the brand rather than the product, research and think about their ethos, their range and their customer engagement. Do they align with what you’re doing with your brand, and where you’re headed? Onto the product - Does the product fit with your current range? You’d be surprised at how many people who will try and sell you ridiculously out of sync products. By not doing this basic research, they’re wasting your time, and likely burn their bridges for next time. Craft a template of what you want a potential supplier to submit to you in order for you to assess their product. This way, you’ll save time and have all the information you need at your fingertips without having to back and forth requesting information. Next, Do you stock similar products? If so, ask the supplier to outline how their product is different enough for you to consider. Does it provide better value for money, are the ingredients different, is it a premium brand? As the retailer, your staff need to know how to sell a new product. Which brings me on to…. Does it have, or need packaging? Now, I’m not a huge fan of packaging, but I can tell you, after years in retail, packaging sells. Especially if the product is a gift. When assessing a products feasibility, think about how easy it is to display, does it stand up by itself? Does it need a hanger, is it hang sell? How does it store if it’s not on the shop floor? All of these are factors that you, as a retailer need to think about. You also need to think about how easy it is to ship, if you offer online shopping. At the end of the day, a product needs to be profitable, so knowing the RRP, the profit margin and likely turnover rate of the product helps you assess how much shelf real estate, a product should be given. And lastly, look at the supplier as a whole. How active is the brand at promoting their retailers? What is the ordering process? Ideally you should be using your Point of Sale system to send a purchase order because online ordering = double handling and integration with your accounting software equals less paperwork.

To help you get your product selection process more streamlined, this week’s free download is a product selection guide,

Get Your "Production Selection Guide" Retail Biz Strategy

May 5, 2016

When it comes to social media, you have a lot of places that you can invest your time and money in. They key to knowing which one is right, all depends on who your customer is, and where they hang out.

But retail is visual, so there’s a good chance, their hanging out Instagram, so today, I’m sharing 9 tips on how to get the most from Instagram for your retail store to increase your brand loyalty and, potentially, increase sales

Since facebook acquired Instagram back in 2012 Instagram growth has exploded, with 300 million active users, 30 billion photos shared, and an average of 70 million photos posted per day. That’s a lot of coverage, and a lot of noise, for potential customers to have to sift through. Now I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t use Instagram to it’s full potential, so I listed all the things I thought I should probably be doing, and went and asked a few people if I was on the right track. Here’s what I ended up with .

Get Your "9 Tips To Make Instagram Work For Your Store" Retail Biz Strategy

So, taking advice from my own video, I’d love it if you could take a pic of where you’re listening to or reading this, and tag it with @thesalenaknight or #bringingbusinesstoretailtv.

Until next week, be profitable.

May 5, 2016

Offering layby or layaway services in your retail (and even online) store, can be a great strategy to get customers across the buying line, especially for big ticket items. This means more money in your til.

However, there is a cost to having money tied up in stock sitting in your store room. So, here are my tips to make avoid headaches and make layby services work for you.

Get Your "Make Layby Work For Your Retail Store" Retail Biz Strategy

  [Tweet "Remember, you're in this to become a profitable business! "]

Be sure to not miss another episode of Bringing Business to Retailtv Subscribe today via iTunes or  Stitcher.

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May 5, 2016

Recently I had the chance to meet some amazing people who have a different type of retail. These retailers regularly attend markets or have pop up stores, they don’t have long term bricks and mortar stores. [Tweet "How To Make Your Market Stall As Effective As A Retail Shopfront"] Our discussion turned to how you can make the most of these events and ensure that you give your customer a professional experience they will come back for, along with boosting your business systems.

If you’re not quite at the stage of opening your retail store, you can still build the foundations a professional retailer, this episode is for you.

Get the "Make Your Market Stall As Effective As A Retail Shopfront" Biz Strategy

So, just how can you ensure that you give your customer a professional experience they will come back for, and boost your business systems?

My first suggestion to these ladies, and yourself, is to implement a point of sale system. Yes, it’s a cost, but it is worth SO much money to you, trust me. All cloud based point of sale systems can be used with a tablet or iPad.

By utilising a point of sale system, you can accurately track the inventory that gets sold at each event. This will allow you to trend and forecast what products, and how much of each, you should take to each event.

A point of sale system will also allow you to email receipts to our customer. I mean, when was the last time a market stall holder offered you a digital receipt? As a customer, that sends a message that you’re professional and instils confidence in future purchasing. And of course, you’ll need an email address to send that receipt to, won’t you. Oh, an email address, yes please. As long as you let a customer know that the emailed receipt also allows them insider access to future offerings, you’re able to add them into your customer database, and if you haven’t watched previous episodes, let me take a moment to remind you, that your customer database is THE most valuable part of your business. [Tweet "When was the last time a market stall holder sent you a digital receipt?"] Next up, have an online store. Apart from the obvious of bringing in relatively passive income, a website allows you to advertise where you’ll be next, and what you’ll have with you.

You can also use your website to develop a relationship with your customer, let them get to know who you are and what you do.

My favourite point of sale system comes with an inbuilt website. Simple, easy to track inventory, and updated in real time, no matter where you’re selling. You can find out my recommendation in today’s download. Do you have regular customers? By adding them into your point of sale database, you can allow them to order online and pick up on the day. Who doesn’t want a guaranteed sale?

Take customer service up a notch and provide a gift registry.

Say what, Sal, are you crazy, a gift registry at a market stall? Well,  Why not? [Tweet "Can a market stall holder offer a gift registry?"] If you attend markets on a regular basis, why can’t you offer a gift registry?

When you’ve provided amazing customer service, your customer will have that trust that you’ll be around for a while.

Add the online store into the mix, and you’re a retailer to love. If the idea of a gift registry is just a little bit too out there for you, you can still ask customers to recommend you to prospective gift buyers. Simply look up the past purchases of a client and put together a pack they would love. Again, how many other stall holders would offer this service? This week’s download not only includes my favourite point of sale recommendation, but also 9 simple strategies you can implement to provide a professional customer experience, PLUS 6 systems you can start putting in place to grow your hatchling business.   Interested in a FREE 30 day trial of my favourite Point of Sale System? Simply click here.

Get the "Make Your Market Stall As Effective As A Retail Shopfront" Biz Strategy

Subscribe to the Bringing Business To Retail Podcast

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May 5, 2016

If you haven’t already, then the next week or two will be the start of the holiday rush in your store. The next 2 months are the ones that get you through the leaner times.Your feet are going to hurt, you’re back will be sore, you’ll discover the most amazing customers, and then wonder if the Grinch has materialised in a whole bunch of other customers. [Tweet "Planning your store for the holidays? - If you haven’t started yet, don’t worry, it’s not too late."] So let’s talk planning your merchandising and your store, for the holidays. There’s something about the holiday season that seems to bring out the extremes in people. I put it down to everyone being rushed, stressed and wanting to make the holidays perfect.Whilst my inspiration for filming this is obviously the Christmas season, todays download and this episode can be used for any holiday season, or even a big in store event.

If you haven’t already, you need to rough out a merchandising calendar.

Download Your Holiday Planner

Here are the things that I map out, to ensure a minimal headache holiday season.

Firstly, download my calendar, and grab a pencil and eraser. This will make it easier for you to brainstorm. Next, go to your POS system and find the top 10 products from last year. Now look at what new products are trending in your store, and add those into your planner For each week, develop a theme. It could be as simple as a colour way, it could be a price point, or a recipient, like ‘gifts for teachers’. The point is to have a cohesive theme running through your store, your advertising, your social media and your website, because cohesiveness gets your customer to know, like and trust you. The 3 foundations to developing a relationship with your customer.

Now that you have identified your themes, which products can be used to market the theme.

Ok, so ideas, check Products, check

Where are these displays going to occur? Are they big window features, are they impulse purchases, will they be displayed on a gondola or table? You’ve got 20 products you’ve got in mind to sell, sell, sell, so make the most of your real estate.

By now, You’ve got a pretty good idea of where your store is heading for this holiday season, by the time you’ve gotten this far. Work out how much stock you’ll need for each promotion, when you need it by, and remember to factor in the lead time for ordering, because suppliers are often delayed with shipping in this crazy period. Now, let’s help the customer and make their shopping experience easier. Which products can you upsell with your main promotion item? Maybe it’s one of those things you use to put a candle out, if you sell candles, perhaps it’s batteries if your item requires them, but doesn’t come with them. It can be big or small. The tip is to display items together that help your customer make a choice.

Lastly, map out your promotional calendar.

