Expert Roundup: How to Increase Revenues in Your Retail Business

Benchmarking is an important exercise, particularly in retail. It’s nice to know where you stand compared to merchants in your industry or region in order to get a better idea of how your business is doing.

When we recently conducted our benchmarking study, we found that SMB retailers earn an average monthly revenue of s $22,340.88 (USD). When we compared different industries, we found that furniture stores tend to have the highest revenues at $39,572 per month, while cosmetics retailers had the lowest at $18,644.

Then when we explored the data for different regions, we found that SMBs in ins Australia and New Zealand made a bit more, $26,395 and $26,475 respectively. North American retailers made $20,882, while those in the UK had a monthly revenue of $19,223 per store.

So, how does your business measure up?

Regardless of whether you’re way above average or at the bottom end of the spectrum, it’s always best to find ways to improve.

That’s why we rounded up a handful of retail experts and asked them to share their best pieces of advice for increasing retail revenues. Have a look at what they had to say:

1. Look to your customers

I would recommend building upon customer loyalty by carrying more of what your customers want. By combining point-of-sale data with qualitative feedback acquired through customer engagement, you can find new products for your loyal customer base to purchase.

– Chris Guillot, Instructional Designer of Merchant Math and Founder of Merchant Method

2. Diversify your offerings

To increase store revenue, retailers should diversify their offerings. Expand your merchandise categories to offer more novelty, gift, and impulse buys. Host regular events, workshops, and classes. Give shoppers opportunities and reasons to engage with your brand more frequently.

– Meaghan Brophy, Managing Editor at Independent Retailer

3. Understand the retail journeys of your customers

Without knowing the specific circumstances of a given retailer it’s hard to give the most actionable advice. But I’d say the best thing just about any brand can do is to understand their customers’ journeys and dissect opportunities to either eliminate friction points along the way and/or find ways to be intensely relevant and remarkable on the things that customers care most about.

– Steve Dennis, President & Founder at SageBerry Consulting, LLC

4. Start with the right data and insights

There are a number of ways that retailers can increase revenue. They can open new sales channels, diversify product lines, and ramp up marketing, to name a few. But what works for one retailer, may not work for another. So the first place to start is with data and insights.

Determine where revenue is coming from now by analyzing sales patterns, inventory purchases, and customer behavior across all retail channels. Then pinpoint where there are opportunities to develop future revenue streams or create efficiencies or growth in current ones. But don’t dive in right away; develop strategies and processes that allow for easy testing and optimizing of those opportunities before you fully invest in them.

– Mallory A. Russell, Editorial Lead at Square

5. Find a trusted advisor

Rather than talk to specific tactics, my strongest recommendation would be to find an advisor for your business who is an expert in your industry. You don’t have to go it alone! A great accountant with proven experience and a focus on retail can provide strategic advice on which levers a business can pull to increase overall revenue, profitability and cash flow.

Look for an advisor who has other successful retail clients (tip: ask for a customer reference) and uses a full suite of cloud tools to provide real-time insights into your business, benchmarking and insights from experience working with others in your industry.

– Nick Houldsworth, General Manager Ecosystem at Xero

6. Leverage social media

In my experience, very few retailers exploit social media to its fullest. A simple and easy way to promote your store(s) is to use a combination of Instagram (images), Facebook (community) and Twitter (engagement). In the case of the latter, you should seek to engage with your local community; use Twitter to promote your store especially if you have any events, promotions etc.

It’s not a silver bullet, but should definitely be a part of your strategy. Encourage store staff to tweet live from the floor; this will create a real sense of being there and authenticity.

– Andrew Busby, Founder & CEO at Retail Reflections

7. Be mindful of the costs associated with revenue tactics

Revenue can always be grown, at least in the short term, with increases to inventory, staffing levels, promotions & marketing to name a few – however be careful as these initiatives come at a cost and should be factored into your pricing and business model.

– David Kindl, Head of Strategy at Retail Doctor Group

8. Be a specialist

Modern shoppers have access to anything they want, anytime they want, so it’s crucial retailers cultivate what makes them special by establishing their own niche, rather than trying to be all things to all people. Localise, specialise, be bespoke, and never stray from personalized service and communication!

Consumers also have much greater expectations than in years gone by, making retail an unforgiving place for those who aren’t upping the ante alongside these changing consumer needs. Consumers are increasingly seeking out brands they trust and whose values stack up with modern ideals; who offer great value (as opposed to price) and a well-curated selection; and who are consistent in their messaging, quality and service.

For retailers, that means you simply must invest your time and resources into becoming a specialist in your own field, who is able to offer expert knowledge and advice, every time. A well-trained team will not see add-ons, and maximizing a sale, as being pushy, but as an important way to preempt what the customer truly needs. By becoming a master at finding solutions for your customers’ needs, rather than trying to mimic what others may be doing, your business will be in the best position it can be to flourish.

– Dominique Lamb, CEO at the National Retail Association

9. Establish a loyalty rewards program

Drive frictionless commerce with loyalty and rewards. It takes less time, effort, and money to retain a current customer than to recruit a new one, but there’s a way to do both. Today’s businesses are engaging payment solutions to help retain customers and acquire new ones, build brand recognition, and drive additional revenue. Loyalty rewards programs that integrate with payments are a popular way to engage customers and encourage more frequent visits across in-store and online sales channels.

– Christina O’Berto, Senior Channel Marketing Manager, Worldpay

Further Reading

Ever wondered how much retailers in your industry earn in a month and how large their profit margins are? Are you curious about how many transactions similar stores process and how many customers they have? This report looks at the performance of over 13,000 retailers to uncover insights on:

  • Monthly revenues
  • Gross profit margins
  • Basket size
  • Transaction value
  • Number of customers

    Learn More

What about you?

Now that you know the average revenues of SMB retailers, do you have a better idea of how you measure up? What are some of the things you’re planning to do to improve?

About Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.