If you need help boosting your bottom line, relief may be closer than you realize. According to Cathy Donovan Wagner, a retail consultant with several decades of experience, there are three very simple steps you can take in order to improve your sales. Wagner, who works exclusively with independent retailers, has experience both as a store owner and consultant. She is the CEO of Retail Mavens and has seen the following methods improve sales numbers and increase the bottom lines of her clients for the past three years.
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- Increase your initial markup to 55 percent – For example, if the cost of a ball is $5, mark it up to $11. Many stores would only mark it up 50 percent to $10. But that extra 5 percent makes a big difference over a whole year. If your store does $400,000 in annual sales and you only mark up 50 percent, then you probably purchase about $200,000 of goods in a year. If you increase your initial markup to 55 percent, that means that the $200,000 of goods now gets marked up to $444,444. That is an increase of potential profit of $44,444. I had a client that literally produced enough extra profit doing this that he took the entire family on a cruise after Christmas.
- Identify your best sellers — Every private client I have ever had has made this one mistake. You run out of your best sellers! Work with your team to create a "Never Out Of" list. These are items that you can never afford to not have in stock. Grab a sheet of paper and write those items down. Across the top of the sheet put the date you want the count done. Then put someone else in charge of counting those items every week. Do not do it yourself. You will have the info you need to stay on top of those items.
- Pay attention to your raving fans— Most retailers don't have a marketing plan laid out, but every retailer must spend 20 percent of their time marketing – one day a week. A great way to market is to email your fans every week. Every new client I get complains about that and is worried that it is too much, but when they do it, they see that open rates rarely drop much at all. You will have a few more unsubscribers, but that is fine because you only want to talk to people who want to listen. In these emails, you should give them a G.I.F.T. — Genuine Information For Them. That doesn't mean you are always pushing a sale. You know what your fans like and what is important to them — include that in the emails. If you are a women’s fashion store, tell them the latest trends, the hottest colors and also what are the trendy haircuts and greatest shoes – even if you don’t sell shoes. The point is to give them information that they want and care about. That is why the open rates stay so high.
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