The retail industry has had to face some tough times in the current decade. One of the key challenges was the COVID-19 virus, which became a true pandemic early in 2020. With the onset of the pandemic, many countries decided to implement restrictions on the movement of their citizens, and, on occasion, instigate regional or national lockdowns where only essential journeys were permitted. In some cases, this was disastrous for retail businesses, especially those relying on physical premises to trade.
Significant reductions in customer footfall occurred during this period and it resulted in substantial financial losses, in some cases forcing the permanent closure of retail premises. Thankfully, the worst effects of the COVID-19 virus seem to have passed, and life has now reverted to normal in most countries. Retail businesses must now take steps to recover lost profitability and ensure that improved financial prospects and a secure trading future characterize their outlook for the next few years. In this article, three top tips will be discussed that focus on the retail sector. Each of these strategies will help improve retail businesses and lead to increased sales and enhanced profitability.
1. Upgrade your customer parking facilities
Firstly, it is important to consider the customer’s perspective when they take a trip out to go shopping in stores. Modern consumers want to enjoy an enjoyable shopping experience that encourages them to make the journey out to the retail premises. A key way to achieve this is by improving the parking facilities at your store. Customers will expect to have ample car parking space so that they can reach the store without needing to walk significant distances or carry heavy items for a long journey back to their vehicle.
Consider extending your premise’s parking facilities to attract a larger volume of potential customers. In addition, it is vitally important to ensure that the car park surface is well maintained and does not pose any trip hazards or has potholes that could damage a customer’s vehicle (and potentially form the basis for a claim against the retail firm).
If your customer parking facilities need maintenance or repair, use a professional firm with extensive experience in this field, such as South Central Sealing and Paving. These firms will be able to use the latest techniques to restore and repair your parking areas. Consider that a poorly maintained car park may also create an image in the customer’s mind that the store itself is of poor quality. A well-maintained car park can be a key way to build a professional image that helps to encourage repeat visits.
2. Improve your web presence
The COVID-19 pandemic showed the business world the dangers of relying on one form of business. As previously mentioned, retail firms that relied on physical premises suffered greatly. However, online retail firms enjoyed impressive growth during this period as customers increasingly shopped online out of necessity.
Today, an estimated 2.64 billion people shop online, and this figure is expected to keep rising for the foreseeable future. Put simply, retail firms must ensure that they have an online presence to take advantage of this growing sector of E-commerce. A retail website should be designed to offer visitors a pleasurable shopping experience and be easy to navigate on smaller devices such as smartphones.
In addition, web developers should design the site and the content so that all web pages obey the best practices of search engine optimization (SEO). These are a range of design, functional, and content considerations that combine to allow your retail web pages to rank more highly in search result pages when potential customers look for products online. Most online shoppers will only look at the first page of search engine results, so it is incredibly important to aim to reach page 1 of the all-important Google search results pages.
3. Ensure exceptional customer service
As a final key way to improve your retail business, you must strive to provide exceptional customer service. Every time a customer visits your store or navigate to your website, they should enjoy a pleasant shopping experience that encourages them to return. In physical stores, staff should receive comprehensive customer service training and greet visitors warmly and friendly.
On occasions where questions, issues, or complaints are lodged with the firm, these should be answered and resolved swiftly. Customers are increasingly “voting with their wallets” and choosing to shop with companies that meet and exceed their expectations across all consumer touchpoints. In short, strive for excellence in all forms of customer service, and your company will be taking an important step towards securing its long-term profitability and continued viability.