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Whether you have a brick and mortar store or an on-line website, if you’re in retail the object is to sell things. While many retailers in the brick and mortar category are having trouble as evidenced by their moving up Black Friday to Black Thanksgiving, you don’t have to worry if you do things right. There are many stores that are doing well and are closed for Thanksgiving. It is probably smarter to follow their lead instead of the K-mart/Sears marketing system.
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First off know what your customer wants but don't compete with Goliath. While there are items that sell well, sometimes you just can’t compete with the big boys. Yes, 60” TVs and other electronics sell but it is really hard to compete against Costco and Egghead for electronics. Be a niche seller. Go for the unusual, unique or simply hard to fine. There is a retailer who sells nothing but pocket watch chains. They make them to order with the chain style of your choice in the pattern you choose. Few do this so chances are when someone is looking for a custom pocket watch chain, they're it!
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Second, be courteous. Answer questions, promptly. Never discount customer service and how it can help you make a sale. Now I’m not saying be pushy. No one wants to spend time playing the used car salesman question and answer game, “What can I do to make you buy it now?” This is annoying and really doesn’t increase sales. You want to be there for the customer to answer question and explain the product. Customers are pretty savvy and with on-line stores it’s easier than ever to price shop. You have to stand out by offering superior customer service.
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Finally, keep your products in stock. You can’t sell it if you don’t have it. Nothing is more annoying than finding what you like but not being able to purchase it. Nothing will turn a customer off faster than not being able to walk out of the store with their purchase. This rule doesn’t apply to special order items or one of a kind. Even if you can get it quickly from another location you can still lose the sale because we do live in an instant gratification society. If you know your top sellers, have them in stock. A little bit of planning goes a long way to making your store profitable, do your homework and you will survive.
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