How Answering 3 Simple Questions Can Triple Your Bottom Line!

The chances are that if, as an online or bricks and mortar retailer, you can't answer these three questions, you are leaving most of your profits up for grabs by your competition.

So, what are those 3 magic questions? Glad you asked:

  1. How did the customer find you?
  2. What did they do when they walked through the door?
  3. Did they buy anything, and if so how much did they spend?
This could have been the shortest article on the blog, because I've just given you the three magic keys that will unlock the potential of your retail business. And, that's not just sales hype.

(Okay, there's a bit in there, because I want to to get excited -- you'll take it in better -- but bear with me: I'm not selling anything except myself!)

Whoever you turn to for marketing philosophy, and my favourite is Dan Kennedy, the initial message is usually the same. A retail business has to do three things:
  1. Get customers.
  2. Get customers to spend more.
  3. Get customers to spend more frequently.
See the link?

Obviously, there are many different ways to approach this -- from referrals to mailing lists, product launches to affiliate schemes -- as well as huge differences between online and offline strategies, but all growth strategies start by looking at these three areas.

Let's do a little walk-through.

If you know how your current customers find you, then, you can figure out how to get more. Even if you don't have any customers, or even visitors, you can still work out how to get more by using the Zero Traffic Keyword Research Technique.

What about number 2? Well... ideally you'd like to give everyone that walks through the door a stopwatch and GPS tracker to see what they get up to. 

In the bricks and mortar world of retailing, the closest you can realistically get is a simple time-and-motion study to try and see what products are being sold. Not to mention whether they're sold together, and where shoppers spend their time...

Online, however, there are many tools to help you figure out what your visitors are doing. For example, Google Analytics has a graphical display that shows you where they come in, where they drop out, and what they do along the way (as well as how long they spend doing it.)

Most of my clients has only ever used this for funnel analysis; but I think that's a waste, especially since you can combine it with Search Console data to see which keywords are driving their behaviour!

Then there's number 3, which is always a tougher nut to crack.

If you're in a 'replenishables' business (think printer cartridges, or razor blades) you have a built-in reason to get your customers to come back and buy more of your products.

In both the online and offline world, the best way to achieve repeat sales is through a list. An online mailing list through which you can continue to offer wisdom, ideas, and solutions, or its offline equivalent which is usually combined with a loyalty programme.

Of course, unlike in Ghostbusters, these streams can be mixed.

Keyword research is helpful here, too, because you want to participate in a conversation that is already going on in the market, and the best way to make sure you're doing that is to see what the market is looking for online.

Those are the three questions; and I've given you some of the many ways that they can be answered. The next bit is over to you -- depending on how much groundwork you've done, it might take an hour per week, or it might take a day.

The trick is to do it on an ongoing basis, and make sure that you are getting 100% out of your online traffic, or real world footfall.