Working in Retail Sucks

images (35)Anyone who is working in retail knows what a pain it can be, and how little compensation you receive for all the trouble and abuse you have to take. For starters, you usually only make minimum wage, which has not been a cost of living salary for about the past 50 years. That means that not only do you have to put up with one retail job, you most likely have to hold down more than one at the same time.

That means you experience twice as much abuse at the hands of disrespectful and demanding customers as well as incompetent managers and bosses who have no idea what they’re doing. Many of the managers in retail had absolutely no managerial experience before being put into that role, and it is often the case that they manage more from a place of ego that from a strategic or effective perspective. Even though their responsibilities are so insignificant, they have an inflated view of their position and their titles – and they feel like it is their big chance to lord it over all of their fellow employees. Most of them are focused not on how to efficiently and effectively run a business, but on how to ingratiate themselves to the owners by kissing-up to them.

Worse still, you may have a manager who is also the owner. These owner-operators of small businesses are particularly prone to putting their own interests ahead of the interests of their employees. The way they see it, the goal is to get the most work they can get out of an employee for the least amount of wages. Retail sucks because oftentimes your own boss will try to cheat you out of the hours you worked, or will have you come in early or stay late, without compensating you fairly with overtime pay. Not only do they not pay actual overtime wages, but they expect you to be on call even when you are off the clock. They’ll call and email you at night and on weekends, for example, or make you pick up a shift or part of a shift on short notice. Even if you have to come into work for only an hour or two – which is not worth it if you are earning minimum wage – that can be enough to disrupt your whole day and whatever personal plans you may have made.

Last but not least, there are the customers, who may be the biggest reason that having to work in retail sucks. So many of them feel completely entitled, just because they are spending a little money or flashing their credit card. They will blame you if what they purchased didn’t work, doesn’t fit, or isn’t in stock – even though you have nothing to do with any of that. They’ll curse at you over the phone, scream at you abusively in person in front of the whole store, or report you to your manager just because they are having a bad day – or just because they know they can get away with it. They’ll hold up a long line just so they can recheck the cash register receipt or because they were too spaced-out to bring enough money to pay for everything in their shopping cart. They’ll badger you because you won’t accept their expired coupons, and they’ll act indignant if you don’t take all that abuse with a fake smile on your face.



Basic Tips For Setting Up A Successful Retail Business

download (32)If you are in a retail business and looking for ways to capture the market, there are a few principles that you need to put in place to endear yourself to the clients. You can ask for the help of professional marketing service providers, in devising the best strategies for your business.

Understand your clients and the needs for which they seek your products. Determine how your products serve the need that your clients have. Focus on a particular area that you have the competence to serve effectively.

The foundation of effective retail business is built on the four Ps that include price, place, product, and promotion. As for the product, create a product range that not only satisfies the clients but also delivers a profit.

Determine the best price in the marketing mix that meets the needs of your business and does not make the customers feel as if you are ripping them off. There is no low or high price as the pricing depends on the value that the customers place on your products.

The visibility of your products is important if the customers are to buy. This is why it is important to be in the right place and at the right time. For example, packed food should be in stores where the clients buy their groceries or household goods. On the other hand, when selling online, create a presence on sites frequented by the potential customers to get high visibility.

Once you have identified the clients, developed a good product, and priced it conveniently, you need to tell the clients about your products. Promotion involves such activities as branding, advertising, giving free samples, and merchandising. Choose the channels that would reach your clients in the best way possible. You may enlist the help of a marketing agency to help spread the firm.

Go an extra mile to delight your clients. Strive to deliver a world-class customer service to deliver more than what you promise. A wonder customer experience keeps the customer coming back for more. If combined with the right solutions, it is one of the best ways to beat the competition.


Are You The Right Wholesaler For Your Customers?

download (31)First of all, you have to make sure that you look at genuine wholesalers. There are also three main types of legitimate wholesalers:

• Some deal with goods that are damaged, used or are wholesale surplus.