What social media channels are you going to use? Will you feature the product in your newsletter – hint, this is the time when you should be sending out weekly emails at a minimum. [Tweet "Do you want to do last minute paid advertising, wither print or online?"] Some advertisers just may have someone pull out at the last minute do to stock running low, or a product not arriving, which will allow you big bargaining power. And, what promotional material do you need in store. Coloured streamers, signs, table cloths, all those bits and bobs that you may have overlooked, write them down now. It will help you avoid those last minute dashes to the store. It sounds like a lot, doesn’t it. And in reality, it probably is. But I know that it’s all too easy to get caught up in the rush before the holidays, and planning can get overlooked, so whether you’re doing it last minute, or planning next year, download my Holiday Planner to help you avoid at least one, holiday headache

Download your Holiday Planner

 

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May 5, 2016

You know that feeling when someone tells you they want to buy a product you’ve just spent the last 10 minutes telling them all about the benefits and features. You think to yourself, I really should tell them about that accessory that goes with it, but, you don’t want to seem pushy. Lets talk about when upselling is a benefit for your customer and your cash register. Have you ever thought about the fact that upselling to your customer may actually be a benefit for them?

Before you shake your head, let me give you a couple of examples.

Say a newly expecting couple wants to buy a cot for their impending newborn. Now, I can sell them the cot and obviously the mattress that goes with it, but in reality, I should also look and selling them 2 sets of sheets and a metres protector or 2. Whilst the first thought that comes to mind is that I’m trying to fleece these loved up parents to be, in fact, I’m actually helping them. When that baby sicks up in the cot in the middle of the night, do you think that couple will be cursing me, that I sold them an extra set of sheets and that mattress protector, or will they be thinking I’m so glad that helpful lady thought to tell us about needing these extra things. We never knew we’d need. Now, it doen’s need to be a big ticket item. Perhaps it’s a belt to go with a dress, or those little sticky things you put on your shoes to stop them rubbing, when you buy a new pair of heels. Like OMG, how much do I wish I’d been upsold those when I bought my last pair of peep toe wedges! In fact, I would have even been more happier if the assistant had whipped them out of the pack and stuck them on for me before I left the store. It would have saved me a dash around the city looking for bandaids on my way to a friend's wedding, but that’s another story. [Tweet "The key is to ensure that what you’re upselling is a genuine benefit to your customer, and not just an excuse to get your cash register ringing."] So how do you implement this in your store, and get your team on board?

Start with your top 5 selling products, and identify the complimentary products that would benefit the customer if they purchased together.

Download your script

For example

"Like all peep toe wedges, you can get a bit of rubbing on your big toe with these shoes. I find that these little sticky pads make life so much easier, and you won’t have to dash around looking for a store to buy bandaids on your night out. Should I pop those in for you as well"?

SOLD! Add those in, plus another set for my shoes at home. See, you’re not hassling me to buy. You’re making my life easier, and I will truly thank you on my next evening out, wearing those shoes. Of course, I’ve created a download for you, to help you work out a strategy to upsell without being pushy. Hint, give this to your team, and get them to do their top 5. You can grab it at salenaknight.com. And for more retail biz strategies, remember to subscribe to the bringing business to retail podcast.

Download your script

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May 5, 2016

A few weeks ago, the question came up in The Boutique Academy about being a business owner vs. buying or creating yourself a job. So, what’s the difference? And is one better than the other? A job versus a business. This is a big issue many business owners face. They open a store because they are passionate about a product, and soon realize there is more 'paperwork' involved in the running of the business, than there is time working in the store. It’s not just the physical paperwork, of paying bills and ordering stock. It’s working out marketing calendars, editorial calendars, creating content, networking, updating social media, hiring people, managing staff, making sure your accounts are done and that you’re up to date with any current legislation in your field. [Tweet "I have a saying, if it can’t run without you there all the time, it’s just a job."]

So, is it wrong to create yourself a job.

Well, yes and no. The answer lies within you and what you want from your business.  

Download This Retail Biz Strategy To Work Out Your Role In Your Business

The key is to define what your role should be.

If your focus is to just work in the store, then it’s your responsibility to map you what your role is within this business of yours. You need to get your systems, your cash flow and your own business acumen up to a level where you bring in someone else to act in the 'CEO' or business administrator type role. And therein lies many small business owners decline into burnout, and eventual closure, because they are trying to be every part of the business. It’s too much.

I can tell you from experience, that working all week by yourself drains you very quickly.

You'll be facing burnout within 18 months if you don't have someone in-store helping you out, whether that’s on the shop floor, or in the administrator role. As the creator of this business, it’s your responsibility to set income targets for your overheads and outgoings. Mao that out for the year, and work out when you should be looking to hire another team member, or administrator, even if it’s on a part time basis, and add that into your projections.

Remember, You should be able to make a wage, even if you aren't in the store - not right from day one of course, but you should have a goal for when this point should occur.

When you go on holidays, or if you get sick, someone else (and you) needs to be confident enough to run the store with your systems and processes and you should still draw a wage. Because, you would if you worked for someone else right? [Tweet "So, what is your current role in your store, and what role do you want to hold in the future?"] Use this weeks download to help you work out your strengths and your role in your business

Download This Retail Biz Strategy To Work Out Your Role In Your Business

 

Subscribe to the Bringing Business To Retail Podcast

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May 5, 2016

You’ve managed to get through the holiday season, the frenzy of the sale season, and now, you’re in that post-holiday lull.

Or perhaps you’re one of those retail stores, whose trade actually drops during the holiday period. So what do you do, to make that time effective for you and your business? There will always be slow times in your business.  The most obvious thing to do to make this time effective, is to...

Download Tips And Ways To Grow Your Business When Retail Is Slow

1) Take a holiday, because you need to have downtime, you need to recharge. It’s super important to your mental and physical health, and let’s not forget, you are the most important part of your business. But if taking a holiday is not on your agenda, here are twelve things you can do to make the most use of this time. 2) The most effective thing that you can do is to take this time to sit down, and map out your marketing advertising and editorial calendars. Knowing where you’re headed in the coming twelve months will give you confidence and focus, and hopefully stop all those last minute rushes, confusion and aggravation that tends to come with unplanned activities 3) Check out your product descriptions on your website and update them. The google gods love you to be different, and original. If, in your haste to get products onto your site, you’ve just copied and pasted the manufacturers descriptions, now is the time to go and make them unique to your store. [Tweet "Write what you love about the product, and sizes or other things that are frequently asked questions about your products"] 4) Clean out your store room. Take stock of what’s in your stock room. Pull everything out, clean the shelves, vacuum all those crevices and when you’re putting everything back in, assess it’s suitability in your store. Is it time to offload a bunch of old stock? If so, I’ll pop a link to my most downloaded resource in the show notes, 9 Strategic Ways to Move Old Stock 5) Write some blog posts. If you’ve been putting off this blog post idea that I always talk about, now is the time to get it sorted. You could write a whole 6 months worth of posts over these few weeks 6) Expand your mind. Take this time to undertake a bit of professional development. Learn something new. If you need some ideas, I’ve got 2 courses that just might suit you. If you’re not up for the time and energy a course takes, try a 1 day course on how to use your camera better, or how to use a piece of software that will make your life easier 7) Clean out your “online” store room. Maybe you’re one of those people that files everything methodically. If so, skip to point 8, but if you make up the 99% of us that don’t, this is a great time to go through and sort out your digital files and documents. Whilst you’re at it, scan all those pieces of paper you have lying around and file them in your new, clean, digital system. 8) Listen to some podcasts. Now that you’ve got so time up your sleeve, pop in a set of earbuds and load up your phone or digital device of choice and learn on the go. Bonus, you can do this whilst doing most of the other items on this list. 9) Write an ebook. If the pop up on your website says sign up to our newsletter and save 10% off your first order. It’s time to make a change. What questions do you always get asked? Write a simple FAQ sheet, create a tutorial or sink your teeth in and write an ebook. Solve a problem for your customers instead of a measly 10% discount. 10) Schedule some social media posts. If facebook, twitter and instagram often seem like a chore, quest up a bunch of relevant posts into hostile or buffer, so that when it gets busier, it’s one less thing for you to have to worry about. 11) Join or create a mastermind group. By surrounding yourself with like minded people, you’d be amazed at how much further you’ll advance in business and life. 12) Write some processes. Systems are essential to running a business. Even if you fly solo in your retail biz, it’s important to put systems in place to ensure that when the time comes, you’re not frantically trying to create them, or worse still, trying to onboard a new team member without them.

As you can see, there are many things that you can be doing when your store isn't busy. This week I’ve created a download of not 12, but 21 things you can do when you have some free time in your business. You can download that at salenaknihgt.com, along with a host of other actionable biz strategies for your retail business.

And whilst you’re over on the website, checkout the cool new feature I just installed, where you can ask me your own retail biz question. Simply click on the black rectangle on the right hand side of the page where it says ask me a retail biz question, and you can record your question live, and it may just feature on an upcoming episode of bringing business to retail tv. If you’re loving these strategies, subscribe to the bringing business to retail podcast, where each week, i interview industry and thought leaders for their take on business and life and share this episode with a friend

Download Tips And Ways To Grow Your Business When Retail Is Slow

Be profitable

May 5, 2016

 Why you should send out a newsletter no matter how big your store & 6 things you can put in it

Do you think your store is too small for a newsletter? Have you contemplated putting one together, then thought “I don’t have anything to say”, “nothing exciting is happening in my little business”? If so, today’s episode is just for you. The first tip is to have a reason to sign up, and this should NEVER be to save 10% on your first order. Give your peeps something they want. Solve a problem for them.  If you give them something they can use, whether it’s a free tutorial, a product FAQ or a how to video, you'll condition them to choose on knowledge rather than price, and that can only be a good thing.

