Word of mouth marketing has evolved in the last decade or so. Consumers are increasingly placing their belief in social proof and credibility. A recent study by Brightlocal, states that 98% of shoppers read online reviews for local businesses.
Customer reviews have the potential to bring your business to new heights, but they can also affect your business’s reputation negatively. However, there’s no need to worry because this article focuses on the essentials of customer reviews and provides excellent strategies to obtain positive feedback from customers.
What are customer reviews?
Essentially customer reviews are the opinions of someone who has visited your store which reflects their personal experiences, satisfaction and overall impression. Customers can leave a review on various platforms dedicated to them. One of the most popular websites being Google My Business, which we’re sure you’ve seen before. The reviews will cover many aspects of your business, from performance, store atmosphere, customer service, etc.
How can customer reviews benefit your business?
Customer reviews play a significant role in shaping the purchasing decisions of others, which can be leveraged to your advantage in attracting more customers to your business. With positive reviews you can build a positive customer reputation and public perception. By using some of your best reviews you can provide prospective customers testimonials to encourage a purchase. Additionally customer reviews can improve your business’s brand awareness, SEO, etc.
As we’ve mentioned before, social proof and credibility are really important in a business success, but how? Social proof indicates that others have had a positive experience with a product/service and this can influence customers to choose your business. Likewise credibility aids in trust and it also enhances trust in your business with potential customers.
On the other hand you may think that negative reviews will only hinder your brand’s reputation. But these negative reviews can help with finding flaws in your service so that you can improve.
How can you get positive customer reviews
In order to get positive reviews you must first offer your customers an exceptional experience. But once this is done you have to reach out to your customers to leave the review. Here are some great ways to initiate this.
Asking for reviews will never hurt—always encourage your customers to leave a review. There are a few ways to do so:
Asking customers to leave a review at checkout
When following-up via email or SMS
Rewarding customers for leaving reviews, etc.
A great way to secure reviews is to make it as easy as possible to access the review page. We suggest using QR codes like in the example above.
Dealing with negative reviews
How should you deal with negative reviews? If you are given the opportunity you should always show initiative and respond quickly to your unsatisfied customers. Then offer these customers a solution to their problem. This way you can try to change your customer’s opinion of your business.
If you are interested in learning more about Google reviews, check out one of our previous blogs, the importance of Google reviews. In this article, we talk about how to handle both negative and positive reviews as a small business.
Hopefully this article can help you improve the reputation of your business, and helped you understand how to support customer reviews. If you are interested in marketing, business, and the newest retail news, subscribe to our blog.
With the holidays right around the corner, there is one task that needs to get done before any store holiday closures. You need to update your hours of operation for the holidays on Google My Business (GMB). The last thing you want is for a potential customer to think you are open and head to your store when it’s closed.
So today, we’ll take you through the steps on how to update your holiday hours on GMB. Luckily TAKU has built-in features for updating your store hours. So we will show you how to update your store hours from within TAKU or directly from within GMB.
Updating your holiday hours in GMB
Firstly, sign into the Google account associated with your store’s Google My Business page. This is your store showcase on Google like the example below. To learn more about Google My Business or how to sign up for a GMB account, check out our retail resources here.
Reminder, you will need to be logged into a Google account that has permission to access your Google My Business store profile.
Once you are logged into your Google account, sign into your Google My Business account from the main Google search page. Simply click the menu button next your Google profile picture.
Click that to find your business profile.
Click on Business Profile to bring up the Your business on Googlemenu with the options below.
Click Edit profile. In the new window, click on the Hours tab and scroll down to the section Holiday hours. Click the pencil icon to edit your store holiday hours.
And just like that you can edit any holiday hours for your business. This way, customers searching for you online or on Google Maps will always see your latest hours of operation.
Updating your GMB store hours from TAKU
As long as your TAKU account is integrated to your Google My Business account once, you can update your store hours directly from your POS. This works for both single stores or stores set up with multiple locations in GMB.
Click Settings from the main menu in TAKU.
Click Stores > Manage Stores
Click the View link for the store you would like to edit.