• Others deal with normal forms of merchandise.

• Still others deal with goods that are fake or counterfeit.

Which wholesaler you choose depends on your preferences and how much profit you would like to make in the long run.

Dealing With Wholesalers

When you know what kind of goods you want to deal with you can negotiate prices. There are a number of tips you can follow in order to make the most money out of your deals:

• Take time to research all wholesalers. The Internet is a great source of good suppliers but at the same time, it is also bad. Check out reviews and forums. eBay suppliers tend to have ratings which can be useful guides.

• Generally, you will not pay less than 30% to 35% of the retail price if your merchandise is new. The only way you’ll get around this is if you purchase bulk orders.

• If you want to get a good discount then buy in bulk. However, if you’ve decided to purchase wholesale lots, damaged, surplus or counterfeit goods, you’ll get the best discounts by far. If you’ve opted for the latter, then always take the time to check out the product beforehand.

• Never pay in advance. This is an easy way bad companies scam people. When first trying wholesalers out, this is not a good option. However, if you don’t have a choice, then don’t purchase a large quantity if at all possible. Alternatively, use PayPal: this company only allows the seller to receive the money once you, as the buyer, inform them to do so. In other words, once you have been able to check the product. This system allows both you and the seller to relax more with the transaction. There are still dangers surrounding this, however, so you should still be as cautious as you can.

Finding good wholesalers isn’t an impossible task. But, just as you don’t want to be the victim of a scam or untrustworthy business, so they don’t either. Therefore, if you deal fairly with them, they will generally reflect this back to you. However, always be cautious and make use of vehicles such as wholesaler forums to keep up-to-date with the latest issues and reviews.

Bhupesh Patel is an SEO Consultant & Expert with 8 years of experience in digital marketing. He writes articles, blogs, testimonials and classifieds for his own interest. He is a regular contributor on various domains like retails, wholesalers, digital Marketing, fashion, beauty, software, technology, Entertainment and others.


How To Grow Your Retail Business In A Highly Competitive Market

download (28)Surviving as a retail store owner is not without its challenges. Companies in this industry have to go beyond merely offering quality products at reasonable prices. They also need to have strategies in place that allow them to consistently stand out from their competition. This is one of the most competitive fields out there. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to build a robust customer base and keep your clients engaged.

Use online marketing tools to share valuable information. Help your clients and prospective clients navigate the purchasing process by giving them the information they need to make knowledgeable buying decisions. Transparency in product pricing is also a great way to explain why you charge a bit more than your closest competitors. Consumers respect efforts on the part of businesses to place quality before economy.

Capitalize on the general tendency to make impulse purchasing decisions. Learn more about your regular customers and their buying habits. Find out which offers and virtual or physical displays make people want to act right away and then use these as often as you possibly can.

Incite a sense of urgency in your regular clients through social media posts, email marketing campaigns and other forms of outreach. Giving deals a time limit and then letting your clients know that these limits exist will make them afraid to miss out. If using email transmissions to incite urgency, make sure that the most important information is readily available in your subject lines so that these messages are not ignored or overlooked.

Discuss trending topics on social media platforms and then relate them back to you business. Stay abreast of current news events and create personable, informed posts on these issues. You can even offer to donate a small percentage of your short-term sales to local causes that are of a special interest to your primary market. Not only will this increase consumer trust, but it will also increase your sales and foster greater goodwill for your brand.

Make a continuous effort to review and refresh you retail marketing strategy as the needs and interests of your targeted market change. Strategies that worked excellently in the past are not guaranteed to provide the same results into the future. Taking stock of the different forms of outreach that they use and tweaking your efforts to better suit evolving needs will help you avoid waste, missed opportunities and efforts on the part of your competitors to usurp your dominant market position.



Making the Most of Your Retail Space

download (30)There are some differences in merchandising theory between the neighbourhood grocery store and the sporting goods store down the street. The fact remains that both are merchandised in the same way. Both use an organized and attractive layout to maximize each item’s sales potential. These merchandising principles used by major retailers are the same ideas you should follow. Why? Because they work.

