t’s all about the customer experience
By: Leah Virzi
Working in retail. Some people love it, and some people hate it. It all depends on the type of store you are running and the experience you are willing to provide to your customers. Regardless of your situation, funding can always give your store an extra boost. But what exactly is available to you and what can you use it for? There are so many ways you can use funding to improve the quality of your business, which will bring in more customers and increase your monthly revenue.
Inventory! How much is too much?
The cost of restocking inventory heavily relies on the brands you are ordering, the type of merchandise you are selling, the size of the order, how much is being ordered, and shipping insurance. When calculating these costs, you can be looking at thousands of dollars in inventory expenses, alone. This can be easily covered with a line of credit or with a short-term loan. With those types of funding options available, you can pay the loan off within a few months, within the year, or up to two years, if necessary. The time that is allotted to pay back these types of loans aligns well with the rate at which the seasons and fashion trends change.
Upon the event of ordering too much, you may not know what to do with your left-over merchandise. When you experience merchandise overflow, not generating enough revenue to repay your loan will cause you to lose money and fall deeper into debt. To make up for this loss, you can sell the merchandise to warehouse stores or websites that make great use of left over inventory. You could also sell the items online from your own website or account on resale websites, or you could donate the clothes to a charity. Donating the clothes may seem like the worst idea, but in this event, you can use it to your advantage. People really like companies that give back to the community, so if you are able to market your charity donations, that could bring in business, ultimately making you more money in the long run.
People like pretty things: Build a strong website/app.
Humans have a natural tendency to stare longer at things that are more appealing to the eye. With that being said, having an attractive website or app can help your business flourish. The best way to improve your cyber presence is to have interactive links, designs, and different tabs that make it easy for customers to navigate and find things in similar ways they would in your store. Some app developers and website builders can charge anywhere from a few hundred dollars, to a couple thousand. Take advantage of a short-term loan or line of credit to fund the building of an app or website. Both of these options allow you to take out funds, fast, almost anytime you need them, and they are specifically designed to be less expensive. The easier and more attractive your website or app may be, the more money you can make purely off online sales.
Show off and advertise your business.
Surprisingly, a lot of people do not understand how beneficial it can be to boost a post on Facebook or promote a tweet on Twitter. Take advantage of advertisements so you can show off your new website, promote people to download your app, or even let people know you are having a sale this week. If you are promoting your posts every day, making commercials, or planning out your ads for the newspaper, you will end up paying quite a bit of money. Run sales or advertise around holidays when customers are more—or less—likely to shop. These costs, much like those for building your website/ app, will be upwards of a few hundred to few thousand dollars. The perfect funding solutions are a short-term loan or line of credit. They’re short term, fast cash, and easily accessible.
Time is precious: Update those slow credit card machines.
This may not be the first thing you would think of when looking at ways to improve your business with funding, but this is something you need to consider. Credit card machines can be costly, especially if you have multiple stores. This is when looking into equipment financing can be beneficial, even for a retail business. People really like using the chip or just tapping their phone or credit card on the screen, because it is more convenient—and let’s be honest—somewhat fun. People will indeed avoid shopping at stores with slow credit card machines, especially if they are in a rush.
Floor sets: Keep up with what’s cool.
To successfully sell your merchandise, you need to expertly display it. Since trends change so quickly, stay up to date and change these displays at least once or twice per month; possibly more often depending on your audience. Use clean looking mannequins, display your items in a unique fashion on different shelves, or hang them up for customers to get a standing view. According to Business.com, a mannequin can cost anywhere from $50 to $500, which can add up if you are looking to purchase multiple mannequins, as well as multiple shelves and racks. With that being said, floor sets can cost as much (or more than) the credit card machines, advertisements, and website/ app, alone. To take care of this cost, consider a short-term or medium-term loan. Both types of loans allow you to take out as much money as you need, the choice is just a matter as to how quickly—or slowly—you plan on paying your loan back.
Give your store a facelift! Or try expanding to reach a larger audience.
The classic idea you get in your head when you ask yourself, “why do I need to take out a loan for my business?” You probably assume that the same shop you have had for years is an inviting and great place for your customers to shop, but if you store looks worn down, it may drive customers away, regardless of any sale you have going. Applying for a medium-term loan can provide the funds for a renovation that is $10,000 or more, and while a short-term loan can do the same, you do have a bit more time to pay off this possibly larger sum of money. With this money, you can replace flooring, ceilings, lighting, and so much more.
With these suggestions, you can give your retail store that extra push it needs to thrive in your community. Taking advantage of improving the way customers interact online and in person will pay off and lead you to greater success, overall.