Download your 12 things you can put in your newsletter

These people have signed up because they want what you have to offer and you need to be respectful of that, you need to make a commitment to serve them up something on a regular basis, whether that’s weekly, fortnightly, monthly or quarterly. [Tweet "Having a customer database and sending out a newsletter is a low cost way of engaging with your customer"] So, what are some things you can feature in your newsletter, particularly if you are extremely seasonal.

A quiz

Use some online software to make a free quiz up. I recently put one together called “what kind of shopkeeper should you be”. It doesn’t take long, and by being business savvy, you can create an opportunity to sell at the end. Once the customer has gone through the process, highlight a product or service that would be a benefit for them.

Highlight an interview

You can do video, audio or just written interview, blog style. Interview suppliers, designers, trendsetter and even customers. People love being nosy, so give them some goss!

Do you provide a service in-store as well, such as styling advice? expand on the interview format and create a case study of how your services have helped a client.

If you don’t provide a service, create a case study in the form of a long-form product review. Get customers onboard with this by providing brand-suppled samples for customers to review.

Recipes

Recipes appeal to everyone. Even if you don’t sell food based products, work out what draws your customer to you, and use that to tailor a recipe for them. Maybe your customers are busy working mums, so you could curate 3 easy weeknight meals you can get on the table in 20 minutes. Or maybe your customers are foodies, in which case you might do a 3 course menu for Winter. This can also present opportunities to sell product, especially if you sell homewares!

A day in the life of

Create a pictorial or video journey of what a day in your store looks like. Whilst it may seem boring to you, you’d be amazed at how much customers love to see this stuff And as an added bonus, here are two tips that you should include in every newsletter. Make it shareable, and ask your customers to share with their friends. And have a goal. This means including a call to action, such as share this with your friends, or buy this fabulous thing, or download the free ebook. This week, I’ve created a list of 12 things you can include in your newsletter, even if you think your store isn’t big enough to send one.

Remember, if someone has taken the time and effort to type in their email address, they WANT to here from you, so don’t be selfish, and go give them something to read about.

If you’d like the 12 things you can put in your newsletter, even if you don’t think you are big enough cheat sheet, head on over to salenaknight.com where you can download it for free. Whilst you’re there, take a look around at a host of other free retail strategies that you can easily implement in your retail business. And if you’ve got a burning retail question you’d like me to answer, click on the black rectangle on the right hand side of the website, where it says “ask me a retail biz question” and you can record your own question, which may just end up being featured on bringing business to retail tv. Feeling like you need to learn, grow and be inspired? Subscribe to the bringing business to retail podcast where each week, I interview industry and through leaders, for their take, on business and life. And taking a leaf out of my own tv show, please share this episode or any of my episodes, with your friends, because your sharing is what makes me able to bring these strategies to you, every week.

Download your 12 things you can put in your newsletter

Until next week Be profitable

May 5, 2016

When it comes to advertising, does your hand subconsciously grab your purse, and your mind conjure up big invoices and a not knowing where or what you should try first? Well, today, I’ll let you in on a little secret - This simple place you probably haven’t thought of advertising, that won’t cost you any money. If you’ve managed to overcome the hard part, the getting people into your bricks and mortar or even your online store, then there’s a good chance the person is already a potential purchaser. [Tweet "So how much advertising once they arrived, do you actually do? "]

Download Tips For Free Places To Advertise Your Business

Now when I talk about advertising, I don’t mean just sticking up a poster of a particular brand.

What you need to be doing, is telling the customer how your store, your service and the products you stock, can benefit them. What problems are you solving, and how should they feel, when they walk out the door with their new purchases. Here are 5 places you probably haven't thought of, or aren’t using effectively, to advertise in your own store. 1. Your shop windows. Seems obvious, but are you truly using them to their full potential? In addition to an eye catching display, that takes your customers on a journey, or tells them a story, do you have your opening hours, your website address, your contact details and the places you hang out on social media, all listed for potential customers to see. Don’t underestimate how many people look at your store, just waiting for the right moment to come in. 2. On your shop counter or cash wrap. If they’ve made it this far, they’re probably already purchasing. What extra benefit can you add on for them. Gift wrapping, a small upsell or home delivery, are just a few things that immediately pop to mind. Present your offer beautifully, so it fits in with the theme of your store. 3. Hang it from the roof. The roof is so often under-utilised, but after your shop floor, it’s the biggest amount of space that you have. Use your real estate wisely and make the roof space work for you. 4. In the change room. Big stores do it, so why aren’t you? Pop a nice frame inside the change room and use it to advertise on. One great option I once saw, was an extra mirror, that had an offer written on it in chalk pen. Simple and effective 5. On you receipt Whether you hand over a paper receipt, or you email it to a customer, people will glance at their recipes to make sure the total is correct. Utilise your point of sale system to customers the message that the customer sees. hint: this is a great way to advertise in-store events

So those are just 5 places within your store, that you should be making more use of, when it comes to advertising. This week, I’ve prepared a download with not 5, but 12 places you can advertise in your own store, both bricks and mortar stores, along with online stores.

You can grab the download over at salenaknight.com, along with a host of other free, actionable, retail biz strategies. Over the past couple of months, I’ve had some very moving emails from watchers of the bringing business to retail tv show. They’ve ranged from “thank so much for putting this out there”, through to, “I can’t believe how much my sales have increased just from putting a few of the things you’ve recommended”. If you love these strategies, the biggest thank you you can give me, is to tell a friend about them. It’s my goal to help 100 million retailers from all over the world, and your spreading the word is music to my ears. And of course, I love those emails. They make my heart sing. I answer every single one of them that I get. If you’ve got a burning retail question you’d like me to answer, click on the black rectangle on the right hand side of the website, where it says “ask me a retail biz question” and you can record your own question, which may just end up being featured on bringing business to retail tv. Feeling like you need to learn, grow and be inspired? Subscribe to the bringing business to retail podcast where each week, I interview industry and thought leaders, for their take, on business and life.

Download Tips For Free Places To Advertise Your Business

Until next week Be profitable  

May 5, 2016

Today, I want to talk about one of the biggest trends that I think, will hit in 2016. They’re already starting to creep out in all forms of retail, from shoes to shavers, from toilet paper to believe it or not, tampons.

So, just what is this retail trend?

They come in all colours, shapes in sizes, but they have one thing in common. They get delivered to your door [Tweet "Around the world, the squeals of delight can be heard when the mailman arrives."]

Download The Six Steps To Creating Your Own Subscription Box Service

Just what is inside the box? That moment when your heart get a tiny flutter you grab the scissors and carefully cut open the tape that seal all the good ness inside. Carefully, you peel back the layers to reveal… Its that anticipation, the thought of giving yourself a regular gift, the wondering what’s inside, that has people signing up to subscription boxes as quick as they can enter their credit card details. I have one friend that gets a giant box of eco friendly toilet paper delivered monthly to her house of 6. Another recently signed up for monthly doggy treats to be delivered for her fido. So I asked the toilet paper lady, why on earth? Why would you want 40 double length rolls of toilet paper delivered. She told me that it was practical. With a family that big, she was always dashing off to the shops when they unexpectedly ran out. It was eco-friendly, made with 100% recycled paper fibres, bamboo or sugarcane, it was chemical, dye and scent free, 50% of the profits were going to help WaterAid build toilets for people in need, and of course the novelty of having toilet paper that came beautifully wrapped. As an added bonus, each month you can easily let them know how much you have left, and they adjust your order.

Great product, great customer service.

They key to making a box subscription work for your store, is to find a problem, whether that’s a want or a need and fix it. Preferably, make it look pretty in the process. And just because it’s been done by someone else, don’t let that stop you. I was reading the story about wetshave club, a subscription service of razors for men. Now, there’s already a big player in that market, but this guy bought an existing website for just $4000. He joined forces with another guy and spent 2 months completely retooling the business. They followed this up with 3 months of marketing, and in just a few month, were on target to turn over $100K in revenue. Now I don’t usually condone these “I did this and earn six figures in 6 months” kind of posts, but I in this case, I want to show you that even though there was already a big player in the market, these guys managed to secure their niche and start earning money. There’s a good chance that you already have a store, or a website, so it’s up to you to work out just what subscription box would work for your store. This week, I’ve created The six steps to creating your own subscription box service which you can download at salenaknight.com. Whilst you’re there, if you have a retail biz question you’d like answered on bringing Business To Retail tv, simply click the Ask Me A Retail Biz Question Box on the left hand side of the screen. If you’d love to dig deeper into business, check out the bringing business to retail podcast, where each week, I interview industry and thought leaders for their take on business and life.

