RETAIL BUSINESS PLAN
How to revisit and develop a retail business plan that grows with your business
Establishing your business is one thing—keeping it alive is something else entirely. As the vast majority of business owners find out all too soon, the first year is often the most deadly; about 80% of new businesses succeed.
This page identifies using tools for small businesses to streamline daily operations, offering suggestions on changing course to reach your goals. We also offer technology-based suggestions to increase your workflow and draw in more customers. Specifically, we cover features such as:
- Revisiting your retail business plan
- Data analytics
- Sales and promotions
|Test different channels|
Above all else, the businesses that survived their first 10 years are the adaptable ones. You need to make sure that your business is able to pivot when necessary to meet changing markets and increase your ROI. This comes from examining the channels you are using to sell products and evaluating whether they are healthy enough to continue using. In the worst-case scenarios, businesses may need to change their model entirely to look at online marketplaces (Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Etc) to increase their visibility.
The best approach when working with different channels is to think of your business like a bonsai tree; make small investments in several channels and constantly observe. Channels doing well should be doubled down on and invested more heavily in, while channels that don't do very well should be trimmed off as the business grows.
|Refine your customer experience|
Especially the case for brick-and-mortar stores, customer experience is everything. Start by looking at your customers as they enter your store; do they look excited? Nervous? Unsure? This information helps you determine the attitude that your employees need to be ready to meet as they go through their workday.
A great example of a refined customer experience is Trader Joes. When customers enter the building, they know that they are going to be greeted by positive people who are eager to help them. This model has done so much for the grocer that they have been able to improve their food sourcing, charge more and still maintain excellent profits. A good way to approach this problem is to consider surveying your existing customers to understand what they think of your business and how it can be improved.
|Consider investing in marketing|
One of the biggest challenges that retailers face in the modern marketplace is reach; on one hand, the internet provides you with access to customers from all over the world. On the other, it also provides this same access to everyone else. With nearly every market oversaturated, competition for customer attention is at an all-time high.
Especially for small businesses, increasing your visibility should be at the forefront of your attention. In some cases, this may mean spending countless man-hours doing the work of promoting and posting yourself. In other cases, businesses with a bit more to spend may outsource the job to a specialized agency. In either case, the risk is significant; investing in marketing can very quickly turn into a black hole if the wrong hands are on the wheel. That being said, the payoff of a well-conducted marketing campaign may not only save your business, but help it thrive.
For businesses just coming out of their first year, making these decisions is exceptionally difficult. A new company combined with a shifting marketplace creates plenty of challenges for even the most well-researched company to fall into. That’s why it’s critical to have the right information on hand when you evaluate; that’s where your data analytics become essential assets.
Improvement starts with the knowledge of where improvements can be made. One of the major reasons that small retailers struggle is because they don’t know where their weak points actually are. To be fair, this is a difficult task; businesses have many moving parts that make it difficult to pin down areas that are especially underperforming.
Making sense of the mess doesn’t come easy, it’s made simpler with the use of specially developed point of sale (POS) tools. These include:
Real-time sales data
Divide your overall profits between gross, net and total, allowing you to distinguish how much money you’ve made from your actual profits. In addition, it breaks these payments down by type. This shows you what your customers prefer to use for payment; information which can be particularly useful when getting a feel for how your customers prefer to shop.
Cash drawer activity
Easily identify your top revenue earner by comparing the sales data of individual items. Having this information allows you to focus on your big earners, but also provides an opportunity to reflect on your poorest sellers. From here, business owners can devise sales and promotions to get them in better standing.
One of the primary concerns for small business owners is how well their employees are handling transactions. Checking the number of voided transactions on your daily records can indicate employees who may need additional training on your systems. Similarly, records of customer refunds can also provide valuable insights into how well customers like your wares.
Labor cost report
Labor cost reports compare your net revenue against the estimated wages paid towards your staff, resulting in a percentage number reflecting your profits after paying employees. This information can be adjusted to reflect either an hour-by-hour listing or users can search by specific dates. This information gives business owners an accurate idea of how much they have to put towards necessary bills to keep the business running.
For every other feature listed on this page, data analytics is arguably the most important. Without the information provided through these features, setting up new promotions is done without client data on hand. In other words, data analytics is your compass, pointing you in the right direction.
Sales and promotions
Your business needs customers coming in to make your business plan work. After opening day and the initial rush subsides, you need to focus your efforts on drawing customers back in. This is easier said than done; it’s a wide world out there filled with competitive businesses aiming to do the same. Bringing back customers means providing them with the proper incentive.
So what incentives can you provide? More importantly, how do you actually know what your customers (and the wider audience you are trying to bring in) respond to? This used to be something of a guessing game, but POS data analytics allow you to:
Before data analytics ever get involved, your business can still offer gift cards. The beauty of gift cards is that they don’t need to target your highest seller—customers can spend them on whatever they like. POS systems offer the ability to create custom branded gift cards that can be:
- Fixed or reloadable
- Standard or promotional
- Compatible with different digital wallets
The best part of these features is the appeal to the modern customer. Compatibility with digital wallets allows your store to continue offering blanket incentives, no matter how your customers like to shop.
One of the biggest advantages that a POS offers is the purchase history it records with every transaction. If customers are willing to leave their information during this transaction, business owners can use this information to their advantage by offering a “loyalty plan.”
Loyalty plans utilize the information found in a customer’s purchase history to offer specialized deals and promotions on products that they have previously bought. This incentivizes the customer to make a return visit when an item that they might be looking for becomes available.
Whether they are new or existing customers, everyone celebrates the holidays. For businesses of any kind this is a time that generates mass profits with relatively little effort, as customers are already out and about. The trick, then, is bringing specifically into your store.
POS systems accomplish this task by allowing business owners to preset especially timed discounts that automatically apply within the preset parameters. For example, you could program a Black Friday discount for 50% off that automatically applies itself every year.
The beauty of these options is in their adaptability; when you’re a small business, you may only be able to offer so much off. While this can drive you to be more creative initially, the ability to offer more robust promotions eventually expands. When that happens, you want to have technology available that pivots into the next stage of your retail business plan.
Get the right tools to adjust your business
The modern marketplace requires that businesses have the best available tools to succeed. With a strong data analytics program, businesses can concretely project their strengths and weaknesses. Once those attributes are evaluated, companies can effectively target precision promotions to draw in customers and improve their bottom line. These systems working together draft the blueprint for a successful business.
Sometimes the best way to revisit your retail business plan is with the help of a trusted partner. talech has been working with retailers for more than a decade, providing comprehensive analytics through a centralized POS system. Our options are designed for retailers of every size, allowing you the mobility to pivot and shift with the marketplace. Reach out today for a free demo and to learn how we can become your trusted partner.
SOFTWARE INVENTORY TOOLS
Technology strategies to compliment your business plan
Here are the points businesses need when revitalizing their technology strategy: specialized industry features, data and analytics, and mobile options.
SALES ANALYTICS SOFTWARE
Sales analytics software that embraces your business plan
The same system that processes customer transactions, makes purchase orders, and offers incentives can also add up every dollar of spend and profit these actions generate.
MODERN POS SYSTEM
A modern POS system: The hub of your business plan
POS has evolved to encompass several company operations, including a POS system business plan that serves as the blueprint for the organization’s success.