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Managing Google Reviews: How to Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews

Managing Google Reviews: How to Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews

It comes as no surprise that Google is the most popular search engine in the world. Combine that with the fact that the majority of shoppers are conducting product research online, and you’ve got yourself an incredibly powerful marketing tool.

That’s why getting your retail business to show up on Google is one of the most important things you can do to drive foot traffic to your store.

While reviews may seem like a small part of your online presence on Google, 93% of shoppers have stated that online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.

The Importance of Google My Business Reviews 

store customer

Google My Business reviews are key to improving your online visibility and ranking on Google. According to Google, “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location“. 

This means, that by properly managing reviews, your store is more likely to appear in top search results. Ultimately, this will increase foot traffic to your store and generate more revenue for your business. 

To learn more about the importance of Google My Business (GMB) reviews, click here

Why Respond to Google Reviews?

online review strategy

Responding to reviews is critical to any online business strategy – and it comes with several benefits too! These benefits include: 

  • It builds trust and confidence with target customers 

  • It shows Google that you are active

  • Encourages other customers to leave a review

How to Reply to Google Reviews

1. Sign in to your Google My Business account here.

2. Click on the three horizontal lines on the top left hand corner.

3. Click on reviews.

4. Find the review you want to reply to and click on the reply button below.

Responding to Positive Reviews 

managing postive reviews

1. Thank the customer and be specific: It’s important that you show shoppers gratitude for their business and for the time they took to leave a review.

It’s also good practice to avoid generic responses. Remember you don’t want to sound like a robot! You can add a personal touch by tailoring your response to specific things spoken about in each review.

For example: “Thank you for your kind words – glad to hear you appreciate our large selection of items!”

2. Share Store Updates: Remember your replies are public and are likely to be seen by future shoppers. So it’s a good idea to highlight any relevant product offerings or new promotions. This also gives shoppers something to look forward to.

For example : “We’re glad you love our healthy food options…we’ve got more products that we will be releasing in September! More information will be revealed on our social media very soon ;)”

3. Invite the Customer to Take an Action: You can provide additional value to customers by suggesting other products or complementary services offered by your store. Another good idea is to ask the customer to return or spread the word about your business. 

For example : “Next time you visit, you should really try (product name)!” 

Or you could also say “We hope to see you again very soon – and bring a friend along with you!” 

Responding to Negative Reviews: 

managing negative reviews

1. Apologize: It can be difficult to stay positive when dealing with difficult or unhappy customers. However, it is extremely important to respond with humility with an aim to fix the issue. By acting in a defensive manner, you may turn away potential customers rather than attract them.

So regardless of what occured, always apologize. You need to send the message that you are sorry that the customer is upset –  and that you will do your best to change how they feel.  

2. Offer A Solution: Bad reviews often arise due to misunderstandings between a customer and a business. If this is the case, responding to the review is best way to clear up any misunderstanding. 

It is important that you publicly share how you plan on solving or addressing the issue. Not only does this show commitment to good customer service, but it also builds trust among potential customers. 

Sometimes, in addition to an apology and a solution, offering compensation is also a good idea. For example, you could offer a refund, a gift card, or a discount. 

3. Take the Conversation Offline: Once you apologize and offer an appropriate remedy, it is a good idea to propose taking the conversation offline. 

You can tell the shopper that customer service will reach out through e-mail or phone (whatever works best for the customer). A one-on-one conversation will often clear up any confusion and you will be able to understand the problem at a deeper level. 


We hope you found this article helpful!

Would you like to learn how to attract local shoppers on Google? 

Good news- we are hosting a breakfast seminar exclusively for GTA store owners! We will be discussing how you can attract more local shoppers with POS technology among other important topics. To learn more about the event and to register, click here

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Tips for Retail Stores: Increase Back-to-School Sales

Tips for Retail Stores: Increase Back-to-School Sales

Back-to-school is one of the top spending events in retail. According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers spend more on back-to- school shopping than Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day combined. 

And you don’t have to sell back-to-school supplies or clothing to benefit from one of the biggest spending seasons of the year. 

Keep reading to find out how you can take advantage of the back-to-school season and increase your retail sales. 

Smart Retailers Leverage Back-to-School 

school kids

For retail businesses that peak in the summer, the back-to-school season may seem daunting. It means lower sales and a decrease in foot traffic. But this doesn’t have to be the case. 

Back-to-school is a time of change for many people – teachers, parents, and most importantly students. Many see it as a fresh start and a time for new perspectives. 

And smart retailers play on these feelings with creative marketing tactics. 

3 Back-to-School Promotions to Help you Sell More

Even if your store has no connection to back-to-school or college, you can still engage with your shoppers in a memorable way.