Download The Six Steps To Creating Your Own Subscription Box Service

  Until next week, Be profitable  

May 5, 2016

As a small business retailer, one of the key differentiators that you have is the relationships that you build with your customers. And, a lot of this hinges on how your business is perceived Being on the shop floor, or having regular staff, allows your customer to build trust.

Find out 11 Ways To Make Your Business More Professional

The psychology behind building successful, ongoing relationships with your customers, is based on three foundations. Know. Like And Trust. It’s like dating. Firstly, your customer needs to get to know you. You can do this through social media, through your shop windows, through marketing and advertising. It could be as simple as them walking past your store each day. Once they know who you are, they want to like you. They want to know that you signify the person they want to be perceived as. When they purchase something from you, it says something ABOUT them to the rest of society. Then comes trust. This is the big factor that can often be the difference between buying and not, or having a relationship, and not. Here are four ways that you can get started, to build trust and create a professional impression Start with how you communicate. Do you use a gmail address? If so, what does that tell the customer about you. They may be wondering if you really own that brand, or is the email actually FROM that brand? Have they been scammed? Your business email should you’re your domain name after the @ sign. Eg sales@yourbusiness. So if you receive an email me, it comes from news@salenaknight.com. Next, look at how your staff are presented. Do you offer them a uniform? Do they have to dress in specific colours? A simple way to unify staff is to have branded aprons. This creates a sense of security and authority for customers, knowing they’ve picked the right person to ask for help. It also keeps your team accountable. When you’re wearing the company outfit, you have to behave in a certain way, right? Speaking of dressing, the third way is about you. Whilst the world shouldn’t revolve around how we dress, make sure you think about what you wear and how you act, when you’re at casual events. You never know who a potential customer is, so when you’re in social situations, remember that you are the face of your business. And my fourth tip is to be consistent and accountable. Whether we’re talking dispatch times, alerting a customer that their special order has arrived, or simply returning a phone call, ensuring that you are consistent in your communications is key. You know who it feels when a company says they’ll call you back and they don’t. It’s frustrating and makes you less likely to shop there in the future. Put a process in place where staff have to record customer callbacks or updates. By appearing more professional to your customer, but still delivering that amazing customer service and our passion for products, you may find that these few little tweaks bring massive rewards to your bottom line.

If you’ve found this information useful, come join the Bringing Business To Retail community. We’re a bunch of retailers chatting all things business. Best of all, it’s free.

Find out 11 Ways To Make Your Business More Professional

Until next week Be profitable

May 5, 2016

Should you accept returns in your retail store?

It won’t be long now, before the tide of gifts that ‘weren’t quite right’ get besieged upon retailers. Does your store accept returns?

First off, let’s get the legalities sorted. Each country, and even state will have different laws regarding when you are legally required to accept a return. Generally, these revolve around instances when an item is faulty, is not as described or not fit for the purpose it was marketed for.

But what about when a customer just changes their mind. Maybe they picked the wrong size for that only-seen-once-a-year niece, or you got a yellow one, when everyone KNOWS that yellow just makes you look washed out. There’s even the chance that there was a little bit of buyer’s remorse setting in, so the customer just wants their money back. After you’ve investigated at what you are legally required to do, let’s say that you are within your rights to refuse to return an item when it’s just a change of mind situation. Should you let that person return the goods? Let’s look at the pro’s and cons from both sides on the shop counter. On the customer’s side, the option to return an item is kind of like a guarantee. It’s a no brainer. I’ll buy this thing, if it doesn’t work out, then I’ll just bring it back Cue a sale From the retailer’s perspective, things look mighty different. Do any of these sound familiar “If I accept returns, I’ll be losing money” “I’ll end up with old stock being returned and I won’t be able to move it” “Processing returns is a logistical and accounting nightmare” I’ve heard them all, plus, many others. At the end of the day, you own and run your retail store, so you get to say what the rules are. Whether you choose to accept change of mind returns or not, is up to you. You just need to ensure that you stick to what the choice that you make.

If you’ve found this information useful, come join the Bringing Business To Retail community. We’re a bunch of retailers chatting all things business. Best of all, it’s free.

Get Guide on How To Reduce The Number Of Returns In Your Retail Store

Until next week Be profitable

May 5, 2016

According to a comscore survey, free shipping was such a key motivator, that 93% of online shoppers had taken extra actions, such as purchasing more, or opting for slower shipping, in order to qualify for free shipping. Hey there, I’m Sal from SalenaKnight.com and the Bringing Business To Retail podcast, and today, let’s talk about the REAL cost of free shipping First up, let’s look at the benefits, to you the retailer, of offering free shipping.

From experience, I can tell you that you’re likely to experience an increase in turnover, and you’ll add more customers to your customer database, but I also wanted to go and get some well researched information for you, so here’s what I found:

When Stitch labs mined data from more than 1 million Shopify stores, they found a potential 10% increase in revenue when companies provide free shipping to customers Stitch also found that small businesses are three times less likely to offer free shipping than larger counterparts, despite the fact that 65 percent of customers abandon shopping carts and 44 percent do so because of shipping costs. I also found that when Red Door Interactive conducted similar research, the results showed that when customers were given the free shipping incentive, orders increased by 90% with a 96% confidence level. In addition to this, the company’s Average Order Value (AOV) also rose by 7.32%. So, it’s sounds like a no brainer, right? Offer free shipping, get more customers and more sales. But free shipping is never free. Either the customer is paying for it, or the retailer absorbs the cost and hence cuts into their margins. So before you rush out and offer free shipping, download today’s eguide, and TEST what free shipping means to your business. You’ll need to spend some time analysing your average freight costs, put a process in place of how you’ll deal with the potential influx of orders, and systemise how your orders are packed and dispatched. If you’ve found this information useful, come join the Bringing Business To Retail community. We’re a bunch of retailers chatting all things business. Best of all, it’s free.

Get the 8 Strategies To Implement Free Shipping Without Breaking Your Bottom Line

Until next week Be profitable

May 5, 2016

Welcome to 2016 Last year, I committed to learning more and getting fitter. Never in my wildest dreams, did I realize that learning was actually the key to getting me up off my butt, and out the door to exercise. Normally on Bringing Business To Retail Tv, we talk about actionable business strategies, that you can implement, to grow your business.

Well, this episode is about you, because YOU are your businesses most important asset. Let me tell you the story of how wanting to learn more, actually taught me how to run For me, 2015 was about learning. I was determined to enrol in some courses, read loads of books and blog posts and all those newsletters that I subscribe to, then delete, because of email overload. Sound familiar? Here’s what I did. Starting with the email. I went and created a separate email address for newsletter subscriptions. This way, I could focus on proper business emails, and when I had some spare time, could flick through and see what I want to read. I know there

Well, this episode is about you, because YOU are your businesses most important asset. Let me tell you the story of how wanting to learn more, actually taught me how to run For me, 2015 was about learning. I was determined to enrol in some courses, read loads of books and blog posts and all those newsletters that I subscribe to, then delete, because of email overload. Sound familiar? Here’s what I did. Starting with the email. I went and created a separate email address for newsletter subscriptions. This way, I could focus on proper business emails, and when I had some spare time, could flick through and see what I want to read. I know there are a load of programs that can help email overload, like 

Well, this episode is about you, because YOU are your businesses most important asset. Let me tell you the story of how wanting to learn more, actually taught me how to run For me, 2015 was about learning. I was determined to enrol in some courses, read loads of books and blog posts and all those newsletters that I subscribe to, then delete, because of email overload. Sound familiar? Here’s what I did. Starting with the email. I went and created a separate email address for newsletter subscriptions. This way, I could focus on proper business emails, and when I had some spare time, could flick through and see what I want to read. I know there are a load of programs that can help email overload, like 

Well, this episode is about you, because YOU are your businesses most important asset. Let me tell you the story of how wanting to learn more, actually taught me how to run For me, 2015 was about learning. I was determined to enrol in some courses, read loads of books and blog posts and all those newsletters that I subscribe to, then delete, because of email overload. Sound familiar? Here’s what I did. Starting with the email. I went and created a separate email address for newsletter subscriptions. This way, I could focus on proper business emails, and when I had some spare time, could flick through and see what I want to read. I know there are a load of programs that can help email overload, like unroll.mesanebox and boomerang, and at some point this year, I'm sure I’ll get onto that. What I found though, was I just didn't seem to have big chunks of time to dedicate to learning. Once Google Reader was relegated to the Google rubbish tip, I couldn't even keep track of blogs. I used to flick through them in the line at the supermarket, or whilst cooking dinner. I never got the hang of feedly which was kind of a Google Reader substitute, so, my blog reading went by the wayside. I don't even really know how I stumbled onto podcasts. What I do remember, is thinking it was waaay to technologically advanced for me, and I didn't have itunes (android girl here). At some point, I bit the bullet and downloaded an app that I could listen to podcasts through. I chose podcastaddict (simply because it was the first one that came up) but you can also use Stitcher on Android, or itunes for you apple lovers This was a massive turning point for me. All of a sudden, my 20 minute trip to work was filled with all this new information. My head was spinning. So many ideas I could put into practice! For the first couple of months, it seemed that I was starting every conversation with "I was listening to this podcast and...." In fact, finding podcasts was one of the key drivers (hah, get it, drivers, because I listen to them when I'm driving) to me achieving another goal, which I was failing miserably at. Exercising 3 times per week. All of a sudden, I WANTED to exercise more, so I could have another 45 mins to fit in more learning. I was getting 2 podcasts in a day! I actually started doing 4 walks per week.

