In retail, much time is spent acquiring new customers. And, while new customers are definitely important, acquiring them can be time-consuming and expensive. It's far easier to sell more to those who already love you.
Existing customers have already given you money and have demonstrated they are interested in buying what you're selling, which is way better than getting lots of people walking through your store looking – and not buying.
Selling more to your existing customer base is a very smart strategy for retailers. Here are five ways to grow your retail business:
1. Think package.
"Would you like fries with that?" We've all been asked that question when placing an order at a fast-food restaurant. That one question can generate hundreds (or thousands) of orders for something that customers want but may have neglected to order. Take a look at what your customers might need with their purchase. Think about bundling products or services into packages for higher total value sales.
2. Create a subscription service.
Do your customers like variety? Suggest they sign up for a subscription service. A pet retailer, for example, can send bark boxes or kitty kits with fun new products for a monthly fee, which is great for recurring revenue. Meanwhile, beer or wine-of-the-month clubs are go-to subscriptions for gift giving at the holidays.
3. Be better together.
Partner with other retailers to co-promote services and products. This can be as simple as doing events in each other's locations, like a healthy foods retailer partnering with a local spa, or a gourmet chocolate shop doing a special girls' night out at a nail salon or with a wine merchant. This strategy works particularly well when the establishments have similar customers.
You can also consider creating a "store within a store" concept and sell each other's products when it makes sense.
4. Imagine the possibilities.
Do a "pop-up shop" instead of investing in an entirely new store. A limited-edition pop-up store creates buzz and immediacy and makes shopping a must-attend event. Talk to local chambers of commerce to see if any spaces are available on a short-term basis. You can even take over an existing space on a day it is closed. Some pop-up restaurants have gone on to become full-time establishments.
5. Stay top of mind.
Capture emails (with permission) to keep customers abreast of information, including specials, sales and events. Write great newsletters and have an online store, in addition to your brick and mortar store, to encourage customers to buy more – and to make purchasing a breeze.
As you can see, there are many ways you can generate more money for your retail business just from the customers you already have. Add in some creative marketing and outstanding client service, and watch your business grow!
Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File™ legacy planning system, a "recovering" investment banker, business advisor, entrepreneur and best-selling author of The Entrepreneur Equation. She also "plays herself on TV", as a reality TV show judge, media contributor and host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy. She's recognized internationally as a small business expert and has worked with startups to the biggest companies and brands in the world on everything from strategy to content creation and marketing to billions of dollars in capital raising and transactional work. She's been a public company director and invests in mid-stage companies as well.