Here’s how: cater your promotions to shoppers by using change as a marketing tool. 

Listed below are 3 promotion strategies that can help you sell more.

1) A free gift with every purchase made: This type of promotion offers every shopper who spends a certain amount in-store ($50 or above, $60 or above etc.) a free item.

A good idea is to give away a back-to-school basket with different school supplies. You can also imprint your brand name on each of the items in the basket. It doesn’t necessarily have to be school related either – popular store merchandise or a gift card are also effective gifts.

The benefits of this promotion strategy include: 

  • it attracts shopper attention 

  • increases the likelihood of impulse buys

  • makes it easier to up-sell and cross-sell 

  • improves shopper experience

  • enhances attraction and remembrance of your brand

back-to-school basket

2) Back-to-school discounts: 56% of consumers have stated that they have not started their back to school shoppingAnd 49% say it is because they are waiting for the best sales. So consider offering discounts on your merchandise before students go back to school.

If you do not sell back-to-school merchandise, don’t fret! Back to school discounts aren’t just for retailers who sell school supplies or electronics.

Remember to create a back-to-school tie in! As retail expert Bob Phibbs explains, “When you draw the attention of your customers to their garden, that room, or those drapes, then they will see themselves replacing, learning, or fixing-up, and then they will come into your store to get whatever new things they need.” 

back-to-school sale

3) Run a Social Media Contest: Social media contests are a great tool to increase sales and generate a buzz online. As most shoppers (college students and millennials especially) are conducting product research online, it is also a great method to reach target shoppers. 

This back-to-school season, 49% of K-12 families and 45% of college shoppers are planning to shop online. So get in front of these consumers by running a giveaway or contest with effective prizes. 

Here are some ideas for effective prizes: 

  • A “back-to-school survival kit” 

  • A de-stress prize such as a gift card for a popular restaurant or spa nearby (consider partnering with a local business) 

  • Free tickets to fall festivals, concerts, apple picking or other events

social media

Promotion Examples

Here are some examples of creative back-to-school tie ins: 

A store that sells cleaning supplies could offer discounted packages for college students. It could be marketed it as an all-in-one package for cleaning dorm rooms. 

A health food store or grocery store could give away healthy meal plans and recipes for college students. Or alternatively – recipes for preparing healthy lunches for children. 

Families love including their pets in holidays, birthdays, and other milestones. So a pet store could offer back-to-school merchandise for pets! Pet-smart is a great example of a store that has leveraged back-to-school. In the past, the retailer has taken advantage of the back-to-school season with their school-themed pet gear. 

promotion

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Tips for Main Street Stores: How to Attract Customers

Tips for Main Street Stores: How to Attract Customers

Earlier this year, the news that several well-known retail stores are closing locations broke. Known as the “death of high-street” or “the retail apocalypse“, the rumored decline in Main Street retail 

has caused many small store owners to panic. 

Main Street store closures have been credited to a number of factors – the rise of online shopping, costly leases, and increased competition. 

So the question is – is physical retail actually dying? And what can main street stores do to thrive despite these factors?

Is Physical Retail Dying?

physical retail

Although many are claiming that physical retail is dead, 90% of all retail sales are still occuring in physical stores. In fact, physical retail continues to grow. 

Online Brands are Opening Physical Locations 

glossier store

More and more pure online brands are opening brick and mortar locations – proving that physical stores are an important part of a successful retail strategy.   

According to the Retail Dive, 850 digitally native brands are set to open physical locations within the next 4 years

Purely online brands that have opened physical locations in recent years include Glossier, Casper, Warby Parker – and even Amazon.

4 Tips to Attract More Customers 

So if there’s one thing that store closures can teach retailers – it’s what not to do. Amidst a changing retail environment, selling more simply comes down to:

  • attracting more customers in store

  • increasing the amount customers spend

Here are 4 strategies that can help your Main Street store sell more:  

1) Build an Online Presence 

digital marketing tools

A failure to digitize is the reason many small retail stores are declining. But building an online presence is necessary to keep up with shopper spending habits.

In fact, in-store shopping behaviour is being influenced by online research – a modern trend called Research Online, Purchase Offline (ROPO).

Not yet convinced that you need an online presence?

Here are some factors you may want to consider. According to Google:  

  • The majority of shoppers research online before purchasing in-store. 

  • Shoppers who research online before purchasing offline are more valuable – they spend 33% more. 

  • These customers shop a lot more – viewing more brands and visiting more stores. 

  • They value seeing the physical product and that’s why they don’t buy online. 