All those endorphins and knowledge was making my brain swirl. I couldn't turn it off. I was imagining just how different my business would have been if I'd stumbled across this way of learning earlier. And it made me realise, that independent retailers, just often don't have the time to work on themselves. They are so busy working in the business, not on the business. We've all heard it before. So it propelled me to do something. It’s the reason I launched the Bringing Business to Retail podcast. My aim of the podcast is to bring business experts, mostly from outside the retail industry, to share their knowledge and wisdom. It sounds a bit counter-intuitive, bringing in outsiders, but I promise, you can learn so much from other people, especially when their situation is removed from yours. Listening to podcasts introduced me to Natalie Sisson, The Suitcase Entrepreneur. In fact, joining her mastermind, was the catalyst to me selling my retail stores and creating this new business, designed to help you, the small business retailer. I now have a stable of podcasts that I listen to. At the moment, in addition to the Suitcase Entrepreneur, on high rotation are: Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Amanda Cook’s Wellpreneuronline (I love this, even though I’m not in the wellness industry) Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy (probably my favourite) Tim Paige’s Conversion Cast Soulful PR with Janet Murray School of Greatness with Lewis Howes In the second half of 2015,  I increased my running goal to 4 sessions per week. I’ve gone from never being able to run, to running around 20 kilometres a week. Now, that’s not to say that I’m fast, or even great at it. But I do it and I feel healthier for it and I’m learning something new every single time. So I’d love you think about getting hip with technology, and starting to expand your business learning with podcasts. If you’re not sure now to do it, I’ve put a little tutorial on my website and I’ll link to it on this episode’s notes. If you’ve found this information useful, come join the Bringing Business To Retail community. We’re a bunch of retailers chatting all things business. Best of all, it’s free.

Podcasts That Will Help Your Business Grow

Until next week Be profitable ps, if you need to know how to get access to a podcast, watch my cool little video. It's not hard, I promise!

May 5, 2016

Cast your mind back to high school of college. At some point, you will have heard of Abraham Maslow, and Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. At the bottom of the pyramid are our survival needs. Food, water and shelter. Move up a notch, and it’s all about safety. These two steps of the hierarchy are what we technically need to function. If you start to move up the pyramid, you encounter social needs, of belonging and love, followed by Esteem and Self Actualisation. What has this got to do with motivating your staff? I recently received and email from the lovely Emma, who told me that she’d been using the Bringing Business to Retail show and the associated downloads as staff training. In the few weeks that she’d implemented it, her team were more enthusiastic, sales were up and there was a general feeling of renewed energy in her store, though she wasn’t quite sure why. Which got me to thinking. And that thinking took me back to my uni days, and Abraham Maslow. As I mentioned before, on the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid are survival and security. In order for your team to have these needs fulfilled, they need the basics of food and water and in addition, the security of a regular income, along with a safe workplace. If this is all that is motivating someone to come and work for you, they are disengaged employees. They are only ever going to come to work, do a half-hearted attempt at their job and go home. They’ll likely bring down the buzz in your store and turn customers away with their attitude. And that’s NOT what you want, right. Rest assured, there are a few things that you can do, to avoid that situation from appearing. When we move up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we come to belonging. For you, the store owner and employer, it’s about creating an environment where everyone knows they are part of a team, even if they happen to work in the store alone. It’s up to you to foster this team spirit, create connections and to instil pride. Now if I’m sounding more text book that realistic, when I spoke to Emma, by her own admission, everyone in her store was in a bit of a rut. It wasn’t that anyone didn’t like going to work, they hadn’t moved down to the demotivated category, but they were on their way. It was same ol’ same ol’, every day. Moving up another step of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we get to esteem. Sometimes it’s called recognition. When you move up the ladder to this level, this is where you’re starting to get really engaged employees. To get to this level, you need to be handing out responsibilities, chances for your team to prove and improve their skills. Give them a sense of accomplishment, and tell them when they’ve done something well. Offer guidance and advice rather than criticism. This team member knows they are a vital part of the team. The key words to keep in mind when you’re at this level are recognition, achievement and responsibility. So what’s the key to a super engaged employee. The one who will work extra and not expect anything for it. The one that every store owner wants. The team member that sells your business because they love working there? When you hit the top of Maslow’s pyramid, you’re at the section he called self actualisation. I like to call it personal growth. It’s where your employees have the same values as your brand, and as a result, they have a personal connection with what they have helped to create, because let’s be honest, if you didn’t have a team, you’d either be rocking back and forth in the corner, or burnt out. The team member at this level is confident and enjoys coming to work. She knows that she has a challenging environment that allow her autonomy and the ability to make decisions. She even loves helping new people come on-board, to share what she knows. Now getting your team to those upper levels is hard. It’s going to require to you let go of the reigns a little, but not just walk away. It’s ok to delegate, but you need to make sure that the person has been provided training and feels confident to keep going. If you overlook the training, you’ll overwhelm that person and send her back down the pyramid, rather than up. And, this is where Emma started using Bringing Business to Retail TV, and the weekly downloads. She has instigated a quick team meeting each week. She even ensures that’s it’s super easy to attend, by broadcasting the meeting on skype, so all of the team members can be present, without having to be in the store. She says she either gets them to watch the episode, or she does a short paraphrase of the episode, and then they spend 5-10 minutes discussing how they can incorporate the ideas into their store, and who will be responsible. To me, that is great leadership. Emma has almost outsourced the learning part, by utilising someone else’s content, which is going to saver her loads of time. However, she also realised you can’t just get staff to read something. You need to talk about how it will work in your store. So, Emma get’s my gold start for the week. If you’ve found this information useful, let me know. I’d love to show other retailers how Bringing Business to Retail tv is helping your retail biz. If you’d like to chat with other retailers on all things business come join the Bringing Business To Retail community. We’re a bunch of retailers chatting all things business. Best of all, it’s free. This week, I’d love you to go back through the archives of Bringing Business to Retail tv and see which episodes you could use for team training, so you can start to boost employee engagement. Until next week Be profitable

May 5, 2016

Have you heard of the term dropshipping? Do you know how it works and is it actually a profitable way to run a business? Hey there, I’m Sal from SalenaKnight.com and the Bringing Business To Retail podcast, and today, let’s talk about dropshipping for your retail store. Let’s start with what Dropshipping actually is. You may have heard other retailers talking about it, or even suppliers who offer to dropship products for you, but you’ve never been quite sure on what the process involves. Dropshipping is when you don’t actually hold the physical inventory in your store. Whether you trade online or have a bricks and mortar store, when you drop shop, you sell a product that you don’t physically keep in stock. A customer will purchase the product from you and pay upfront. You then send the order off to the supplier, who ships the product direct to your customer. Sounds perfect right, its like free inventory. Let’s look at the pros and cons of dropshipping. On the positive side, dropshipping is a great way to increase your inventory lines without having to outlay any money. Fake it til you make it It makes your online store look much bigger, with a wider range. Invest your cash flow elsewhere Dropshipping allows you to use the money that you would have potentially outlaid for a minimum order, to be used elsewhere in your business. Product testing If you’re unsure as to whether a product is the right fit for your store, Dropshipping is a great way to test out a product range with minimal-to-no outlay You have no holding costs, no storage costs and you don’t have to pick and pack the order. You won’t have to pay tax on any stock that you’re holding at end of financial year, as the stock is not on your books With the positives, also comes things you need to consider. When you dropship, don’t expect to get the same kind of margins. Because you carry no risk, you may only make 10-20%, so whilst you’re increasing revenue, there is less profit You have no control over what stock is available So if an item sells out with the supplier, you’ll need to handle the process and work out an outcome with the customer. You need to put a system in place for tracking orders So that you know when the item has been dispatched, as the customer will call you if they have any questions There’s more paperwork When the order comes in, what happens if the customer has ordered from stock you have on hand, along with dropshipped items. How will the process work? Will the customer have to pay a separate shipping fee for the dropshipped items? Ideally, you want the shipping fee built into the price of the item. Additionally, someone has to be responsible for notifying the supplier of the order, unless you have a point of sale system that can automate this for you. You may need to manually adjust your stocktakes to account for stock that is not on hand, so it doesn’t artificially inflate your cost of goods on hand. Little Fish Big Pond It’s likely that many other people will be Dropshipping the same products, so you may lose your unique selling point. Dropshipping is not a complete retail solution. If you chose to take it on board, it can be a great resource for both the supplier and the retailer. It’s your job, as the retailer, to make sure that you have a service level agreement in place, and a process on how to deal with hiccups, when they arise. This week, I’ve put together a checklist that you can use to assess whether dropshipping is right for your retail store. If you’ve found this information useful, come join the Bringing Business To Retail community. You’ll be joining a bunch of retailers from all around chatting all things business. Best of all, it’s free.

