Megan Rutherford: Sales and Marketing Column

Megan Rutherford: Sales and Marketing Column
Megan Rutherford has a diverse background in sales, marketing, and public relations. She has 15+ years of experience in helping small businesses grow their unique markets. Certified as an inbound marketer, Megan specializes in internet & email marketing, search engine optimization, social media, and more. Offline activities include direct mail marketing, public relations, and event planning.

Top Ways to Increase Retail Sales for a Small Business

Top Ways to Increase Retail Sales for a Small Business

Every business wants to increase sales, but it doesn’t just happen overnight. Small businesses must employ innovative methods to increase sales. Small business owners and managers consistently rank finding new business opportunities and attracting customers as the biggest concern. Everything from online awareness to in-store promotions, there are a wide variety of ways to increase retail sales for a small business. Here are proven ideas to boost retail sales for a small business:

Create Promotions

Don’t just think of the big holidays like New Years, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, instead come up with other promotions like celebrating Small Business Week or an off the wall holiday like National Donut Day. Look at sales history to see what the slower months of the year are, and use this time to create different promotions, incentives, or events.

Host an Event

There are a wide variety of reasons that events can boost sales. Hosting an event in store at another location either exclusively with the business itself or co-hosting with another business or a charity can all be great positioning strategies. Whether it draws in new or existing customers, it can be a great way to create an experience, generate raving fans and is an excellent opportunity to build brand awareness.

Pricing Strategies and Incentives

Revisit pricing strategies. Are your products and services still competitively priced? It can be difficult to determine the right price, but ultimately it comes down to making a profit and what the customer is willing to pay. Additionally, special incentives can be a terrific way to get customers through the door. Create deals that offer a sense of urgency like “today only” or “happening this weekend.” It doesn’t have to be a massive discount, merely provide a sample or other item of value to entice people in and to make a purchase.

Advertising and Publicity

Marketing dollars can be tight but spending some on advertising and publicity is crucial for not only maintaining but also increasing sales. Traditional forms of advertising such as the newspaper and radio advertisements are still powerful and have the potential to return excellent results.

Social Media Presence and Advertising

Perhaps the most cost-effective way to increase retail sales is through social media. By being consistent in posting and responsive to comments and messages an excellent social media presence can ensue. Advertising on social media can be very affordable and allows a business to reach out to current fans, a look-a-like audience, or a custom audience. The unique ability to target customers at a relatively low cost are all top reasons why both large and small businesses alike utilize paid social media advertising.

Stellar Customer Service

Good customer service can lead to more sales. Not only is the sales process in-store critical, but also the follow-up. Create a memorable customer experience through thanking the customer for their business and offering other value-added services. Even online businesses can create a memorable experience for the customer.

Online Presence and Reputation Management

Not only does a business need to have established social media channels, but it also must have a full online presence through a mobile-friendly website and reputation management sites. A customer’s journey often begins online so having a good search engine presence through having a listing on Google, Yelp, and other related sites are extremely important. Many customers will look up phone numbers, hours of operation, and driving directions as a first step in researching a business.

Whether a brick-and-mortar store or an online marketplace, a small business has many methods at their fingertips to increase retail sales for little to no cost involved.