There are a number of online strategies that can attract customers in-store including:

  • Social media marketing 

  • Optimizing Your Google My Business Listing 

  • Running Google Shopping Ads 

  • E-mail marketing 

  • Content marketing 

  • Search engine optimization 

Learn more about how you can build your retail store’s online presence here

2) Implement an Omni-channel Retail Strategy 

mobile application in-store

An omni-channel retail strategy recognizes that customers like to shop across multiple channels. And that they often start their buyer’s journey on one channel but end up completing it on another. 

Omni-channel is more than just selling online and in-store (a multi-channel strategy) – it’s about providing the customer with an integrated shopping experience. So whether the customer is conducting a search online, shopping via mobile, or browsing in-store, their experience will be seamless. 

Sephora is an example of a retailer that is executing a brilliant omni-channel strategy.

Sephora’s Omni-channel Experience 

Sephora

Known as the beauty giant in retail, Sephora has embraced an omni-channel strategy that bridges it’s online and offline channels. When Sephora customers are shopping in-store, they can use their mobile app to look up previous purchases, read ratings and reviews, and see their Beauty Insider discounts (or loyalty points). 

The beauty giant relies heavily on technology to enhance customer experience. For example, Sephora employees and make-up artists use Ipads and mobile to showcase hundreds of different products styles and shades. Employees can also use these devices to order out of stock items for shoppers and ship them directly to their house. 

And the shopping experience doesn’t end when customers leave the store. With Sephora’s mobile app, shoppers have access to all things beauty – from the newest product releases, beauty tutorials, and the latest trends.

3) Improve In-store Experience 

Attracting more customers to your store starts with a compelling in-store experience. Here are some ways you can create an appealing shopping experience for your customers: 

Faster checkout 

checkout line

Shoppers value their time – that’s why long checkout lines are a huge turn-off. A slower check-out speed will often lead to abandonment. In fact, long lines and poor checkout experiences are major contributors to low shopper satisfaction

To solve this problem, think about adopting a POS software that is designed for checkout speed.

Here are some factors to look for when choosing a POS: 

  • Navigation designed for checkout speed and minimum clicks – you shouldn’t have to leave your salesscreen to complete a transaction

  • Barcode scanning speed with quick recall of your last search

  • Software designed to handle high volume inventory or a large number of transactions

For more information about adopting a line-busting POS, click here

Train your employees well

retail employees

Your employees are one of the greatest contributors to the in-store experience. And that’s why they are also the key to increasing your retail sales. 

So it’s important to invest in quality employee hiring and development. Here are some tips to help your employees grow (and not slow) your retail sales: 

1) Train them to have strong product knowledge: Other than online research and reviews, your employees are the second most important source of information for shoppers. So train your salespeople to provide shoppers with the information they are looking for.

Strong product knowledge includes : the features and benefits of your products, who the product is for, competing products in the market, product demonstrations, and situations the product is good for. 

2) Teach them to connect with shoppers: interactions between customers and salespeople help make the shopping experience a memorable one. So teach your employees to engage with shoppers – it is a good idea to outline a plan (from when the customer enters the store to closing the sale).

Some tips include: greeting shoppers enthusiastically, finding something in common with the customer, and asking questions to figure out their wants and needs. 

3) Help them speed it up: As mentioned above, quick service is a priority for most shoppers – and it needs to be a priority for your employees as well. 

It’s important to have enough sales staff on the floor to guarantee speed. So make sure that you are staffing based on store traffic rather than arbitrary scheduling. 

As I touched on before, picking a line busting POS software that is easy to use is also important in helping employees speed up store operations. 

4) Promote Impulse Shopping with Effective Merchandising 

shopper checking out

Operating a physical retail store comes with a major advantage  – impulse buys. Despite the rise of online shopping, the majority of impulse shopping takes place in physical retail stores.

In fact, 79% of impulse buys occur in-store while only 6% occur on mobile.

Here are some ways you can merchandise your store to promote impulse buys: 

  • Place relevant and lower-priced items near checkout 
grocery checkout

This is a popular strategy used by many successful retailers – and for good reason. It is an extremely effective tactic as shoppers are already at the point of sale. And by placing lower priced, relevant items near checkout, shoppers see an easy and convenient way to add to their orders. So by implementing this strategy, you are increasing their likelihood to make a purchase.

  • Place impulse buys near high demand items
grocery store

Your checkout area isn’t the only place where you can promote impulse buys. Placing lower-priced items near your store’s top sellers is another effective strategy. As shoppers frequently head to these areas in your store, any merchandise displayed close by will naturally increase visibility. 

  • Cross-merchandising 
cross merchandising

This means placing similar items in the same area so shoppers can find everything they need at once. This strategy encourages shoppers to purchase complementary products.  For example, placing staples close to staplers will remind shoppers to buy an item they may have  otherwise forgotten. 

Learn more about effective merchandising practices here. 