 Get Your Dropshipping Checklist

Until next week Be profitable

LINK:

4 Intelligent Ways To Get New Stock

May 5, 2016

Phone companies do it, cable tv networks do it, even banks do it. But are you doing this simple product strategy to increase sales and benefit your customers in your retail store? Bundling is used by many companies. Quite simply, it’s when you put a group of products together to provide a product or service with greater value. You may already do this to an extent, when you put together gift baskets. But is it an overall product strategy in your store? Here are three ways that you could start bundling today and increasing your store revenue. Bundle a brand together If you have a popular brand that sells well, bundle the products together to provide a one-stop purchase for your customer. This allows a customer to try out different products in the range that they may not have purchased separately, because they didn’t know they existed, or didn’t know they even needed them Bundle complimentary products together Shampoo, conditioner, a hairbrush a volumising spray. You’ve seen those packs in the hair salon. It’s a easy choice – everything you need, bundled together. Item don’t have to be brand specific, they just need to work well together to solve the customers problem. It could be matching earrings with a belt for the style challenged, or putting together 3 cushions that work together. Remember, your customer comes to you because you’re the expert. They don’t necessarily see the things that go together, or the process that you should work through. It’s your job to show them how. Bundle popular products with new or less recognised products If you’ve got a product that you think really works, but for some reason doesn’t seem to be moving, bundle it together with a high turnover, or better recognised, complimentary product. The key here is to make sure it’s clear why those products have been put together. Add in a service, guide or tutorial If you’re constantly getting questions about how to use a product, consider making a video tutorial, or create a downloadable guide on how the product works, and add that into the bundle. Once it’s created, you can use it again and again, and it sets you apart from other retailers. Despite the advertising from big business about saving money when you bundle products together, A bundle doesn't have to be offered at a discount if the combined products or services save someone time or provide an added value. Think of gift baskets. They are often sold at a premium because they are ready to go. Bundled products can work the same way, Why bundling is good for your store It increases your turnover. Quite simply, a bundle of products will increase your average order value, so successful bundles will increase your revenue. It’s quicker Instead of scanning individual items, you only have one sku. It saves your customer time It’s also quicker for your customer, they don’t need to hunt around for the products that they may need. It allows you to offer products that are a benefit to your customer Bundling products and services opens your customers up to products they may not have thought to use previously. Makes your store stand out from others Other stores probably aren’t bundling, so this can be a point of difference for your store. As customers tell each other how easy it is to buy from you, it’s going to put you higher up the ‘word of mouth’ list. You may be able to negotiate a discount with suppliers If you are consistently ordering a higher volume of products, you may be able to negotiate a discount, or exclusivity for certain products It’s upselling without all the extra work Upselling takes time, and not all customers are necessarily open to spending more. However, if a bundle of products solves all of the problems they want fixed, it’s easy for them to justify the purchase to themselves. There’s less confusion Having a bundle available takes the guesswork out of a purchase. The customer trusts that when you’ve put together the package, it’s going to be for their benefit. Now, not every customer is going to want a bundle of products. They may like to try the products separately, so make sure that at lease some of the range is available to purchase separately. Here are my top 3 tips to make bundling work for your customer

  1. Bundled products should be for the benefit of the customer
  2. Run the numbers – not all bundled products will sell well. Make sure you analyse bundled versus separate product sales
  3. Have a follow up process – whether it’s an automated series of emails that show the customer how the product works, an instore workshop or a simple follow up phone call, bundled products have the ability to significantly increase your cash flow, and you should be thanking your customers for that, by making sure they’re getting the most out of their purchase.

If you’ve found this information useful, come join the Bringing Business To Retail community. You’ll be joining a bunch of retailers from all around chatting all things business. Best of all, it’s free.

Get The Smart Retailers Guide To Bundling

Until next week Be profitable

May 5, 2016

You’ve just had a decent sized order come in through your website. You wrap it, package it and are just about to log it in for collection by the courier, when you get an email saying the customer wants to cancel. What you do next, is all dependent on the systems you have in place. Hey there, I’m Sal from SalenaKnight.com and the Bringing Business To Retail podcast, and today, let’s talk about how you can reduce order cancellations and keep that money in your cash register. Let’s be honest. Order cancellations suck. You had the money, then poof, it’s gone. And you never even had a chance to spend it! So how can you reduce your order cancellations and keep that money in your cash register? Before you can do anything, you need to have your terms and conditions in place. Make it super clear how the ordering process works. What is an acceptable reason for cancelling? Is simply finding it somewhere cheaper acceptable? I ask you, should YOU be responsible for someone not doing their due diligence? Price matching, now that’s a conversation for a whole new episode. You need to spell out, clearly, what happens through each step of the ordering process, so that your customer can be held accountable. If you find you have a high number of cancellations, then have a pop up at checkout that confirms the customer has read the process and agrees to abide by the terms. Put the system in place once, and it’s done. The onus is then put on the customer to abide by the terms and conditions. So apart from processes, how else can you reduce cancellations of orders? Enforce  a restocking/cancellation fee. Make sure you check with your local Fair Trading department to see what you are legally obligated to accept, but if you have no restrictions. Put a $20 or $30 cancellation fee in place. Make the dollar amount a deterrent, based on your average order value. If your average order is $400 or $500, you make want to increase that cancellation amount to $50. You have to remember, that this is your cash flow, and you may end up having to discount stock in order to clear it out, if it doesn’t sell once the order is cancelled. Require payment up front for any product that isn’t in stock. If you have to order something in from a supplier that you wouldn’t ordinarily order, or, if you do an additional order outside of your regular monthly order to get stock in for a customer, make sure that your systems are in place to require full payment upfront, with no change of mind refunds or exchanges. Put a time frame on it. Work out your average order processing time, and ensure your terms and conditions reflect your systems, so that if you are going to accept cancellations, they must be received over the phone within a set number of hours or days. That number should reflect how long it will take your staff to make any changes before the order goes to picking and packing. If you pick and pack immediately, don’t allow cancellations. Outsource the emails The easiest way to take the pain and emotion out of order cancellations, is to outsource or delegate your emails. Whether it’s by another staff member, or a virtual assistant, once you have your process in place, hand this task over to someone else. Here are a few phrases you can use for customers that want to cancel orders. “Our ordering and dispatch service is super efficient and your order is already in processing at the warehouse” “Our staff are super efficient today and the order has already been logged for dispatch and awaiting pick up from the courier, so can’t be cancelled” Remember, if a customer wants to cancel their order simply because the found it somewhere cheaper, they aren’t a loyal customer, they’re a price conscious customer, and will only buy from when you discount to the price they want to pay. The customer you want, I like to call them your ‘A-team’ customers, they aren’t that worried about price. They love what you sell, how you sell it and why you sell it. They’re on-board with your brand. Those people are going to be less hard work and will return, so concentrate on them, by providing a complete customer experience. If you’ve found this information useful, come join the Bringing Business To Retail community. You’ll be joining a bunch of retailers from all around chatting all things business. Best of all, it’s free.

