Attract More Customers

How Innovating Your Retail Business and Attract More Customers

How Innovating Your Retail Business and Attract More Customers - Image.jpg

No retail business can afford to stand still, and in this fast-paced sector, those who set the standards pride themselves on their ability to track and anticipate the constantly changing needs of their customers.

So if you’re looking to run a retail enterprise which is up-to-date and right in the public eye, here’s a few fresh ideas on things you might try to innovate your business in order to meet these new customer demands. 

Use a-commerce to streamline the purchase journey

Automated commerce (a-commerce) is a trending development presently being trialled by retailers such as Amazon. Using a combination of cutting-edge techniques such as artificial intelligence and sensor fusion technologies, Amazon Go retail stores have revolutionised the customer purchase experience. In a move designed to blur the distinction between online shopping and a physical retail purchase, Amazon Go customers can visit a store to collect items they purchase via an Amazon Go app.

For the customer, that means shopping without in-store queues or passing through checkouts. So, if you could develop similar ways to eliminate the time-wasting elements of shopping, you could attract customers by offering them enhanced convenience.

Autonomous shopping trolleys 

Some Chinese supermarkets have rung the changes with what are essentially smart shopping trolleys. Rather than push or drag trolleys and baskets around the store, supermarket customers can enjoy the luxury of having their own dedicated trolley. The advantages? This smart device is happy to follow customers as they walk around the store. 

That means your customers could enjoy truly hands-free shopping. And that could be a bonus for parents with young children, older customers and those suffering disabilities – in fact, anyone who would welcome the freedom of not having to shop while simultaneously pulling a trolley.

Initial-phase shopping via mobile devices

More and more people own a smartphone or tablet and many potential customers use such devices to research purchases in much the same way they once walked around a retail store. So, is your own small business retail outlet set up to take advantage of this trend?

Many customers will want mobile access to background data covering everything from prices to sizes, specifications, stock availability and more. They will also value the opportunity to read impartial reviews, make comparisons and perhaps arrange in-store reservations, as well as having the chance to pre-pay via a dedicated app.

Any business able to offer even some of these conveniences makes life easier for customers, who will be quick to take advantage.

Brand interaction

Today’s retail brands are constantly seeking new ways in which customers can interact with their brand. Since becoming more mainstream, VR (virtual reality) technology has proved itself extremely valuable in the retail sector.

Some car showrooms offer customers a variety of VR experiences from driving to exploring the impact of custom configurations and more. Retailers of beauty products, for instance, can allow customers to upload an image of their face. Once this is done, different products and treatments can be (virtually) applied, allowing the customer to experience potential transformations before any products are purchased, or even applied.

Similar developments with spectacle frames, home furnishings, household appliances and more have all proved very effective in attracting new customers.

Brand culture

Some retailers have always followed this approach: For example, you will have noticed expensive surf boards are likely to be sold by tanned surfers, high-quality musical instruments by experienced musicians. But many contemporary retailers increasingly understand that customers expect a brand to offer more than just the opportunity to buy a product. 

It is often businesses who source sustainable materials, use ‘green’ manufacturing techniques, and provide eco-friendly facilities to recycle their products once the goods reach the end of their lifespan, who are more likely to gain new customers.

Generally, this is because younger consumers in particular prefer to ‘buy into’ businesses prepared to demonstrate the values they identify with. 

How inclusive is your offer?

You may currently sell a range of products which perhaps have a limited appeal. But with a little thought, you may be able to take these product ideas (sometimes in modified form) to other groups outside your current target audience.

For example, as a smartphone retailer, do you stock models more-suitable for those with impaired vision? And are you familiar with the range of enabling technologies such phones offer, making them a godsend to those with many different kinds of impairment?

And elsewhere, do you, for instance, offer budget- or near alternatives at a more affordable price? Yet another way to extend the appeal and reach of your successful products, and thus to broaden your market.

By Bruce Hakutizwi, Director of North America for, the world’s largest online marketplace for buying and selling small and medium size businesses.

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Issue 83


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