Reuters recently reported that June’s retails sales numbers are the “latest sign of a slowdown in economic growth.” According to the article, “retail sales increased 0.4 percent in June, lifted by demand for automobiles and higher gasoline prices.” This increase is less than economists had originally predicted.
These numbers are worrying, but they’re not going to last forever. Reuters finishes its piece by letting readers know that economists are optimistic about the slowdown and expect that improvement in retail sales should improve soon. Still, how can retail sales establishments keep ahead while things are slow?
These 4 tips are designed to help businesses improve their economic standing, while things are slow in the retail sales world.
1. Motivate Your Staff
Debbie Allen, an award-winning business and brand specialist, recommends keeping yourself and your employees in a positive mindset, no matter how much business has slowed down. Allen says, “When you encourage a positive atmosphere with enthusiasm it is contagious.”
A happy, motivated staff is going to spread their positive emotions to your happy customers. This is going to result in more profits for your business, even during the dark days of an economic downturn. Because you’re already slow, this is the perfect time to work on sales tactics and employee relationships. Allen says to focus on the following changes, in order to get the most from your employees:
· Offer more flexible hours
· Encourage creativity
· Be open, not intimidating
· Have fun
2. Budget Wisely
During slow times, you want to be strict with your money. Now is not the time to make frivolous purchases. Instead, focus only on buying what you need and saving extra money for a rainy day. This does not mean forgoing necessary purchases because you’re afraid of the consequences. For instance, if your business requires a new freezer to function, get the new freezer!
It may be a good idea to search online for new business credit cards. You’ll be able to compare cards and find one that offers rewards, a quality repayment plan, low interest rates and more. Finding the right credit card can actually help you make those necessary purchases during a low-sales period.
3. Don’t Make the Mistake of Spending More on Advertising
Young couples are told to eliminate extra spending, save more and cut out extra spending whenever they’re saving for something big. This is sound advice, but for some reason it’s not always followed by retail establishments. You can’t throw money at a problem, especially when the problem is that there is not enough money.
Instead of spending more on advertising, why not try to improve relationships with your loyal customers? Direct marketing is better than spending a small fortune on TV, radio and magazine ad placements. Plus, it may inspire your regular customers to return more often.
Start your direct marketing initiative, by trying any one of these free or low-cost alternatives to traditional advertising:
· Conduct an email or direct mail campaign.
· Hold an invitation only sale event for your best customers.
· Collect customer information by having the sign up for rewards cards or join your mailing lists.
· Offer coupons and rewards points.
4. Know What to Do with Slow-Moving Product
Finally, it’s important that you don’t hold onto products that just aren’t selling. Instead, get rid of them and get some more in-demand items in your store. These are our suggestions for recouping your losses and expediting your slow-moving merchandise:
· Have a close-out sale.
· Check the trade-back agreement to determine if the supplier will exchange the product for a better selling item.
· Place sale items in noticeably places, like windows and near the register.
The retail world can be a difficult in which to thrive. However, with the right frugality, wisdom, and positive attitude, you can keep all concerned protected whenever you find yourself in some rough financial times. Don’t let a ” bad economy” be your excuse for losing money – learn to adapt, and stay ahead of the game.
Rachel Matthews is a freelance writer with a background in personal finance who most enjoys writing about current events.