5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Retail Business

Contributed by Jennifer Pollock of Square. 

Your closet isn’t the only space that needs some serious spring cleaning. The change of seasons is also an ideal time to update and organize your retail business; now that you’re a few months into the new year, you have a better sense of how things are going and whether your projections are on track so far. Ready to get started? Here are some ideas for both cleaning up and upgrading your business:

  1. Modernize your payment options.

The final impression that customers get from your store is at the payment terminal, so what kind of experience are they getting? If your payment terminal only has a magnetic-swipe option and doesn’t accept chip cards, shoppers will get the impression that you’re not committed to upgrading your technology to a system that is more secure for your customers. So invest in a chip card reader, and while you’re at it, get an NFC reader so that you can accept Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay. Customers will appreciate the convenience of the mobile option, and they will view your business as more current and forward-thinking.

  1. Rethink email marketing.

Think about how you’re using email marketing right now. Are you using it at all? If so, how effective is it? If you’re sending the exact same message to every person on your email list, you’re due for an update. Invest in an email marketing system that allows you to target your messages with more specialized lists, like customers who have shopped a few times in the past six months and those who haven’t been back in six weeks or more. Tailor the messaging to these groups, and consider specialized offers to reward loyal customers and entice lapsed shoppers.

  1. Improve efficiency.

What are the pain points in your business? Is it processing orders? Scheduling staff? Keeping track of inventory? No matter what the issue, there’s a way to streamline it electronically, which means you’ll save hours on administrative tasks each week, which translates into more time for growing the business. Your employees will appreciate a smoother system, too.

  1. Enhance your online presence.

If your site is looking a little web 1.0, it’s time to upgrade. Customers expect clean, easy-to-navigate, beautifully designed sites. E-commerce is a plus, so if it’s feasible for your business, consider offering at least a selection of your products online. Customers also expect some sort of social media presence, so make sure to set up and regularly maintain at least one account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. The outlet you choose depends on your customers’ demographic as well as your products. For example, image-focused Instagram is great for clothing or jewelry boutiques. Invite your customers to follow you, and make it worthwhile by offering exclusive updates and specials for your social media followers.

  1. Spiff up your workspace.

Could your workspace use a makeover? In addition to doing a physical deep cleaning, spring is a great time to lighten things up with fresh new art, accessories, and a coat of paint. While you’re at it, refresh your office and staff break areas so they feel comfortable and pleasant for your employees. When you show your staff that you care about them as much as your customers, they’ll feel more valued and invested in their work.

Jennifer Pollock is the editor in chief of Square’s blog and business resource center, Town Square. She regularly writes on topics that help entrepreneurs start, run, and grow their businesses.

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