The retail landscape is changing dramatically and more and more shoppers are using smartphones, tablets, iPad’s to search for products, engage in-store and shop online. Consumers prefer to shop from stores that allow the most convenient and best shopping experience. Many retailers spend more time focusing in tangible factors that include inventory, printing and packing and shipping out products to customers. They are no doubt crucial factors to manage back-end operation but what many retailers overlook, the importance of intangible factors.
Intangible factors can be difficult to value, however it proves to be more profitable than actual tangible factors of the business. Unlike financial and physical ones, intangible factors are difficult to simulate – which automatically makes them powerful source of sustainable competitive advantage.
Below are important intangible factors you need to account for your retail business
For online retail business, it becomes very important that you store easily shows up in search results whenever an online shopper searches for a product/service relevant to your offerings. Implementing SEO tactics or hiring an expert will help you win the game.
For offline retail business, you need to ensure that your store location is easily accessible (for instance facing the main road) so that shoppers can easily spot and frequently visit it whenever they feel like shopping. Selecting your store’s location as per target audience, will make it easy for them to find and reach your store whenever they need to. Along the same line, ensure your store is neat, well-organized and maintained keeping in mind sales per square foot and sales per employee.
For online retail business, you need to account the amount of competition you will face. Now when we speak about competition, it means how competitive is the product/service you offer. For instance- if you sell on Amazon and selling products that have hundreds and thousands of competitors will make it difficult for you to stand-out. And, if you think of competing in price then you may end up making no profits.
For offline retail business, accounting the surroundings of your store will determine your success. Now when we speak about surroundings, it means any other store selling the same products/services will determine your customer base as well as profits. For instance, if you have a store dealing with clothing merchandize and in the same area there is an electronic showroom, is fine. However, another clothing store may create a rivalry situation.
3- Customer loyalty
For online retail business, retaining existing customers is the most cost-effective and easy way to attract new potential customers. Spending hundreds of dollar to attract new customer base may not bring in the returns on investments that you may be looking for, however adopting a customer loyalty strategy will help you make more in less.
For offline retail business, repeat clientele will be effective value drivers for your business. Implement a customer loyalty program that will offer existing customers a good experience who in turn will bring in a high volume of referred clientele creating a good value within the community and industry at large.
4- Customer support/experience
The most influencing factor that keeps your retail business going on, is customer experience. The more you keep them happy, the more they will shop from your site. For online retail business, offering a 24*7 customer support becomes important, if you want to live up to their expectations. Another, way to boost customer experience – track, analyze and target existing customers and consider customer retention strategies that will encourage them to always visit your site whenever they feel like shopping online.
For offline retail business, having an experienced sales representatives is crucial. You want every onlooker to visit your store and shop from it, you want all of them to spread your offerings amongst their friends and family, and want to grow your customer base day-by-day. To make this possible, you need to offer the best customer support to every visitor who steps in your store – regardless they purchase or not. Offering an engaging shopping experience to your customers will encourage them keep your store top amongst their favorite retail store.
5- Good employee relation
The way you treat your employees the same way they would treat your customers, therefore this intangible factor should be considered which has actually been overlooked by many.
For online retail business, bad experience from the courier person has been the major concern to customers. It is very important that all your staff is disciplined, knowledgeable and quick with the work they are assigned to do. Many online business owners tie up with leading carriers to perform shipments, therefore they do not have a direct contact with courier person. In such cases, it is advised to check and inquire ratings and reviews before investing. However, for any such complaints, you should directly inform your courier service and demand for a justification to avoid such incidents in future.
For offline retail business, choosing the right employees is very crucial to ensure that they’ll will be there during rush days, and holidays. Therefore, by hiring local people – they’ll have less problems to commute and more likely to be available on short notice. Also, local employees are acquainted with local customer’s habits.