From the Store Details page, click on the Hours tab and add a New Period to add your latest store hours. Don’t forget to click the yellow button to save your new store hours.
Bonus: Adding FAQs to your GMB profile
Do you often get the same questions from customers? For example, do people always ask whether your store is an official reseller of a brand, or if your store has parking nearby?
These types of questions are perfect for the new FAQ (frequently asked questions) section now available in Google My Business. Posting FAQs in your GMB profile will help you avoid answering the same questions over and over again.
Setting up an FAQ on your profile is super easy and can be done in a few quick steps.
From the same Your business on Google menu, click Messages.
Then click the menu button (the 3 dots) on top right corner of the window.
Click Chatting Settings
4. Click to expand Add FAQs.
Click the Add a Question button.
Add a Question and answer (the Automated Response) and click Save. Repeat this for as many FAQs you would like to add to your GMB profile.
Now your shoppers can get the answers to common questions regarding your store without having to contact you by phone or email. This way both you and your customers can save time.
Holiday season is pretty much upon us, which means your stores are busy. Many retailers hire temporary employees around this time of year to help out with increased in store traffic. The problem is that it is very hard to find frontline staff right now. We’ve talked about the current labor shortage before as it’s something retailers around the world are struggling with.
This holiday season is going to be tough if you need extra help but can’t find any. Whether you want to hire long-term or short-term employees, here are some retail recruitment tactics designed to help you attract more help.
Job postings with eye-catching graphics
Just like any other type of ad, making something that catches people’s attention is the way to go. What better way to catch people’s attention than with something eye-catching, out of the ordinary, and light-hearted.
Take a look at this famous McDonald’s recruitment ad. It lets people know in a simple way that you don’t need experience, and that they expect you to make mistakes as well. This makes it let intimidating to those who would consider applying for their first jobs.
Show ads in creative places
Increase retail recruitment opportunities by finding creative ways to let people know you’re hiring. There’s always the standard ‘posters throughout your store’, but you can also get a bit more creative with it.
Place “We’re Hiring” signs on washroom stalls and doors.
Put ads on your product packaging. You can place stickers with QR codes linking to job applications, or simply have a message telling customers that you’re hiring. This way you can even attract the ideal type of employee: someone who enjoys your brand.
Email/text marketing campaigns. If you email or text customers with promotions or newsletters, you can always add in a little section telling them you are recruiting new employees.
Don’t forget tried-and-true storefront placement to easily grab street traffic attention.
Look at flat fee recruitment tools
Consider using technology to hire your retail staff more easily. Platforms such as SWOB use technology make it a lot easier for you to hire store staff as they interact with local talent 24/7 with easy-to-use mobile apps that young workers enjoy using. Many of them have affordable, flat fee options for small businesses for a certain number of positions.
Be clear in your job postings
Connect with your readers and think about who your ideal candidate is. For example, if your ideal candidate is a high schooler who will work part-time on weekends, write more casually and maybe even mention the benefits of working part-time on weekends. At the end of the day, you need to relate to readers to get them interested in working at your store.
Screen for personality vs. experience
In a tight labor market, it’s even harder to hire based on experience or skills. But that may not be the best approach as it restricts your talent pool. Students, new grads or seniors without any retail experience are a great resource if you’re able to put in the time to train them.
The importance here, is focusing on the personality, energy or enthusiasm of the candidate. You can always train a person to use a point-of-sale system or how to run an inventory count. But you can’t easily change a person’s work ethic or attitude. If anything, hiring “green” employees can have the silver lining of being more trainable – there will be less bad habits to untrain.
Check competitive posts
Today’s labor market requires you to be competitive. After all, your job posts are a reflection of your business and what you offer as an employer. Before you post anything, make sure you know what your competitors are offering. This includes everything from benefits, and imagery to the keywords used in your job posts.
Including keywords is a method used to improve SEO (search engine optimization) which determines whether your content shows up in search results online. By including a lot of relevant and local keywords in your job posting, it will be more easily found on search engines such as Google by local candidates in your area. So when you post your job opening, be sure to add phrases or words that are location-based such as mentioning where your store is located or which area you are trying to recruit from.
