According to the article “11 Tips to Save Your Retail Business from Extinction,” by contributor Annie Pilon on www.smallbiztrends.com, recent news has shown several well-known retail businesses having to lay workers off, close stores and even shut down. Despite this grim outlook for the retail industry, Pilon notes that if you can make your business stand out in certain critical areas, it will have better chances of surviving. As such, she provides 11 tips from analyst Brian Solis on how to keep your retail business from folding:

  • Consider trends from the customer perspective. Take into account new trends and technology, but do so from a customer’s perspective. Will a new trend heighten the customer experience or make it easier for your consumers?
  • Cater to convenience. Today’s consumers want to make purchases as easily and conveniently as possible. Find out ways to streamline your purchasing process.
  • Provide the better customer experience. Sometimes the difference between two competing companies comes down only to the customer experience. This isn’t just about customer service but about the entire consumer experience at the business. Compete with other companies by making your customer experience stand out.
  • Analyze your payment options. New methods of payment are gaining traction with customers. By having your business accept all forms of payment, you eliminate hassle for your consumers.
  • Utilize social media. The new term “social commerce” combines social media and shopping. You can use social media to increase business by encouraging users to post reviews and share their experiences online.
  • Build trust with customers. Keep your company transparent and interact genuinely with customers online and in person. Use reviews and referrals to build even more trust.
  • Use showrooming and webrooming. Especially for the carwash businesses that also sell products, it’s important to post information and prices about your products online in addition to displaying them at the physical store. Showrooming is when customers come to your store to research a product but then look for it cheaper online. Webrooming is when customers research a product online but then come to your store to buy it immediately. Both ways of shopping are popular for different customers, so it’s important to provide an outlet where both options are available.
  • Consider online shopping habits. As most consumers are now familiar with online shopping, consider how you can implement it in your business.
  • Embrace mobile technology. Many consumers are relying heavily on their mobile devices for information. Using today’s technology, you can gather data and better communicate with those mobile users.
  • Keep informed about new competition. With technology constantly evolving in today’s world, you need to be on the lookout not only for this new tech but also for new forms of competition that are using this technology.
  • Revisit your site. It’s not enough to simply install new technology at your business. Consider your site and, starting from scratch, determine how to create the best possible customer experience.

Read the full article here.