It’s an old, often overused retail adage, but it’s true: “You can’t sell it if it’s in the stockroom.” Almost all people enjoy shopping for products in which they have an interest. Why not display products in an attractive way? Then customers can inspect, explore and, yes, even buy.

Floor and wall gondolas are the best merchandising fixtures to use in a retail outlet. A gondola is a freestanding fixture used by retailers to display merchandise. Gondolas typically consist of a flat base and a vertical component featuring notches, pegboards, or slatwalls. The vertical piece can be fitted with shelves, hooks, or other displays.

Your budget may not extend to purchasing new floor gondolas. There are used fixture outlets where many of the same fixturing needs can be bought for much less cost.

For those stores without space for the 8- to 10-foot long gondolas, the same merchandising displays can be set up and organized on wall pegboard.

Self-made wall pegboard is much less expensive. With a few basic materials and a hammer and screwdriver, you can have some decent-looking display boards.

Once your store is set up with the desired amount of floor and wall gondolas or wall pegboards, you can proceed to the next step.

All good merchandising begins with categorizing or segmentation of merchandise by its types. First you must determine the product categories you will stock and offer your customers.

Next, you categorize for the customers’ convenience. You have to make it easy for them to locate and select the specific product desired.

Placing merchandise in categories is nothing new. Department stores were born on the idea. Notice the pages of mass merchants’ advertising circulars are even segmented by category. Hardware items together, lingerie together, automotive accessories together, and so on.

Dual merchandising, presenting the same item in two different locations, is OK. It is a good idea if the product relates to several categories. Batteries show up in department stores in as many as half a dozen departments. (Toys, cameras, sporting goods, electronics, etc.) In a security store, a combination lock may be in the padlock section but also in the chain and cable area. They relate.

Without careful categorizing of merchandising, customers are guaranteed to get confused and frustrated. A scattered unorganized approach to the presentation will make them stop looking before they have a chance to get their wallets out.

Assuming you have plenty of merchandise in each of your basic categories, you are now ready to place them before your customers. Remember, sound merchandise placement sells products. This practice is critical for any retail store.

Your best-selling items should take up prominent locations on the gondolas. These should face either the customers’ counter/register or be in plain view when visitors walk in the store. Some consider this area the “impulse item” region. You will find that these items will sell better if the customers see what you have that they don’t.

Finally, glass cases are great and a must in selling jewelry or cosmetics. They are attractive and effective when selling expensive gadgets, electronics and the like.



Pros and Cons of Buying Wholesale

download (29)Wholesalers are responsible for purchasing goods direct from manufactures in large volume and selling to distributors, retailers, and others in smaller volumes. Buying in bulk is the most cost-effective method to fill the store shelves with the preferred merchandise. Here are several pros and cons of buying wholesale products:


Low-cost: The ability to buy from local or foreign wholesalers means it is possible for traders to pay a lot less than would otherwise be expected if buying individual items. To get the best prices it is necessary to buy in bulk. The wholesalers are rarely willing to sell a small number or single items to members of the trader or consumers.

Easy to use: Retailers prefer the simplicity of buying wholesale because it is possible to shop for a wide range of products at a single destination. Wholesalers have the ability to stock products from multiple manufacturers which makes it easier to choose the right goods to match the specific needs. Plus, shopping from one location makes it possible to save a lot of time by not having to keep traveling to different shops.

Negotiate the price: Wholesalers are likely to be agreeable to negotiate the most attractive price for those traders that visit often. This has the benefit of helping both the wholesaler and trader by bringing in a regular customer while also providing the most appealing prices to the regular buyers.

Shipping: Most of the large wholesale centers provide a shipping service for larger orders. Even though this might involve a small charge it is still a convenient option for those businesses that don’t have regular access to suitable transportation.


Storage space: If a trader is planning to buy in large volume it is essential to have enough storage space to keep the goods until sold. For those without enough on-site storage space it might be necessary to use rented space which will add to the overall business costs.

