As a small store owner, it can often seem like you’re in a deadlock when wanting to add to your store and build your business. Obstacles often present themselves in a number of ways. We’ve heard from merchants that site property limitations, small budgets, legal hurdles, security concerns, and even staffing struggles as some of their key pain points in continuing to enhance their store and grow their profits. What we also know, is that businesses that can’t keep up with the changing demands or habits of consumers often find themselves in a rut and sometimes out of business. If you’re store is in need of an update, there are probably more options than you realize.
It’s 2016, and the relationship between human behavior and technology is constantly evolving. As our capabilities change, so do our expectations and vice versa. As consumers continuously adjust to evolving technology, they expect the stores they shop at to do the same. One way to add value to your small store is to update the technology inside it. A few ways you can do this are:
Start digital marketing efforts like social media or SMS offers
Put TVs inside your store for advertisements, news, or weather
Invest in new gas pumps or an ATM
Diversify Your Products
While you may not have much room to ADD to your inventory, you can certainly find a way to incorporate a variety of products. Consider spreading some of your budget into different products to improve the options your customers have at your store. Changing your offerings just a bit according to season is also a great way to provide variety and add to your store’s perceived value.
goEBT merchants that join our exclusive buyer’s club have the opportunity to take advantage of special rebates on products for their store.
Try a Partnership
Maybe you do have a little extra space and want to add new products, prepared foods, self-serve beverages or something else to your store. If you think this is outside your budget or expertise, you can always seek out the help of a partner. There are a number of companies like Subway or Krispy Krunchy Chicken that offer unique agreements for convenient stores to have their products in their stores without much headache. The key to making use of certain opportunities is to weigh the cost, risk, and rewards with every alternative.
Boost Your Marketing Efforts
To some store owners, marketing sounds like a difficult and expensive operation. The truth is, you don’t have to be an advertising expert or even have much extra in your budget to make marketing work for your business. Some easy marketing efforts are:
Offer promotional prices on certain products. You can even use promotions to boost sales during certain times of day or seasons, or to cross sell items.
Start social media pages for your store and promote them to your customers. You can share store updates and promotions, or even host contests.
Try implementing a simple loyalty program. Punch cards are an easy way to do this.
Just Clean House
Sometimes you can improve your store’s traffic and/or retention by simply sprucing up the place a bit. Some simple house keeping and minor improvements can’t make your customer experience much more pleasant and keep them coming back. Try some of the following:
Floor cleaning, waxing, or replacement
Painting your building or inside walls
Dust all your shelves
Move your products around and consider getting rid of slow moving items (this is a great opportunity to offer a promotional price)
Take down any outdated advertisements or displays
The most important thing to keep in mind when making improvements to your store is that your customers are concerned with their entire experience with your business. Focus on anything that you see as a major issue and don’t feel obligated to tackle everything at once. While any of these suggested improvements could help your store, you can always work on the all-important aspects of your business like customer service or understanding your customer’s needs and wants.