Post to your Google My Business profile
Don’t forget to post your job openings on your Google My Business profile as well. Not only is this free and will improve your SEO, it will show up in front of people who are already interested in your business since the majority of people check store hours before they visit a store.
Community job fairs
Going to places where potential applicants already are is a great and smart way to promote your position openings. The best part? Many community job fairs are often free for you to attend.
Look online for event listings or reach out to local establishments such as:
Local chambers of commerce
Community and business development centers
Many of these organizations offer free booths to encourage local businesses to hire their students or residents. This is especially true for physical retail stores that are key to keeping local communities vibrant.
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October to December marks the peak shopping season for retail stores. It’s a time when many retailers plan for an increase in shoppers. As the world moves out of the global pandemic, retailers need to be ready for customers with new shopping behaviors.
According to a Google study, 70% won’t consider purchasing something without seeing it online: whether it is an ad, browsing through a website, social media, or email newsletter. This means that retailers need to start ramping up on their online efforts early: whether it is sending weekly newsletters or updating social media on a regular basis, “online storefronts” are more important than ever to shoppers.
People often flip between discovery (window-shopping) and shopping (looking for products mainly based on functions or features) until they are ready to make a purchasing decision. Of the two, discovery is more emotional and can often override the rational thinking behind shopping. Which is why online “pre-shopping” discovery is so important to the entire shopping process now.
A Statista survey showed that up to 50% of people are planning to do their holiday shopping in-stores. This means that retailers need to be ready to showcase new merchandise and discounts online to shoppers even before they make it to the stores.
In 2020, up to 79% of people left their holiday shopping until one-week before Christmas. This is good news for retailers because they are able to push their efforts to the very last minute. The same study showed that 64% of shoppers planned to shop in-stores. After more than a year of restrictions, people are eager to get out. This is great for physical stores that are able to target shoppers when they’re nearby.
Convenience plays a huge role in purchasing decisions today. “Now near me” searches have grown 100% worldwide. Options for store-managed e-commerce have also increased a lot. Because some shoppers will always leave holiday shopping until the last minute, local stores have a major advantage. After all, everybody has experienced shipping delays given the increase in online shopping. Instead, more local shoppers are searching for ways to buy online and pickup in store (BOPIS) to avoid delays.
The key to successfully offering store pickup for online orders is inventory accuracy. This means using store operations software that offers real-time stock information in-store and online. One way to make sure that your store appears online is to use Google’s free product listings and Local Inventory Ads (LIA). Learn more about how to increase foot traffic to stores with Google here.
For last minute shoppers, retailers can offer store pickup. Not only does this avoid delivery delays, it helps encourage shoppers to purchase extra items when they come to the store for their orders. Make sure that your order pickup area is well-merchandised with suitable impulse products. And consider switching to an order pickup system that will allow staff to checkout customers. There’s nothing worse than losing sales from a in-store shopper just because a customer doesn’t want to line up again to pay.
Welcome to part 2 of our Recession-Proofing Your Business series. In the first part of this series we went over strategies that retailers can use to handle the recession. Some of these strategies included:
How to use software automation to reduce operational costs
How to reduce inventory based on changing customer needs
How to improve your relationship with customers.
In this blog, we will explain why consumers needs recession-proofproducts.
What are recession-proof products?
As the name suggests, recession-proof products are items that traditionally sell well during a recession. These are the type of products that people will keep purchasing even when money is tight. Here are 4 ways to tell if a product is recession-proof.
1. Inelastic demand
Elasticity with products or services is a way of explaining how shopper behavior changes when retail prices and household finances change.
When something has elastic demand, it means that any small change in price or the economy will have a big impact on whether customers will change the way they shop. The best examples of this are discretionary products. This is products that are not essential such as clothing or vacations. When the price of these items increase or people are short on money, more people will buy less clothes or take less vacations.
In comparison, products with inelastic demand are things shoppers will keep buying, even when retail prices increase or they are short on money. These products are usually seen as ‘essential‘, without any good substitutes. Products such as prescription drugs, tobacco, salt or mobile phone plans are good examples.
