In a world where you can order almost anything you want with the touch of a button, the good old-fashioned world of brick-and-mortar retail stores seems to have been largely forgotten. While you no doubt have a band of loyal customers – you might still feel like you’re being left behind.
This is just one of a laundry list of problems you’re likely to face daily as a retail business owner. Solving these will be crucial to the long-term prosperity or even the very existence of your retail business.
Lack of passing trade
Maybe it’s because all the shops around you have closed down, or it might be that the local authority has increased parking charges so that people go to out-of-town malls instead, but you are likely to find as time goes on, fewer people are passing by your shop and just ‘popping in’.
How to solve it
Starting to sell online might seem like a very obvious answer, but exactly how you go about it might seem far from simple, especially if technical stuff isn’t your forte. However, if you list some of your normal retail products on platforms like Amazon and eBay, you won’t be alone. If you also want to set up your own website, then using a Shopify template can do most of the heavy lifting for you when listing your products.
Vandalism and youths loitering outside your store
Depending on where your store is, you may suffer from criminal damage to your property while the store is closed at night. This can mean having to delay opening in the day while repairs are carried out, which obviously affects your bottom line. You might even have the problem (if your store is close to a city centre) of groups of teens hanging around outside your shop. While they are probably not causing trouble, their presence will intimidate many people and they may choose not to come into your store.
How to solve it
You can use an electronic gadget to help stop vandalism as it emits an unpleasant sound at a frequency only audible to younger people. This is likely to make them uncomfortable and move them on to somewhere else instead of hanging around your store either while you’re open or closed at night.
It could be difficult to employ reliable full-time people due to a number of factors, including school or college commitments, sick children, or simply needing to find a higher paid job than retail in the current financial climate. This can leave you short-staffed, with nobody to man the checkout or fill the shelves.
How to solve it
Offer flexible shifts. You might not be able to employ full-time staff members, but you could try to employ several overlapping part-time people instead. They can cover each other in times of holiday or absence, as well as having a trusted employee filling the shelves in the evening after the stores closed might be a better solution.
To wrap everything up
In the digital age owning a traditional brick-and-mortar store is far from a walk in the park. However, by starting to sell your own products online and offering more flexible shifts to your staff, you can combat a lot of the common problems that business owners face in your position. Also, using non-confrontational subtle deterrents to keep undesirables away from your property can give you peace of mind that things are still safe while you’re not there.