- Know who your customer is and sell to that customer. I.e. Are they in their 30’s or 40’s or 50’s or are they Hispanic? Do the market research as to what the demographics of your area are and then buy merchandise and services that cater to that group or customer. If you don’t know what the demographics of your area is you can go to www.census.gov or for a more detailed breakdown of what is selling in other stores you can go to www.gasstations.com/products.asp and you will find a complete selection of reports that will help you in your business.
- Are you using a shotgun or a rifle? Is your advertising and marketing the shot gun approach when you should be using the rifle approach? All too often we let marketing and advertising take a back seat to the daily operations of our business. Sometimes it is because we don’t either like or know anything about the marketing aspect of the business so we treat it accordingly. What is worse yet is when we think we know something about marketing and advertising and act like we do. For example I can remember when I was in the television and radio business that my customers would buy advertising that they liked. If they liked country music then they would buy ads on country music stations. If they liked the shows our TV station was running at a certain time they would buy their advertising to reflect their tastes in the programming. This not the correct way to buy advertising or marketing. You want to make sure that you are buying what You CUSTOMERS like and not what you like. So read number 1. Of this report and then use the rifle approach and implement the marketing and advertising that is reflective of your customer’s tastes and wants.
- Can’t sell from an empty cart. Where’s the inventory. Our company just sold a liquor store in a small town and for American Business Brokers to sell a liquor store is not anything unusual we do it quite often. But what caught my attention in this sale is that the sales of the stores was about $1,800,000.00 per year in a town of 6,500 population and the owner of the store was an absentee owner who lived in another state and he had only owned the store for 3 years and when he bought the store it was only doing around $1,000,000.00 in sales. He had increased the sales by over 40% and he didn’t work in the store. So how did he do it? He said that he increased the inventory. Now, I am sure that there are other things that this person had done to increase sale, but his main reply had always been that he increased the inventory so his customers always saw a full and well stocked store. Make sure that your shelves are well stocked and faced forward. If you have to much empty floor space. Consolidate it to make it look fuller. More inventory means more sales. Don’t let your store look like it is going out of business when you are trying to increase your business.
- Are you giving them a reason to come back or spend more money with you? Whether it is retail or online give them a reason to spend more money with you. The easiest person to sell is someone who has already done business with you. Either give them a bounce back coupon or offer additional items you have for sale as you are closing the sale. Stick a flyer in their sack or email it to them, but let them know there are other items you have for sale and you are willing to even give them a discount if they will continue to purchase from you. Remember they have money and they want to buy from you or chances are they wouldn’t have bought from you the first time so don’t deny them the opportunity to continue to buy from you again and again and again.
- Raise your prices. Yes, raise your prices on items that are non essentials or un- priced. When was the last time you did a market survey of your competition and what they were charging for sodas or candy bars or health and beauty aids? Chances are you maybe under priced in the market place. What if you are little bit to high now compared to the market place. Well don’t drop your prices remember it is called a convenience store for. Reason not Wal mart.
- Be sure to educate your customers every chance e you get. By this we mean with price signs on the MPDs, on the soda milk candy bars everything to show them what is for sale. If a bunch of inventory is just sitting there it needs help. Promote it with visual aids. Don’t assume that your customers will see the items and the want to pick it up. Give them a reason to take action. Use vendors point of sale materials, have a sign maker make some up, use neon paper, even colored pens on the windows. It really doesn’t matter what you do just give the products a push
- Give stuff away. Always have a drawing going on for something all of the time for anything. It can be an Elvira stand up that was used for selling beer or a basket of salty snacks or a soda & hot dog a day for a week. Get your vendors involved and get stuff to give away. And by the way you may want to keep the entry forms with their email address just in case you decide to start a marketing campaign.
Ask, ask and ask them again to buy something when they are at the counter checking out. Even the slightest bit of suggestive selling will drive profits. And believe it or not customers appreciate it. They like to know if there any specials or good deals they can take advantage of.