The retail world is a cutthroat industry, and business owners are constantly looking for new ways to get a leg up on their competitors. It’s hard enough competing against major brands like Amazon and Walmart. While it may seem impossible, your small business has a few significant advantages over these retail giants. Here are some tips to help you compete, presented by Complete Care Maintenance.
Make the Right Real Estate Decisions
If you operate out of a brick-and-mortar store, the location of your storefront will play a crucial role in your ability to attract customers. The perfect location for your business includes a good balance of visibility and affordability. Try not to give up one for the other! Evaluating an area for retail space is a complex process, so if you’re not sure where to start, it’s best to seek advice from a professional who’s done this before, whether you’re looking to lease, buy, or build your store.
Streamline Order Fulfillment
Big-box companies have so many customers that they can afford to lose a few to service issues and shipping delays. You can’t. Keeping your customers happy should be your top priority! You might even be able to attract some dissatisfied customers from those major retailers by offering a better shopping experience and faster order fulfillment.
Ensure your customers receive their orders quickly by developing an effective order fulfillment system. Your fulfillment strategy should include the use of collaborative tools to stay in touch with your suppliers and a good inventory management system to ensure you have the right products when and where you need them.
Payroll is another major operational task that must be taken early on. It’s one of the most time-consuming items to check off on a frequent basis. A smart move is to automate with time tracking software, which allows for employees to check their schedules and clock in and out with a click. This software may also allow you to create, change and approve scheduling and track employee times from your smartphone, laptop or desktop. Last but not least, payroll software can help you file your payroll taxes, which is something all business owners need to pay close attention to (if you’re new to the world of payroll and payroll taxes, Zenbusiness offers a comprehensive guide for new business owners).
Delegate to Free Up Time
There’s only so much time in the day, and as a small business owner, you have to make the most of it. As Crowdspring points out, delegating mundane and specialty tasks to freelancers is a great way to free up time so you can work on bigger projects — including those that will help you compete against big brands. You can hire freelancers or agencies to handle all kinds of tasks, from data entry to bookkeeping to administrative tasks. For example, you can find virtual receptionist agencies through online job boards and vet candidates based on their experience and qualifications and how much they charge.
Boost Your Online Presence
The online visibility of your business is just as important as the location of your brick-and-mortar store. If customers can’t find your business online, there’s a good chance they’ll buy from one of your bigger competitors instead. Work on boosting your web presence so your company appears at the top of local search results. Most importantly, make sure your customers can find the information they’re looking for online, including your store hours, product availability, location, and contact information.
Include attractive images on your site that tell a story about what your business is about. Use an online remove background tool that allows you to place your images into a completely new design or environment.
Look Professional and Provide Great Service
Major retailers fall victim to common customer service issues that cost them many customers every day. For example, big companies often take too long to respond to customers, offer cookie-cutter answers to inquiries, or transfer customers from rep to rep without providing a clear solution to their issues. Due to your smaller size, you can spend more time catering to your customers’ needs, offering a stellar customer service approach that goes above and beyond that of your competitors. Research cited by Help Scout shows that the number one reason customers switch brands is feeling underappreciated.
Of course, customer service also extends to the way your business looks to the public. If your business is dirty or disorganized, customers won’t walk away feeling very good about your products or services. To ensure your business stays clean, work with a commercial cleaning company like Complete Care Maintenance that can keep you looking professional.
Small business owners often feel like their growth is limited by the presence of big box stores and e-commerce giants, but this is far from true. There are several ways to thrive as a small business owner, even if those major brands seem to be getting bigger every day. Take advantage of your small business strengths — as well as the digital tools and services available to you — and you’ll have more than a fighting chance!