Download The 5 Step Checklist To Reduce Returns

Until next week Be profitable

May 5, 2016

Back on BBTRtv3, I talked about affiliate income as an additional revenue stream into your business. Affiliate income is where you sell the products or services of a complimentary company, and you receive a referral fee for doing so. It’s a great way to bring in additional income to your store, without having to outlay money for stock. Hey there, I’m Sal from SalenaKnight.com and the Bringing Business to Retail podcast, and today, let’s talk about what it takes, to be a great affiliate. As a retailer, you should have several sources of income. No business should rely on one source of income, and your store only derives income from sales, then you are at the mercy of any external factor that affects consumer spending. Now, you could branch out into several different areas, such as providing complimentary services, creating your own product range and wholesaling, but the easiest revenue stream that you can add into your sales funnel, is affiliate income. Affiliate income is where you sell the products or services of a complimentary company, and you receive a referral fee for doing so. Why does it work? Well, people don’t buy what you sell, they buy why you sell it. That’s a Simon Sinek quote, and it’s true. So the key to effective affiliate marketing, is to pick products and services, that you believe in. When you recommend your customer buy something, it’s your reputation that’s on the line. Hence, you need to love the products that your referring. Now if you’re like most people, when you find a product you love, you want to tell everyone about it. The key difference between that, an affiliate marketing, is that you get paid if that person goes ahead and purchases. This is not and MLM system. It’s professional – you’ll actively sell a product that you love. Your customer is happy, because you’ve solved a problem they had, even if they didn’t know they had it. The other company is happy, because they’ve gained a high quality client that they may not have normally marketed to and you’re happy, because you have a bit of extra cash flow coming into your store. So just what does it take to be a great affiliate, and earn, what could potentially be a significant cash flow stream for your business? Believe, know and love the product (or service) It should be a product that is complimentary to your brand, your product range and your brand ethos. Ideally, the products or services that you’re an affiliate for, work in well with your brand, but aren’t products that you would sell in your store. For example, if you’re a homewares store, you might have an affiliation with a property stylist. Likewise, if you have a children’s store that sells décor, a stylist would work well for you too. If you’re a fashion store, perhaps you’re an affiliate for a day spa or beauty salon. In my business, I’m an affiliate for several products. Those products include things like website hosting, other business programs that focus on areas that aren’t my specialty (like money mindset), website developers and point of sale systems. All of these are products and services that I wouldn’t or couldn’t provide, but I know they will work well for you. By introducing these products to you, it helps you to find solutions to issues that may arise in your business. You expect that I’ve done my due diligence on the product before I recommended it, because you trust the information that I provide. Sell the product like it is your own The top tip, and one that nearly all the others refer back to, it to sell it like any other product in your store. Don’t think of affiliate products as the poor cousin to the physical products in your store. Use them as an upsell. Use them to position a products desirability. They should be part of your product range and advertised, marketed and sold as if they were. Work out how it benefits your customers and let them know Don’t just say yes to any old product or service. When you know who your Ultimate customer is, you know what her pain points are, what problems she looks to your brand to solve. So go find the things that can fix those issue for her. Make sure the referral is worth your while Like anything else in your store, you need to run the numbers. Whilst affiliate products won’t take up space in your store, they do take time and staff training to sell. So the amount that you earn, needs to make sense numbers wise. If you receive a referral fee of $20 for a product, vs, say a referral fee of $200 for a product, weigh up if the $20 product is worth your time and energy. If that $20 referral fee comes from a product with high turnover and limited effort to sell, go ahead and do it. If it takes a lot of explanation and is time consuming to sell, find an alternative. Invest time and money into advertising Don’t expect the other business to do all the marketing and advertising. Just like you’d take out an ad in a print magazine for a product, do the same for your affiliate product. Have point of sale material printed at your own cost, and if possible, create a merchandising display that helps sell the product. Blog about it, talk about it on social media, review it. Sell it like any other product. Have a range of products to refer that don’t clash To have affiliate income as a reasonable or even significant part of your revenue stream, it will mean having more than one affiliate, so make sure you have a range of products or services. Just don’t confuse your customer by having several offerings that are essentially the same. Work out which is the best product or service for your customer, and choose that one. Not only does having multiple, yet similar offerings confuse the customer, it dilutes the strength of your referral. If you’ve used the product or service, document what happened Just like word of mouth, by showing your customers the results that you’ve achieved, it will make the affiliate product more desirable. Show a before and after. Talk about how the other company helped you, the process they took, how you felt before and after. What changes it made to how you do things? This is called social proof, and it’s super important. Have an agreement in place Despite how much you like a product, affiliate marketing is a business transaction, so it’s super important to nut out the details at the beginning. Now, there’s a chance that neither of you has done this before, so make sure you cover areas such as how much of a referral fee will be paid for each product or service, when it will be paid, how it will be tracked and how it will be paid Use your blog If you don’t have a blog attached to your ecommerce store, you should. Here’s just another way that you could be using it. You could maximise your affiliate marketing on your blog by creating advertising space in the side bar or header banners, in a blog post, in a review, and in a before and after. This additional source of information can be used to direct customers to when they want a bit more information, plus you’ll also be getting organic rankings from the Google Gods, which may also feed more customers back to your store. Be upfront Don’t be sleazy. Let your customer know that you’ll be receiving a referral fee if they chose to purchase from your affiliate. Gone are the days of sneaking around. It’s likely that your customer won’t mind and will thank you for being upfront. When you have that social proof we talked about, then it’s not about the money you’re getting, it’s about the problem you’re solving for them. Affiliate income should never be your main source of income when you run a retail store, however, if you chose the right products and services that solve the problems of your Ultimate Customer, then it can turn into a healthy revenue stream that is just part of your overall sales funnel This week, I’ve put together a guide that you can use to help you become a great affiliate. If you’ve found this information useful, come join the Bringing Business to Retail community. We’re a bunch of retailers chatting all things business. Best of all, it’s free.

Get Your Top Tips To Become A Great Affiliate

Until next week Be profitable

May 5, 2016

In the lead up to Christmas, I had to do something I always dread. And what happened next, reinforced my frustrations, my annoyance with retail, and reminded my why I do what I do. Today, was the 21st of December. Ok, so it’s not the 21st of December when you’re hearing this, but as I typed away, you can appreciate that in the Monday before Christmas, a lot of stuff needs to be done. I was feeling pretty organised. The last thing I needed was to do an emergency dash to the shopping Mall. It was 8am and it seemed my daughter needed shoes. Somehow, she'd managed to get holes in her sneakers, grown out of her sandals, left the pair of shoes she wears most often at school (she'll have grown out of them by the time school goes back, in 6 weeks) and it was too hot for her boots. Oh and that other pair givers her blisters. Skirting the rules of “covered in shoes”, I dropped her at vacation care in crocs (albeit only just fitting ones). This was my one last day to catch up on all the work I needed to get done before Xmas, now I was heading to the Death Star (aka, The Mall). Ugh, shoot me now. Hoping that the fact I was there BEFORE the shops opened would work in my favour (it didn't) I traversed several department stores to no avail, finally ending up at a specialty (read expensive) kids shoe store. There was one other customer, so I had hope that I could be in and out in 15 minutes or so. I found two pairs of shoes that would suffice, and waited. And waited. And waited. The server helped the lady in front of me, but seemed hell bent on avoiding eye contact with me, even though she was virtually pushing past me to get to the shoe boxes. I had my wallet in one hand and the shoes in the other. Clearly, I was a purchaser. 15 minutes passed, and at no stage, did the server acknowledge my presence. All I needed was a simple, “hey there, I’ll be over as soon as I finish up here”. Even a smile and nod would have appeased the anger that was boiling up inside of me. All I could think of was who the hell takes 2 kids shoe shopping the week before Christmas? You’ve got 6 more weeks to do this. I would have walked out. Unfortunately, I had exhausted every other store and found nothing, so I had to wait. But 15 minutes is a LONG time, when you’re waiting to pay for something. All I wanted was for someone to acknowledge me. What made it worse, was that I could see another staff member walking around in back. Now you and I both know as retailers, that there was a good chance the person out the back had something that needed to be done and wasn’t necessarily in a position to drop everything and walk out. Trying to remember this, and breathe, I have to admit that I was seething by the time I was finally served. Now if this episode just sounds like an excuse for me to have a big ranty pants about retail in general, it’s not. What I want to point out, was that if the server had simply smiled at me and made a passing comment, rather than pushing past me but not even saying hello, I probably would have just been mildly frustrated at how long it was taking. This episode would have been completely different. It would have been focused on how, even when it was a busy time, staff were working long hours and probably getting cranky customers left right and center, how with just a simple hello, I’ll be with you shortly” meant that I was happy to wait. I won’t be hurrying back to that store and if anyone asks me where I got Lana’s shoes, the story will probably revolve around how painful the experience was, rather than the great quality of shoes, because at the end of the day, I’m a consumer too. Just like you. Yes, we have the insight of what happens behind closed doors in a retail store. But at the end of the day, we’re still mums and dads, that are trying to fit everything in, and all we want is a little bit of courtesy. One of the things that was always instilled in my staff was that you always acknowledge a customer. If you happen to be on the phone or with someone else when they walk in, smile and wave, or nod, or do something to acknowledge their presence. That simple little trick can make the difference between a sale and no sale. It’s up to you, the owner, to instill this sense of courtesy into your staff, into your stores values and into your brand. Your customers will thank you for it, and it’s likely your cash register will too. Until next week Be profitable

May 5, 2016

You know the feeling, you’re dashing off to your store, your mobile phone is ringing, your partner/child/ or employee is asking you a question, all the while, you’re thinking about orders that need to go out, stock that needs to go onto the shop floor, bills that need to be paid and heck, did you even have breakfast. How often, do you experience that feeling of being pulled in every direction. You feel like you’re dropping the ball, and as you bend down to pick it up, you see that there are a dozen other balls on the ground that you need to pick up as well. You can’t be everywhere at once, but here are 5 strategies you can use, to make it seem like you are.