Remember that essential products aren’t always things needed for survival, but they are products that shoppers feel they cannot stop buying. This can include products that comfort people during difficult economic times such as recreational products which satisfy certain emotional needs. Maselow’s hierarchy of needs above is a good way to think about whether a product you sell is inelastic. Products that satisfy needs higher up in the pyramid are more likely to be inelastic and harder to substitute.
2. A easy way to escape
Uncertainty during a recession can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. People will be looking for ways to escape from these tensions. So products that entertain people and help them keep their mind off of things often sell well during a recession. TV streaming, video games, junk food, alcohol, and similar products are examples of this. In the last part of our Recession-Proofing Your Business series, we touched upon the idea of the lipstick effect. This is a great example of how people shop based on the need for escapism and comfort during a recession.
3. Whether a product can be stocked in bulk
Whenever there is inflation, people want to stock up on certain products to avoid paying a higher price in the future. As a result, every day essential products with long shelf life will do well in a recession. As long as supply is reliable, essential products such as canned foods, rice, toilet paper, dish soap or instant ramen noodles that can be sold in bulk will continue to sell.
4. Seen as a lower-cost option
If you sell elastic products (non-essential products), it’s always a good idea to offer lower-cost options during a recession. This can be something as simple as smaller sizes or features. Making a smaller sale is still better than losing a sale completely. As long as you are clearly communicating how features vary between differently priced options, you will still be able to offer higher value products for those who can afford it.
You can also use the Apple’s Goldilocks strategy. Placing an expensive option next to a decently-priced option makes the cheaper one seem like better value.
Here are a few examples of how smart retailers are offering wallet-friendly versions of popular products during these inflationary times.
This is the same, even if you sell services or subscriptions. For example, it’s a good idea to offer lower cost subscription plans to avoid cancellations. The best example of this is what Netflix has done recently with their new ad-supported tier. By offering a downgradable plan, more shoppers will keep Netflix versus cancelling their subscription.
Recession-proof product categories
Now that you understand some of the reasons that drive shoppers to buy during a recession, let’s take a look at some examples of product categories that sell well when times are bad.
This one is obvious since people need food to survive. As we said earlier, food that has a long shelf life will perform better when times are tough. The demand for cheaper food will always increase when shoppers are looking to save money. Of course a recession won’t stop consumers from purchasing food, but you can expect shifts in the type of food they will choose to spend on. If you’re a grocer or you sell food at your store, take the time to consider how to change your product line to meet these new shopper needs.
Products for personal hygiene, self-care, and beauty have historically done well during recessions. This is thanks to the lipstick effect. However some of these products are also necessities, such as: toiler paper, soap, towels, etc. These products are needed by consumers and demand will generally remain stable.
DIY lifestyle products also do well during recessions. This includes products that help improve your home (e.g. gardening tools, drills, hammers, nails, lawnmowers, etc.). Other examples include DIY products that give people an affordable creative outlet such as home decor projects or hobbies. It also allows consumers to save money as they will not want to pay a service for things like home maintenance during a recession. After all, DIY is a form of escapism and helps people de-stress.
Pet products are strong recession-proof items as people consider their pets as members of their family. So they are not going to be forgotten during a recession. Especially essential products for those special family members. These include: food, litter, treats, and waste removal bags. Pet products will remain inelastic in demand throughout a recession.
Once again people’s need for escapism helps another product category remain recession-proof. Recreational products are a staple during a recession. Lower-cost recreational products perform even better. A deck of cards, board games, cheaper video games, and cost-effective movie streaming are all examples of great recreational products. However these recreational products don’t only have to be in-home options. People will look for way to escape outdoors as well, sports equipment and camping gear are other great recession-proof products.
Off-price retailing is the strategy of buying out-of-season or overstocked branded products and selling them at heavily discounted prices. Off-price shopping increases during recessions so if you have any distributors or suppliers willing to sell you their extra stock at a lower cost, you can also look at offering branded products at prices below MSRP.
Now that we’ve gone over product categories which have historically done well during a recession, you should review your own product mix to determine if you’re selling the right things during these tough times. If you are seeing success with other categories, please feel free to share your thoughts with us below in the comments.
