Seasons come and go. Some parts of the year are filled with booming business and other parts of the year can be a little slower. However, if your store has seen a sharp decline in sales over the last few weeks or months, this could be cause for concern. Don’t panic! Here are a few of the things you should be doing to ensure your business can rebound.
Take a Step Back
When it’s your c-store that's failing, especially if you only own one store, downturns are particularly stressful. We recommend you approach the situation as if it were someone else's store. Look at your store from the outside, and then walk inside as if you were a new customer. What strikes your eye? Is your signage attractive and clear? What could you do to make your displays more appealing? It can be hard to think strategically when you're in the middle of the crisis, so it's helpful to seek a different point of view. What would your instincts advise you do? Don't be afraid to follow your intuition.
Look at Your Pricing
Are your prices too low? More commonly than not, this is one of the reasons that a c-store may be failing. It costs money to operate the store, and if you aren't bringing in enough revenue to cover the costs, you're bound to fail eventually. If you think your prices are too low, don't go and triple them overnight. Instead, take a slow and steady approach to price increases, so you can build up your profit margins without alarming your customers.
Is Your Staff Properly Trained?
If this applies to your store, think about the people you hired to provide a great customer experience. Again, try to take a step back. Are they doing a good job representing your business? Would you like dealing with them if you were a customer? It can be easy to overlook, but solid employee training is crucial. Make sure that your employees really understand the processes of your store, the products you carry and how to use your transaction equipment. But most importantly of all, make sure they are friendly and courteous.
What is Your Marketing Plan?
Do you have advertisements for your c-store, or do you just hope that people will wander into your store on accident? Marketing is important for every business, no matter how small it is. With today’s digital advertising choices, it’s also easier than ever before. Simple things like creating a Google Business Listing or updating your sign can do wonders to drive traffic to your business both digitally and physically.
If your business is losing money every month, cutting expenses absolutely must be your first move. This could mean layoffs, putting off repairs or renovations, or even moving to a different location altogether. Take a look at the products you carry. More times than not, you could be losing money by ordering products that aren’t selling. You want to continue to order the products that continue to fly off the shelves (but don’t ever sell out) and to cut back on the products that stick around too long. Take a look at your balance sheet and see where all of your money is going every month. The answers might surprise you.
If your business is struggling, follow these tips to start turning things back in the right direction. Hopefully, you'll find you're simply in a slow period, and business bounces back quickly. If not, it's best to take action on problems right away. You and your business will be stronger because of it.