5 Ideas for Helping Your Small Business Succeed
Competing with big retail or toy stores can be intimidating. But if you set up your store up just right, customers will flock to you. The key to succeeding as a small business is to differentiate yourself from the competition. Here we offer five ideas to help you succeed.
1. Dare to Be Different
When someone walks into your store, you want them to feel welcome. It starts by greeting every customer who walks in and offering your help if they want it. Customers usually appreciate the one-on-one attention that they don’t get at big retail stores. Having someone available to ask or help them find something is an easy way to differentiate yourself from big stores in your area. You can also offer free gift wrapping to wow your customers again when they leave your store.
But you don’t have to stop there. Unlike the big stores, you can let customers sample toys. Once they get to play with some of the toys you have, they’re not going to want to walk away without them. You can also draw a crowd by holding regular events or sidewalk sales to draw people inside.
Finally, when you notice how much a customer loves your store, encourage them to spread the word to their friends. Small businesses need all the word-of-mouth referrals they can get, and nobody will think less of you for asking for a referral directly.
2. Stock a Valuable Selection of Toys
You can’t compete with a big retailer on price. That’s just going to lead to bankruptcy on your end. Instead of focusing on pricing, you should offer value to your customers. You can do this by stocking high-quality toys and focusing on the customer experience in your store.
Your store should stock the toys that customers can’t find at big box stores. That includes many of the European Specialty toys we stock here at Hotaling Imports. Your customers may even spend hours browsing through your selection of toys, because many of them can’t be found elsewhere. You’ll also encourage customer to spend more when you offer collectible sets and toys, because they’ll keep coming back for more.
3. Set Up Promotions
The fact that your prices are probably higher than that of the competition, doesn’t mean you can’t offer specials or discounts to make your customers come back. You can set up an e-newsletter and encourage customers to sign up for future promotions when they purchase something from your store. You can also make a special offer for the customers who are following you on social media.
And while promotions are great for attracting business, that should never be the main focus of marketing for your store. Otherwise, you run the risk of only appealing to customers who are looking for discounts. Instead, you offer a valuable selection of toys and an unforgettable shopping experience.
4. Consider Selling Online
Your customers probably appreciate the atmosphere of shopping at your store. Nevertheless, some of them may prefer to make their purchases online for mere convenience’s sake. This allows them to order products from you outside of regular opening hours. And if they don’t want to pay for shipping, you can even let them pick up their order from your store. That gives you a chance to meet the customer and impress them with your beautiful toy selection and friendly service.
One key to selling online successfully is to under-promise and over-deliver. For example, if you give your customers shipping estimates that are on the high side, they’ll be pleasantly surprised when they get their items sooner. And if you want to avoid customers who are in a hurry, then don’t offer overnight shipping at all, because it tends to backfire and cause more hassle than it’s worth.
5. Give Social Media a Try
Everyone is using social media these days, so it makes sense for your business to have a social media presence. The great thing about social media is that it’s easy for people to spread the word about you. If you run an exciting promotion, customers might share it with friends that live in the area. If you have an advertising budget, then you should give Facebook ads a try, too. Here it helps to experiment, but Facebook has the unique option to let you advertise only to the people who live in your geographical area. To help people find you on social media, it’s a good idea to add the relevant information to your receipts, newsletters, and other marketing materials.