It's estimated that more than 205 million Americans bought something online last year, and that number is expected to grow significantly by 2020. Big e-commerce giants like Amazon, Shopify and Walmart simply make it easy for consumers to buy what they need without leaving their homes.
That doesn't mean however that people don't spend a considerable amount of time and money in stores.
That's exactly what major retailers want after all. To gain greater access to the wallets of consumers and thus, grow company profits as much as possible. The giants do it better than anybody, and they've been doing it for hundreds of years. If you've always dreamed of owning your own little mom and pop shop, or even if you're much more ambitious and hope to build your own version of Walmart someday, consider some of the most successful and timeless strategies stores use to keep the money coming in.
Take advantage of pricing
When was the last time you walked into a store and saw something sell for exactly $25 instead of $24.99? It just doesn't happen. The reasoning should be obvious here. Seeing a lower dollar figure at the front of the prices more appealing to the brain. Even shoppers with the utmost self-control will completely ignore the extra 99 cents on the price, but every penny counts on the balance sheet at the end of the year. Another good strategy sound retail businesses use to their advantage involves making it easy for shoppers to compare the prices of similar products. Stores will put two nice-looking jackets next to each other knowing that most people won't buy the more expensive jacket, but they will see the slightly less expensive jacket as a bargain after comparing the two and just might make a purchase they don't really need to make simply because they are convinced they've gotten themselves a deal.
Strategically organizing the store
Think about the way an Apple Store is laid out versus the way a Walmart store is laid out. The Apple Store is clean and simple with lots of people available to help you and a sleek look to the entire interior design of the place. The computer giant's brick-and-mortar extension gives you the impression that they deliver quality computer and technology related products at premium prices, which we all know to be the case, even though the prices aren't exactly shoved in our faces. Walmart on the other hand has almost every category of product available in aisles and aisles of shelves with pricing discounts clearly displayed everywhere. Their main objective is to sell as much of their products as possible and to be ultra-competitive on price. Given Walmart is one of the richest companies in the world, it's a strategy that's obviously worked well. Either way, both the premium brand and the discount store are out to get more of your money.
Persuasive branding and imaging
Most adult shoppers are smart enough to know that the images in print publications and on television that portray the perfect looking person aren't realistically attainable. Many of the images we see are edited and touched up so that our eyes see nothing but the best. That said, we all still like to imagine that we can have the looks of a movie star or athlete if we associate ourselves with certain brands. You witness that in obvious ways when you see some of your favourite celebrities in TV commercials, but even more subtle imaging, such as the mannequins you see in windows while walking around the mall can make a big impact. Seeing a nice pair of jeans on a perfectly cut plastic figure is nothing new. Faceless figures have been used by the retail industry since the 1800s and some modern-day adaptations now feature not-so faceless digital versions. The name of the game is all about convincing you that your non-plastic body is going to look great in whatever you buy.
Hook customers on the accessories
Have you ever seen a commercial, particularly around the holiday season, where the commercial shows you the latest new toys and gadgets available for kids and then kindly remind you that batteries are not included? This one is an oldie but a goodie when it comes to getting shoppers to spend more money. Tickle Me Elmo won't tickle unless he's backed by the juice of batteries. A man's face doesn't shave itself, and of course, razor blades don't last forever. The necessary use of consumable accessories have allowed companies like Energizer and Gillette keep a hand in your wallet until the end of time, or at least until solar energy panels are sophisticated enough to power every character on Sesame Street.
Creating a sense of urgency
Deals only ever last for a limited time only. Large retail stores know that they must motivate customers to buy and get them to make a firm decision to commit to a purchase. Think about it. If Boxing Day and Black Friday were month-long promotions, there would be no reason for the average person to wake up extra early in the morning, fight through crowds and by a big-screen TV at 70% off. Motivating people to take action is a necessary part of any sales strategy whether you are running a retail business or any other kind of business for that matter.
Whether you're planning to help your kids open up a lemonade stand for the summer, or you hope to trade in your 9-to-5 job and open up your own more grownup business, remember these five strategies and use them to your advantage. Maybe someday you'll have your own franchise and sell it to ultra-rich people on Shark Tank.