  • Create an FAQ resource. Whether it’s on your website for customers to read, or in your store as a first point of reference for your staff, having an FAQ page, and teaching people to look their first, can majorly reduce the number of requests that you have to deal with. When it comes to your website, have a big button, or list all of your FAQ’s, BEFORE the customer gets the information on how to contact you. Conditioning people to help themselves first, trains them for the future – plus, they get instant results
  • Create a live or pre recorded training. If you constantly get asked how something works, make your life a lot simpler, and devote a small amount of time, to show how it works once. Don’t even wait to direct people to the training. Stick in your FAQs, or if you have a website, make sure the world can see it. Stick it in a blog post, or even on the product page. The bonus when you do this, is you get added authority from the google gods, how simply love videos, when it comes to ranking websites.
  • Use tools. Do you really need to go and meet someone? Could you have had the discussion over the phone, or via skype. Yes, in some cases, you do have to be face to face, but batch these occasions, so that you are getting maximum results for minimum time away from your business.
  • Hold live group workshops. If you have a product, or even a service that you’re providing that’s super popular, instead of explaining it to every customer that walks in the door, hold an information night, or a VIP night. Maximise economies of scale. What might take 1-2 hours to discuss with a dozen or more people, could have taken 12 or more hours, if you did it one by one.
  • Talk about it If you’re really knowledgeable and super passionate about a topic, offer to be a guest speaker at an event. Get the word out to many people at once, whilst also cementing yourself as the go to person in your field. You started this retail business, because you were passionate about what you sell. So go and spread the word. Follow any events like this up, with an FAQ or information resource, so that you’re not, in fact, creating more work for yourself.

If you’ve found this information useful, come join the Bringing Business To Retail community. You’ll be joining a bunch of retailers from all around the world chatting all things business. Best of all, it’s free. Until next week Be profitable

May 5, 2016

 

If you shop at Amazon or eBay, you’ve probably checked the seller’s reviews before you went ahead and purchased. Why, well, if you’re anything like me, it’s so that you can see the credibility of the seller, or the actual product, the have the security that you weren’t the first to buy, that others liked the product. When I say that reviews are important, I’m stating the obvious. You already know that, because you read them when you shop online, before you go to a restaurant or before you book a hotel. Word of mouth, and the power of the digital pen, make the need for reviews on your website, pretty much a given, if you want to increase your sales and traffic to your site. How do you feel about these statistics.

  • 9 out of 10 people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 7 out of 10 people say that reviews help them make the decision to purchase a product

So apart from the fact that having reviews can mean the difference between a sale and not, what other benefits do reviews have for your retail business?

They allow you to become an expert

Reviews allow you to have incredible insight into the mind of your customer. They can help you target customer’s problems, so you can be the go to person on how to fix them. When you read your reviews regularly, you’ll be able see see a trend in how your customer thinks, feels and speaks about the product. If you see that a question or negative comment, it’s a great way for you to create a resource, such as a video tutorial, a how-to or a FAQ that you can add into the product description. Having these resources gives you so much more authority than other websites, and may just be the answer to your customer’s questions, so much that they choose to purchase from you.

Get you some extra google juice

Reviews are written in the buyer’s own language, so you’ll end up with fresh content, that targets long tail keywords or phrases. This means that the purchaser will use their own search phrases, that you might not have even though of. It can often be hard to think of all the keywords you might need for a product. Reviews allow you to get those keywords in, without major keyword stuffing in product descriptions. Bonus!

You allow your customers to be your marketers

You know how when you find a product or service, that you really love, one that went above and beyond, you want to tell everyone about it? Well, this is exactly what reviews allow your customers to do for you. For free. You can’t buy that kind of kudos. Additionally, when you have great reviews for your business on google My Business, you’ll rank higher in their search

Bad reviews are good too

Sometimes, people will vent, because they’re having a bad day. Maybe their parcel was late, which was completely out of your control. Maybe their baby was up crying all night, or maybe they just got off a late shift. You never know the reason. Bad reviews give credibility to good reviews, as long as the negative ones are proportionate to the great ones. Not everyone is going to love every product. They’re branding for your business, even when you’re closed Customers will always comment on the service they received, even if it’s a review for a product. This continual, positive reinforcement is brand building for your business, even when you’re not there.

How to get reviews

Activate them on your site. Your website may already come with an inbuilt review function. Make sure it’s enabled. If it doesn’t come as part of your website, you can use a third party app like Yotpo , revoo or bazaarvoice Set up an automated email campaign to ask customers to review after purchase If you aren’t already using automated email sequences, now is the time to go and find out how they work. They can make your life SO much easier, make the customer journey so much more pleasurable and automated emails can grow your business. Put an automated email in place, asking your customer to leave a review after purchase. Remember to include your instore customers as well Ecommerce is great, and should be just one of the revenue streams for your business, but don’t leave out your instore customers. They’ve had actual contact with you, your brand and your service, so encourage them to leave a review after they’ve shopped with you. As many as 7 out of 10 customers will look at your site, before they come into your physical store, so these reviews are like having an online catalogue and brand ambassador, working for you, 24/7.   Where to add reviews On your site On your google My Business Page Facebook Third party sites like Yelp or tripadvisor. Make the most out of your reviews. In addition to monitoring your reviews to see what extra resources you could add for a product, take the information that people have left in their reviews, and create a buyers guide or blog post on the product. This weeks download shows you how to take those reviews, and turn them  into a great blog post or buyers guide, that could help you get sales

Download Your Review Guide

If you’ve found this information useful, come join the Bringing Business To Retail community. You’ll be joining a bunch of retailers from all around the world chatting all things business. Best of all, it’s free. Until next week Be profitable

May 5, 2016

Group buying sites can get your business exposure. If your business is new, you’re struggling to get fresh customers or have branched out on the products and services you provide, group buying sites might be a short term way to get more business. As a business advisor, I’m not particularly a fan of group buying sites, but I can see that they have merit as a quick way to get an influx of new customers, and cash, into your business. As a customer, I love those sites. Not only do I love a bargain, but I love the fun of trying somewhere new and the adventure of trying something new. From hiking to hair cuts, museums to massages, I’ve tried a lot of group buying offers, and here are the top 5 mistakes I see businesses make, when they use this channel/ The biggest one is on boarding me as a new customer. I call this a pre-welcome, that’s a made up term of mine, so don’t bother googling it. A pre-welcome could also be a “what to expect”. It doesn’t matter if you’re a restaurant or a gym, a health spa or a cooking class, let me know what to expect. What is parking like in the area, do I need to wear anything special, do I need to do something, or refrain from doing something before hand. When I arrive, what will happen. And, what happens afterwards. You could even put the suggestion of upselling into the document. In today’s download, I’m going to give you an example of what a pre welcome should look like, and the steps you should be taking, to make the most of group buying sites. The number 2 mistake I see businesses making, is that they don’t upsell. When you upsell, it should always be for the benefit of the customer, not for your cash register, so when a new customer is brought into your business, you should be looking to maximise THEIR return on investment. If they’ve taken the time to come into your business, make sure they get the most out of it, and be ready to identify how you could help them. In turn, you’ll end up with more money in your cash register The number 3 mistake, is no after care. On the very rare occasion that I get ANY follow up from a business, it’s usually one of those stock standard “hey, tell us what you think” emails. It’s all about the business. It’s never about me. If those businesses had sent me an email with some tips on how to get the most out of my hair cut, or a fun quiz that my kid could do after going to the museum, they’d have a much better chance of engaging me as a customer. So number three is to always have an after care nurture sequence in place, and make it focus on the customer, not your business, and it must have purpose. If you get feedback, what are you going to do with it? Next on my list, at number 4, is that these businesses NEVER ask me to become a customer. I’ve yet to have a hairdresser, massage or beauty therapist or restaurant, ask me to book my next appointment. And of course, with no after-care in place, I generally never hear from those businesses again, so even if I did like the service, there’s no prompting to make me come back again. Number 5 is being treated differently And I’ll admit this one doesn’t always happen. I’ve had great customer service, and terrible customer service, as a result of using group buying vouchers. Maybe those businesses that come to mind always had poor customer service, which is why they Re turned to sites like these to get a quick influx, but I can say, from experience, that I’ve been treated differently to other customers, when I’ve used vouchers. Your business service level should be consistent right across the board, regardless of whether someone is a new or returning customer. If you want these new people to become repeat customers, you need to treat them the same way that you would an existing customer. If you want to take advantage of group buying sites, make sure that you have a goal. Know how many people you want to take up the offer, and how many do you want to retain as retuning customers. Have a system in place to take advantage of the influx of new business, nurture those new customers, welcome them to your business, take care of them, sell to them, ask them to come back, and treat them well once they’ve left. If you do this, then you’ll have a much higher return on investment. If you’ve found this information useful, come join the Bringing Business To Retail community. You’ll be joining a bunch of retailers from all around the world chatting all things business. Best of all, it’s free.

What a pre welcome should look like

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