Online sellers: Not all wholesale centers are willing to work with the smaller online traders. This means the most attractive deals are only available to the large outfits or established retailers.

High investment: Before being in a position to buy in bulk it is necessary for the buyer to have substantial capital saved up. Most wholesalers have a minimum order limit in place to make sure goods are purchased in volume, which might present a problem for the small startup company that is just getting into the retail business.


Create A Business That People Never Desire To Leave

images (27)The first answer in building a successful store remains what makes your products superior to those of the other companies who sell the same items or services. Chances are, the answer is nothing. However, implementing ideas to gain customers changes their world forever, and they will never leave if they prefer your store over all the rest. With that in mind, let’s address a few ideas that create your brand from strategy to storefront.

Give, give, give! Special deals signify typical efforts of giving customers a reason to visit, though all businesses do the same thing, it comes across as nothing innovative. Design store-wide events related to the items of interest the people in your community. A newsworthy event gets attention when linked to customer desires, and motivates them to investigate the situation to satisfy their curiosity.

If properly planned, minor events also bring in traffic. If your products are marine related, hold an event where one of the instructors demonstrates step-by-step how to use and wear scuba gear correctly. Run a parallel promotion with it of several free lessons with the purchase of a diving suit and limit it to the first ten people to sign in at the door.

Research becomes your friend. The Internet provides a magnificent place to find out almost anything a person needs to comprehend, but when it comes to marketing shop your competition. Your mind must stay tuned into seeing and hearing the significant keywords related to your business and find out exactly what the gimmick is, even if it means in person investigation. Remain aware of the products related to your primary focus as they often provide a minor event idea.

Never underestimate the power of the Internet. Mobile devices offer apps that assist in the shopping for people who are driving around and already near your store. Secure the advantages of popular shopping apps that work on postal codes and tuck in an engaging coupon valid online through the app with an expiration date limited to a few hours. Experiment with “For the next 12 hours”, “Good only through lunchtime”, or “This weekend, only”.


How To Build A Strong And Infallible Brand In The Retail Industry

images (26)Aspiring entrepreneurs have discovered that there is no better way to make money than by catering directly to the needs of consumers. People love to shop and they constantly have needs that must be met. If you plan on opening up a business that offers services and products for fees, however, there are several things that you need to do to ensure the success of your brand.

Set yourself apart from your competitors by offering products that are truly unique. This is vital for ensuring that you maintain you competitive edge. Many company owners align themselves with the cheapest suppliers when starting out, only to find that there are countless other people offering the exact same goods and often at even lower prices. Take stock of the items that are selling in other local stores before defining and building your inventory.

Connect with your consumers online so that your goods are the first items they think of when shopping to meet needs. Using the web to interact with consumers will build a personable, recognizable brand and keep you fresh in the minds of your customers. This is something that you can do by creating socially networking profiles and posting about new inventory additions, recent and trending events and forthcoming sales.

Align yourself with reputable, reliable suppliers overseas who can help you build a massive inventory at an affordable cost. Although price shouldn’t be your foremost concern, it is still key to maximizing your profits. A good supplier can also handle all dealings with customs on your behalf so that your shipments are never unnecessarily delayed.

Create a blog for your company that both educates consumers and incites them to action. This will establish the voice of your brand. It can be used to answer the questions that people commonly have when navigating the purchasing process. You can write posts to educate people on important changes in your industry or you can share the best troubleshooting and maintenance practices for preserving the value of their purchases. These efforts will build both trust and goodwill for your organization.

It is also a good idea to align yourself with a trusted retail marketing agency. These companies can assist you in building a plan for promoting your business that uses all forms of media to significantly increase your exposure. Best of all, they can help you gain the recognition and attention you need for meeting your goals without your having to spend beyond your marketing budget.



Ethical Sourcing – A Must-Have For Retailers

download (25)The millennial customers, besides being dominant in purchasing goods, also care about the company’s social values — its social responsibility, sustainability and ethics.