To deal with a recession, investing in tools that optimize your operations is key. TAKU Retail is helps you manage your entire store and ecommerce operations, all under a single login. At the same time, we’re constantly adding new features to help our merchants deal with labor shortages. Click below to learn more about our new self-checkout feature to sell more with less staff.
The rise of e-commerce during the pandemic has led many people to believe that that physical retail stores will soon be a thing of the past. After all, e-commerce feels more convenient as you can shop from the comfort of home. Even Google has seen an increase in the number of people wondering whether brick and mortar stores are dying.
We’re glad to report that, like many future predictions, the reality is a lot less scary. As post-pandemic studies and recent data has shown, physical retail is still thriving and here to stay.
E-commerce is not the only future
While e-commerce grew in popularity during the pandemic, post-pandemic statistics show that people are returning to their old ways. E-commerce sales in 2022 have slowed down. Some of this is likely pent up demand for shoppers who missed shopping in person during the pandemic. But according to research, 59% of shoppers do not trust internet-only brands. At the same time, e-commerce only companies continue to struggle to turn a profit. Many companies who bet on an e-commerce only future are now paying the price.
Brick and mortar retail stores are continuing to grow
Even after all of the COVID-19 lockdowns, brick & mortar retail stores are thriving. In fact, for every brick and mortar business that shut down, two more businesses opened up. On top of that, sales in physical retail have actually gone up post-pandemic. In-store shopping has seen a 13.7% boost compared to pre-pandemic levels. This growth doesn’t just apply to big names like Walmart, but to small independently owned businesses as well! In fact, over 60% of small businesses are expected to grow their revenue over the next year. This is a trend that can be seen from pre-pandemic statistics as well. Reports show that between 2016 – 2021, the revenue of smaller retailers grew at an average of 51.33%.
And certain consumers actually prefer in-store shopping. The majority of Boomers and Gen X customers say that they shop in-store “all the time”. In fact, younger people such as Gen Z (along with Gen X) are two generations that actually shop more in-person than online. For them, their entire lives are already digital and physical retail appeals to them as experiential shopping
The shopping experience is too important
Another key reason why brick & mortar stores still appeal to shoppers is because it is still by far a better shopping experience. At the beginning we mentioned how e-commerce provides a certain level of convenience that physical retail can’t. Yet when it comes to immediate consumption, this is something that only physical shopping can offer. There is a level of satisfaction one can feel shopping in-store and taking something home right away. This is why the term retail therapy exists.
But beyond immediate satisfaction, shopping at brick and mortar stores allows customers to get an engaged shopping experience that they simply can’t find online. Being able to physically hold a product and sometimes try it out before purchase is a big factor in deciding to buy something. 59% of consumers say that the ability to try, touch and feel a product is key for in-store shopping over online.
And when shopping in-store, one of the top priorities for shoppers is convenience, especially at checkout. After all, 97% of consumers have backed out of a purchase due to inconvenience. So if you are in or planning to enter the physical retail industry, be sure to offer easy checkout options. Things like self-checkout enhance the shopping experience for customers greatly.
The future is omnichannel
Throughout this post, it may have felt like we are saying that e-commerce is worse than physical retail. However, the future of the retail today is really a combination of physical and digital shopping. As we mentioned before, consumers want convenience. Omnichannel offers the most convenience to consumers as it allows them to shop from anywhere, 24/7. There’s a reason why 58.6% of retailers are heavily investing in omnichannel fulfillment and 70% of small businesses have adopted digital tools over the past year.
The benefits of omnichannel aren’t just for customers either. Retailers are able to have more control over their business and sell more when they offer omnichannel shopping. After all, retailers who don’t sell on multiple channels end up missing out on ~30% of sales.
Being able to serve your customers in a variety of channels will soon be the standard in retail. For e-commerce, store pickup or fulfillment of online orders from local stores support main streets, is better for the environment and get products to customers faster as delivery costs increase. In order to keep up with the future, your retail business needs to be an omnichannel one.
Now, more than ever, is the best time to invest in omnichannel! Make sure your business is future-proof by implementing software that can support your business over time. Check out TAKU Retail and ensure your business is resilient and able to serve customers the way they expect to shop today.