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Retail Survival Tips for 2017

By Generational Equity

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Whether you’re running a brick-and-mortar store, an online store or a combination of the two, 2017 is sure to offer challenges.

Online shopping continues to draw sales away from brick-and-mortar stores. Technology plays an ever-increasing role in the quality of the shopping experience. And, last year’s election cycle and the uncertainty voters felt hurt sales, according to many industry analysts.

Among the survival tips offered by retail experts to help combat consumer whims are the following:

Be true to your brand.

Know who your customers are and what they buy. Don’t try to expand into areas your customers don’t want to go. Los Angeles Times business writer David Lazarus pointed to Land’s End as a retail brand in trouble because it strayed from its clothing roots of steady quality and styles at a moderate price.

Invest in technology.

Whether you’re talking inventory management or the checkout experience, today’s customers expect more. They want to shop your store online, sometimes while standing in the aisle. This requires a website that’s mobile friendly.

Analyze processes.

Jessica Thiele, marketing manager at Virtual Logistics, recommends that if you have more than three people touching an order, it’s time to re-evaluate your processes with an eye to improving efficiency.

Align brick-and-mortar with online.

Investing in technology will help your online sales work seamlessly with in-person sales, allowing you to succeed at the so-called omnichannel experience. You want it to be easy for your customers to buy online after browsing your store, or return in person after buying online.

Up your marketing game.

A few years ago, it seemed like everyone created a Facebook page for their stores. Are you still posting sales messages and new product offerings there? If not, it’s time to refresh your social media strategy. It’s also a good idea to reconsider direct mail, which fell out of favor as retailers ramped up their email strategies. Direct mail still generates feet in the store.

Be open to change and adapt quickly.

Today’s retailers can no longer afford to think what worked a year or two ago will continue to drive sales or profit. Perpetual change has always been the name of the retail game, it’s just that change is coming faster.

Appreciate your employees.

Nothing spoils a sale faster than a sour employee. Make sure your team feels appreciated and understands how they fit into your current plans to grow the business.

Build a buyer-ready business.

Keep in mind that all of these ideas, if implemented successfully, will only enhance how potential buyers see your company when you finally exit. Having a retail organization that is dynamic, in touch with the client base and nimble are all important traits to buyers.

© 2017 Generational Equity, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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