Previously, consumers would be satisfied with only the end-products. But not anymore. Today, they want to make sure that the products are ethically sourced. They even go as far as looking at the conditions of workers in the factories. The consumers today are gauging retailers on many parameters, like sympathetic labour practices, community involvement, ethical dealings with vendors, humane treatment of animals among others.

Henceforth, if a business wants to win the hearts of customers, then they have to get rid of the ‘corporate hypocrisy’, that corresponds to discrepancies in words and deeds. Customers are always on the look-out for such “inside information”, as getting any kind of information these days is just a ‘Google Search’ away.

Proliferation of social media is a powerful tool that easily identifies the company from their words and deeds. This kind of customer inquisitiveness is the latest thing, as study on consumer habits suggest that consumers are demanding that the companies should value the interests of the society at least and have some sense of responsibility towards the societal interest and wellbeing.

The global marketplace demands the business world to lend importance to value over the fiscal imperatives, where they should try to emulate Starbucks that spends more than it needs to spend on coffee beans to buy only the most ethically sourced beans, and H&M, the brand has recently claimed to have 100 per cent ethically sourced down products in their collection this year.

There are many cases in which consumers have shunned retailers just by their concern about their factory production.

The most-celebrated case is of Nike. The brand had insisted that labour conditions in its contractors’ factories were not its responsibility — a statement for which the Nike factories suddenly came under attack and the brand was sullied disastrously for malpractices within its factory that included child labour. On seeing the sharp decline in its revenue, the brand took a re-formative step in the form of a collaborative approach by drafting a code-sharing workplace and best human resource practices.


Convenience Store Digital Coupons

images (25)Why has the affiliate couponing industry abandoned the convenience store industry? If you dig deeper into any affiliate coupon program (retailmenot.com, coupon.com) you will find that there are not many if any coupons available for convenience stores. It seems like there is a disconnect between the coupon affiliates and the convenience store industry. If you consider how much money is at stake it does not make any sense. $1 out of every $24 dollars is spent in this country in a convenience store. So why has the coupon affiliates abandoned this channel?

I think one of the problems is the sheer number of convenience stores. There are 154,195 convenience stores in the U.S. as of December, 2015 (NACS/Nielsen) and the site counts keep growing every year. Another possible problem could be the fragmentation of the industry. There are many regional players and only a handful of national players. Another problem is probably the speed of the transaction. We have all been in line at the grocery store and had that lady in front of us pulling a bunch of coupons out of her little pouch bag which simply slows down the transaction time at the register. That is not good for the convenience store. The average time it takes for someone to get in and out with a purchase at a convenience store is 3 minutes and 33 seconds (NACS). However, with the advent of the smartphone it becomes a lot easier to use a coupon. Digital couponing is basically changing the way we save money at the convenience store. The usage trend of all retail store coupons is definitely in an upward trajectory and it doesn’t look like it is going to slow down any time soon. Convenience stores account for 34.2% of all retail outlets in the United States (NACS). There is no other U.S. retail channel that is such an important part of virtually every community in the country and that is reflected in the overall dollar sales of the industry at $696.1 billion. Those sales represent about 4.1% of the entire estimated $17.7 trillion U.S. gross domestic product.

I think there is a marriage of sorts going on with convenience store coupons and the smartphone. It is estimated that upwards of 5% of sales transactions within the store will include a digital coupon of some sort by the year 2019 (Gasbuddy.com). It is predicted that there will be around 1.05 billion global mobile coupon users in the world by 2019. With the ease of use the GPS location features on smartphones and push technology getting better by the day it is no wonder why store coupon usage on your smartphone is on the rise. Digital coupon redemption is roughly 10% right now. While the old fashion print or paper coupons have a redemption rate of 1% or less. 90% of digital coupon users redeem their coupons within just a few days of receiving them on their phones. One would think that the redemption speed will only increase for the convenience customer and redeem them sooner. It’s all about speed of the transaction in this retail space.