We hope you found this article helpful! 

Do you want to learn more strategies to sell more? Good news- we are hosting a breakfast seminar exclusively for GTA store owners! We will be discussing how you can attract more local shoppers with POS technology among other important topics. To learn more about the event and to register, click here.

#mainstreetretail #attractcustomers #retailtips #retailmarketing #retailpos #cloudpos 

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Retail Merchandising 101: What is Merchandising?

Retail Merchandising 101: What is Merchandising?

What is Retail Merchandise?

Retail merchandise includes all of the products and items that are available for purchase at your store (shoes, pet food, jewellery etc.). It is also commonly referred to as inventory or stock. 

What is Retail Merchandising?

wall display

Put simply, merchandising is how your products or inventory are displayed in your store.

But there is more to merchandising than just attractive displays.

It involves everything you do to sell your merchandise once a shopper steps foot inside your retail store – from selecting the right products to pricing and promoting them in ways that will attract shoppers

Why is it Important?

When shoppers step foot inside your store, the goal is to get them to make a purchase – obviously. And merchandising is a tool that gets shoppers closer to that purchasing decision. 

Strong merchandising practices can be the difference between a highly profitable store and a struggling one. 

The benefits of an effective merchandising strategy include: ​

  • Increased Sales

  • Cost Control

  • Maximized Retail Space 

  • Satisfied and Loyal Shoppers 

  • Increased Employee Productivity

Merchandising Strategies

grocery display

There are many ways to attract shopper attention and encourage purchases in store. Some popular strategies include: 

  • Product samples and demonstrations 

  • Cross-merchandising (placing similar items together) 

  • Store signage (shelf signage, promotional signage) 

  • Product displays (end-caps, dump bins, checkout counters etc.) 

  • Effective store design (the layout of the sales floor) 

  • Promotional merchandising (pricing, discounts, special offers  etc.)

  • Stocked shelves (having the right products at the right time) 

Tips for Creating Effective Displays

Merchandising is an art and a science – meaning that it has both visual and strategic aspects to it.

The visual aspect has to do with how well your displays grab the attention of shoppers. It’s about making sure product displays appeal to the human eye. 

While the strategic aspect has to with product and display arrangement. In other words, what products should be placed in each display and where. 

Here are some tips for creating effective displays: 

1) Display merchandise vertically rather than horizontally 

It is more effective to display items vertically rather than horizontally. This means displaying similar products up and down your shelves rather than extending them across displays. By doing so, shoppers can find what they need by standing in one spot

shopper in-store

2) Keep merchandise at eye-level 

As the saying goes, “eye level is buy level”. This is one of the most popular concepts when it comes to retail merchandising. Eye-level is the best-selling height on every display – as it is the easiest height for shoppers to browse. 

merchandising display

3) Use signage

There are many different types of signage when it comes to retail merchandising  – outdoor signage, informational signage, directional (location) signage, and promotional signage.

Effective signage plays an important role in operating a successful retail business. It helps drive foot traffic while making it easier for shoppers to navigate your store. Without it, a poor shopping experience is probable. 

outdoor signage

4) Display as much merchandise as possible

Fill your shelves with as much merchandise as possible. This will avoid backroom stock while giving shoppers the impression that you can meet product needs. 

grocery store merchandising

5) Make sure all merchandise is priced 

Displays are ineffective if you do not have clear and easy to locate price tags on your merchandise. So ensure all items are priced and that prices are consistent throughout your store.  Shoppers are likely to get frustrated without proper product and pricing information

product pricing

6) Cleanliness is key 

Make sure your retail space is clean and organized. This will ensure that you are creating an appealing shopping experience for your customers.

A clean retail space will also attract shoppers and result in repeat visits. Cleanliness in your retail space includes a clean storefront (window displays, front doors etc.), fresh floors and shelves, and neatly stacked product displays. 

store front

7) Use loss leader pricing 

This is when you sell products at below cost (or minimum profit margin) to entice shoppers to make a purchase. It’s important that you place your loss leaders at the back of the store.

This way, shoppers are encouraged to walk past other product displays in order to reach the “loss leader”.  The intention behind this tactic is to drive sales of higher margin products in your store.

Loss leader pricing often leads to impulse purchases and is commonly used by popular grocery chains. For example, most grocery stores use milk or eggs as a  loss leader. As shoppers have to walk to the very back of grocery store to purchase these items, it is highly unlikely that it will be their only purchase. 

customer shopping for milk

We will be posting more merchandising tips in the upcoming weeks! Subscribe to our blog to stay updated on merchandising trends, strategies, and industry best practices. 

#retailmerchandising #merchandisingdefination #merchandisingtips #retailmarketing 

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