Turnover tips for small retailers

14 December 2018

Running a small retail business can be tough. The hours are long, the budgets are small and the customers can be demanding. But, when things are going just right and the cash register is looking healthy, the retail biz can be highly rewarding.

Below, we’ve got a few tips that will hopefully help to keep your turnover high and your stress levels low.

Spruce up your space

If you’re running a bricks-and-mortar shop, your retail space is one of your most important assets. You want it to be inviting to customers, which means you’ll want to make the outside eye-catching. Ensure that your shopfront is designed in a way that suits your products; a big, bright sign and a colourful, jam-packed window display might be better suited to a toy store or a comic book shop than they would a high-end jewellery store.

Once you’ve gotten customers through the door, make sure that the inside of the shop is appealing enough to keep them there. A dirty, cluttered or confusing store can cause people to head back out the door without a second thought. The space should be clean and well-lit, and customers should easily be able to find what they’re looking for.

There should also be enough space for customers to move around comfortably. Remember to consider customers who use wheelchairs or prams.

Above all, the shop should be safe, for both customers and employees. Keep aisles and doorways clear and take care of things like leaks and electrical faults ASAP.

Of course, it’s impossible to guarantee that there’ll never be an incident in your store. That’s why you should consider Public Liability Insurance for your business.

Learn more about Public Liability Insurance

Dare to go digital

Of course, a physical store isn’t the only space in which you can operate.

If you’re running a retail business and you don’t yet have a website, get one! Even if you’re not ready to start selling your goods online, or yours is the kind of product that’s better suited to an in-store experience, you should have a website that features your basic info. Customers should be able to find out what you sell, where you are and how to get in touch with you, with a minimum of fuss. If a potential customer can’t easily find that info, they’re likely to give up looking and go somewhere else.

Get savvy with social

If you want an easy way to publicise your business and interact with customers, you could consider Facebook. If your business is one that relies on visual appeal, like a florist or a boutique clothing store, image-driven channels like Instagram and Pinterest may be ideal.

Think about who your potential customers are, and what social tools they’re likely to be using. It may take some time to get your social strategy just right, but it’s likely to be time well spent. If people can get the info they need with little effort via the apps they’re already using, and stay up to date with new products, promotions and in-store events, they’re more likely to turn into regular paying customers.

Care for your customers

Offering great customer service can help you turn visitors into customers, and customers into repeat customers. It sounds obvious, but it can be easy for store managers and their employees to forget the basics when things get busy, which is why it should be a priority for your business.

Remember to warmly greet everyone who steps through the door, and be available without being overbearing. Stay friendly, ask open-ended questions and always be ready to help. If a customer has to wait, greet them and thank them for their patience rather then leaving them staring at someone’s back.

Manage your time

If you own a small retail business, odds are you wear a lot of other hats. You may find yourself managing the business, being out on the floor serving customers, cleaning the place, updating social media, and so on. Before you burn yourself out, learn how to delegate.

If you’ve hired great people, they may have a few hidden skills you’re not taking advantage of. Give your sales staff a crack at making visual displays, or running your store’s Instagram account. Of course, you should ensure that you’re paying them appropriately and not overburdening them. If your staff feel they’re being treated fairly and given an opportunity to broaden their skills, they’re more likely to stick around, saving you the cost of hiring and training someone new. You’ll also free yourself up to be more productive when it comes to those tasks you can only do yourself.

Speaking of those tasks, avoid trying to do too many things at once. Make a to-do list that is ordered by priority, and set achievable goals each day.

Know that you’re covered

It’s important for any business, large or small, to have appropriate business insurance. A retail store likely needs public and products liability cover, cover for property damage, cover for theft, and so on.

Learn more about Retail Insurance.


Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Registered Office, Level 28, 266 George St, Brisbane QLD 4000. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.