In a recent blog, retail consultant Bob Phibbs painted a foreboding portrait of the retail landscape. Besides the challenges of COVID-19, brick and mortar stores are facing another reckoning: the U.S. has far too much retail square footage for projected demand from customers.
So, what to do about it?
Here are direct excerpts from the Retail Doctor with five strategies proven to turn shoppers into buyers:
- Have a robust set of price points in every category. This might mean you offer used products to compete with entry-level sewing machines or bikes or private label. But be careful. Without sales training this could be a margin killer.
- Offer a rundle. What is a rundle? A rundle is a recurring revenue bundle first coined by Professor Scott Galloway several years ago. You come up with a plan where shoppers can give you a fixed amount every month for a series of lessons, a subscription box, or access to special courses; think Peloton, Birchbox, or Dollar Shave Club. Shoppers want fewer choices but like a regular plan that gives them convenience and more than they would get if purchased alone.
- Adjust your buying. Many retailers are debating whether to expand private-label products. Instead of trying to predict customer demand, agree now on triggers you’ll look for to know if private-label or other categories are a better fit for you and if you will make more money using them.
- Revisit marketing promotions. Supply chains for many of your vendors are broken. Products are taking too long to get here and even being canceled at the last minute. You don’t want to run promotions on products that you are already low on. That breeds chaos and frustration for you as a retailer and your customers. If you regularly promote a 20% off brand X sale or you put your entire store at 20% off and don’t have the product to back you up, now you can’t offer timely rainchecks as back-up either.
- Plan for remote selling. This goes beyond a Facebook Live video. It is one-to-one selling to your loyal customers using something as basic as Facetime or Zoom to more sophisticated software like Salesfloor. Even if you have to close again or go curbside, most employees will feel safer not having to do face-to-face interactions.