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We know what you’re thinking – New Year’s resolutions, the ones you usually make at the beginning of January, and saying “this year will be different!”, resolutions that you’ll forget even before the month is over?

We know what you’re thinking – New Year’s resolutions, the ones you usually make at the beginning of January, and saying “this year will be different!”, resolutions that you’ll forget even before the month is over?

Well then, this year will be different! And think about this: even if you don’t keep (all) your resolutions, the very exercise of thinking about what goals you want to achieve in your business, and understanding the steps to reach them, can help you move closer to the your ultimate goal.

There are eight big resolutions we suggest you make yours – our New Year’s gift to help you along the road to success.

Are you ready to keep your retail stores above the curve in this new year?

1. Have complete control over your business

Do you spend hours every month trying to figure out your numerical indicators? Is your staff unable to see what products are available in other stores? Do your managers have no idea what goes on in their own stores if they are traveling? If you answered “yes” to these questions, chances are you are using separate software solutions to manage different parts of your business – front office, back office, e-commerce, stock, and so on. And the probability is that customer service is suffering because of this disconnect. Now is the time for change. Give yourself a well-deserved New Year’s gift, and implement a unified retail software solution that spans your entire business. It will save you time, tons of paper and save your customers from having slow and inefficient service.

2. Shorten the queues at the counter

This one is easy. Faster checkout service means more sales, happy customers and more time for your staff to do other tasks. Finding the right solution for your business starts with analyzing your stores. Do long lines form at peak hours because there are few cashiers available? Does your checkout system tend to break down or slow down, delaying service? Point out the problem and find the solution. Your customers will thank you.

3. Increase and reward loyalty

It costs between 5 to 25 times more to get a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one. Investing in growth in return on visits pays off! And the most popular way to encourage loyalty is through rewards programs. If done well, loyalty programs can bring immense benefits: more customers coming back – and a better understanding of what they’re looking for. Loyalty programs collect valuable data – your customer’s age, gender, preferences of product, preferred times to buy… – data that you should collect and use to create targeted promotions, recommendations and personalized communication. Be careful, however, when structuring your program: not all loyalty programs are effective.

4. Join the social media game

Social media is here to stay. If you’re not already active on the platforms where your customers are, now is the time to go social. Before starting (or engaging in it) keep these 4 rules in mind:

  • Be honest, friendly and approachable. Social media is not where it should sound distant or corporate.
  • Stay constant. If you start a page on one of the social platforms, you won’t be able to publish just when you want. Have a strategy in place, post material that is relevant to your audience and your image, and post often.
  • Make it fun! Organize games, contests, sweepstakes. People will look at the page in their spare time, to relax and have a laugh – make it worth it.
  • Keep communication channels open. Many consumers take their comments and complaints to social media – and ignoring them is not a smart strategy. In fact, 50% of consumers say they boycott brands that ignore their complaints on social media, according to a recent survey by Sprout Social. Always respond to comments and questions from fans.

5. Go mobile

Mobile commerce (m-commerce) is growing much faster than e-commerce and store retail combined, reports comScore. Business Insider estimates that by 2020, m-commerce will represent 45% of the entire online commerce market.

If you still don’t have the capacity to embrace this growing number of consumers on mobile, it’s time to go mobile. Whether you plan to launch an online shopping app or build a responsive website, you need to ensure that your consumers can browse the website and buy your wares, whatever device they are using. If not, consumers will end up switching to a more mobile-friendly competitor.

6. Invest in your staff

Your staff is, more than ever, crucial to the success of your stores.

Today, consumers can find, online and at low prices, any item they are looking for. When consumers visit physical stores, they do it for the experience. This means that retail workers – knowledgeable, friendly, helpful workers – are more important than ever. According to respondents to the Total Retail survey for PwC, having experienced sales associates should be the main focus for retailers looking to improve the store experience. To build talent in your sales, start by focusing on:

  • Involve the staff with the brand and its philosophy,
  • Provide a deep training to your staff, throughout their career,
  • Equip your staff with in-store technology that helps them give customers the fast and exciting experiences they expect.

It’s not all, but it’s a good start.

7. Ask for comments

People love to give their opinion – and they also value the opinion of others about businesses and products. According to BrightLocal, in 2017, 97% of consumers read reviews online about local businesses – and 85% of people trust the comments as if they were personal recommendations. Online comments can frighten, worry or annoy you; but trust us, they won’t disappear in this new year. Therefore, it is better to accept them.

There are 3 rules you must follow when it comes to comments:

  • Encourage them. Build a dialogue with your regular customers and the online community of people who love your product and encourage fans to leave a comment.
  • Highlight them. Don’t hesitate to promote comments that make you look good.
  • Answer. It’s important to thank consumers who took the time to write. What’s even more important is that you never ignore negative comments. Respond politely to dissatisfied customers, and ensure they feel heard. Just by responding to a complaint can you guarantee the customer: in a study conducted by Maritz and Evolve24, 83% of people who received a response to a complaint consider themselves satisfied with the mere fact that they have received a response – even if the problem has not been resolved.

8. Be prepared for the unexpected

With change constantly happening, who knows what trends will emerge in the next year, or what new technology will emerge and transform the way we shop? Be open to unexpected innovations and be prepared to start new collaborations. Whatever you do, just remember to keep your customers at the center. Technology is expensive; make sure each system you implement is right for your goals and will bring you positive returns, whether in terms of traffic, basket size or revenue. If you need help figuring out what type of technology will be best for your business, don’t hesitate to contact our retail experts.

We at Arquiconsult and LS Retail wish you a happy new year, full of success.


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Original text from the LS Retail Blog, which can be consulted here.