It is retail that facilitates the easy access of various goods and services to consumers and ensures timely distribution of the same across India. Many brands and services survive on the retail model and use it for their growth across all geographies and boundaries. Retailers essentially, are the backbone of the Indian Retail industry and primarily responsible for its growth in all sectors.
However, given changing economic trends and increasing competition, the retailers sometimes find it difficult to survive and need to adapt new ways to grow their businesses. In a scenario, where the customer is king and has unlimited shopping choices to select from be it offline or online, the retailer needs to ensure that he is present and has top-of-the-mind recall in the customers mind. He needs to envision and correctly forecast the upcoming trends and buying patterns of customers, so that he can meet their requirements. Apart from this retailers, can also gain by following the below mentioned suggestions;
- Adding a new product or product line to their existing business
Yes, this works and is an excellent way to boost ones business with the existing infrastructure. Offering additional size options such as large or sample packs of existing products can help upscale or increase a customer’s off take of the product from the store. Similarly adding products that compliment your existing product line, helps customers make all their purchases from one store. For ex if you sell Shirts, adding ties would be a perfect addition to your business line and save the customer the hindrance of buying the same elsewhere. Moreover, the retail outlet will be perceived as one that fulfils all needs, thus increasing walk-ins to the store.
- Using systems to scale the business, reduce sourcing costs and increase production
Growth without profit is meaningless and does not add any value to the business. While one strives for growth, one should also look at existing systems and work to fine tune the same. This will help reduce sourcing costs and increase production, in turn allowing you to price your products and services better than the competition. Better margins from an existing business are far better than just expanding the business without the bottom line growing substantially. Similarly, wherever possible, routine administrative should be automated, to save the time and energy of existing manpower resources and better utilise them.
- Speak to your customers
- Speaking to existing customers is the best way to understand their needs and know what they are planning to buy in the future. You may not always be able to sell them what they want, but you can surely channel them to someone who has it. This will help build their confidence in you and trust you for future large scale purchases. Also work on organising events related to products you sell, for ex if you sell running shoes you could organise fitness runs. This will help you bond with your customers and be a reference point for future purchases. Speaking to customers, also has the additional benefit of making one aware of market trends, competition news, local happenings etc which can help us plan our business accordingly.
- Keep a positive cash flow and credit limit
Opportunities don’t knock twice and are sometime lost for want of funds to avail them. For example you could get a large shipment of T-shirts’s from a supplier who needs funds immediately at a discounted price, but would not be able to avail of the same due to lack of funds. Maintaining a good credit record, can help you avail funds for such on-the-spot deals which can be very profitable. It can also help you in your expansion plans and identify and close new potential locations, before somebody else identifies them.
- Be prepared to take risks
You have to jump over a chasm to cross it, just walking will not do. Similarly, sometimes in business you need to take a leap of faith and trust your instincts about a business opportunity. The ratio between risk and profit is proportional, with higher risk promising higher profits and vice versa. Just make sure, you consider all possible situations and make an informed decision about the business you are planning to invest on.
The retail business, while a good source of income and growth is not without its pitfalls. One needs to identify carefully the potential markets and plan accordingly for the success and growth of the same.