The experience you get from our unique businesses here in Alameda are so much more enjoyable and memorable than what you usually receive from big box stores.
Local businesses sometimes have their hang ups. They can be hard to buy from. We’re not saying you are but some businesses have that reputation. If you’re not sure whether your business has that reputation or not, check out these 5 ways you may be losing out on sales.
5 Ways Your Retail Business Is Losing Out on Sales
If you own a small business, you may be lamenting the fact you’re not doing enough business. You increase your marketing and yet, you still can’t seem to bring in the numbers you want. Why is that? Surprise! It may not be your marketing.
- You’re closed when you should be open. Employee hiring crisis notwithstanding, some small businesses have short or inconsistent hours. While it seems like hanging a sign on your door that reads “Be right back” may help those who stop by when you’re not open, rest assured they won’t be back or wait for you. Not having solid hours that your community can count on you to be open drives more people online.
- You’re closed during holidays. This is not a call to stay open on Thanksgiving and Christmas. But if there’s a long holiday weekend that might bring tourists (or other shoppers) into Alameda, it benefits you to stay open. It is also a good idea to add additional evening hours during things like Wine Walks, parades, or First Fridays. Find out when there are events by checking our community calendar and offer special hours to accommodate shoppers. Also, keep in mind if you’re located near businesses that stay open late like restaurants, that you might want to adjust your hours accordingly. When those restaurants are busy, people who are waiting to be seated may just come into your business to see what you have to offer.
- You aren’t interested in relationship building. One of the differentiators for local businesses is their connection factor. Locals often give advice and suggestions about the area such as recommending best places to dine and employees at restaurants suggesting “must-see” places in town. A solid way to get more business is to build relationships with other nearby businesses. If you’re not doing that, you’re missing out. (Being a chamber member is a great common denominator in meeting people.) Also, if you are cutting conversations short when someone asks you about the area, you’re cutting off the potential for a sale. People buy from people they know, like, and trust. If you’re short with your answers, they may go somewhere else.
- You assume everyone is browsing. It’s difficult when you have the kind of business where people stroll in and out. After a while it’s easy to assume everyone is just a tire kicker and not a buyer. But when you do that, you may accidentally miss a buyer. Your assumption may color your interest in (and patience with) the person and you may be inadvertently driving them to another business instead of your own.
- You are only brick and mortar. Many shop owners see themselves as being in competition with Amazon and other online retailers and thus develop a “them against me” attitude toward online offerings. That’s a losing attitude. Imagine the following, all-too-common scenario: There’s a hat shop that sells beautiful, unique styles with amazing prices. Now imagine a mother and daughter in town for a weekend getaway. They flew into Oakland with a small weekend bag and no checked luggage. The mother loves hats and her birthday is coming up. Since they’re traveling together, the daughter doesn’t want to buy mom’s birthday gift in front of her. So the daughter asks the business owner as discretely as she can if the owner has a business card. No, she’s out. So the daughter tried another angle; did she have an online store, or did she sell on Etsy or Marketplace? No, just the store. The daughter could’ve made a purchase online even though she couldn’t in the store. Instead, the business owner lost a sale…possibly several future sales. As a business owner, you don’t have to like e-commerce stores, but you do have to sell that way if you want to reach your potential for customers and sales.
If you want people to buy from you, you need to be friendly and open. Think of every person who enters as a possible touchpoint for a sale. Even if they don’t buy from you, there’s a chance they will refer someone or speak of your operation, and you may get that sale down the line. If you want to increase sales, don’t make these mistakes.