Retail Refresh: How to Update Your Business and Stay Ahead of the Curve
Staying in one place is all too easy as a retail business owner. After years of a retail routine, old habits become enshrined and the sharp edges presented by fundamental problems in a business plan seem to dull with success. But what if the successes of today are only a shadow of what they could be? What if your retail business is stuck in a rut and you don't even know it?
It might not be easy to answer those questions, simply because it's often hard to see how you can drastically improve your business when you are totally focused on the day-to-day. But with a little patience and forethought, you can identify whether your retail business needs a refresh, and, if so, how to go about updating it. Here's how.
Look at the Competition
Your retail competitors can serve as an excellent measuring stick to help you determine if you need to make some updates. Do some research on your competition, locally and nationally. Check out their website, explore their offerings, and even do a little mystery shopping if feasible. You may find the inspiration you need to upgrade your own retail business plan.
Beyond just finding out what your competitors do well, you can also identify problems with their shopping experience. Examining flaws in their experience could help you shore up weaknesses in your own. What matters most here is that you take away the positives and focus on what you can realistically do to close any gaps.
How can you know the best way to refresh your business if you don't seek out feedback from the people such an update will impact the most? Before you make any moves, conduct customer surveys to see what the people who fuel your success want to see from your business. While you're at it, survey your own team members to find out the same. Making updates to your business without the right guiding information is like flying without instruments; it's not ideal, and could be risky.
Evaluate Your Tools
The tools and technology your retail team use every day have a critical influence on your business's level of success. If your technology is outdated, chances are you have serious process gaps that need to be addressed.
Your consumer finance program is one area where you can't afford to be lax. Rather than sticking with outdated software, you should explore a true consumer finance automation solution like FormPiper, that will streamline the application process, provide detailed, convenient reporting, and make your customers feel right at home throughout the financing process.
The investments you make in your tools today will pay big dividends tomorrow. It's a key part of your retail refresh and a great first step in ensuring your business stays ahead of the curve and remains competitive for many years to come.