Retail success tips for 2021

April 27, 2023

We can all agree that 2020 was a bit of a disaster. But the new year is fast approaching, and what better time to regroup and start fresh than a new year with some valuable retail success tips? 

For many of us, 2020 was a hard year. But with the right preparation, we can make up for it in 2021. With 2021 comes hope for a Covid-19 vaccine, and for some return to normalcy – maybe not the ‘normal’ of pre-Covid, but a new kind of normal. If you haven’t already read our article about keeping your business thriving during Covid-19, you can read it here. Many of the same principles will still apply – retail will continue to flourish online, and marketing tactics like content creation and high engagement with your customers will still be an important part of business success in 2021.

Here are a few more tips for reaching retail success in the new year. 

Be prepared

As 2020 taught us, some things you can’t fully prepare for. There’s no way anyone could have predicted the extent of Covid-19 or how much it would have affected the global economy. While we are hoping for some kind of normal in 2021, we should not forget the lessons of 2020. Leave some room in your budget, or keep an emergency fund. Just in case.

Likewise, it’s a good idea to keep up with the news to make sure you’re prepared for upcoming situations. As we have learned in 2020, the global landscape has a huge impact on your business. Obviously, healthy and safety regulations are a must – but you can also learn about what events are being cancelled, resources for small businesses, and other kinds of relevant information that may impact your business.

Study past reports to make educated decisions

The best way to learn is to consult the past! Check your product and sales reports and take note of what items sold well, which employees performed well, which customers purchased the most, and what time of year saw the most sales.

Use the information you gather to make educated decisions for the next year, such as when to launch promotions, or which products to re-order and which products to ditch. Based on your reports, you may also find a staff member to promote for their excellent performance, or customers to pay extra attention to ensure their continued loyalty.

Even more, your finance reports will help you produce a more precise budget Look at your expense reports and see where you’re spending your money. In 2021, your priorities might be a little different than in previous yeats. So, perhaps you want to move your expenses around by cutting back in certain areas or investing in other areas. Now is the time to figure that out.

Upgrade your tools

You can’t have a fresh start if you’re still being dragged down by old inefficient business tools. It’s time to reflect on your processes and your business tools, and consider what’s really holding you back

Do you still have an old, clunky POS system that’s heavier than you are? It might be time to update to a more modern POS system that’s a little bit sleeker. Or, maybe it’s not the hardware – it’s the software. If your POS is holding your business back from growing, you may want to switch to a more scalable cloud-based POS system that will make it easier to expand operations as your business grows in 2021. 

Other tools to consider upgrading are your website, your payment processors, your inventory management tools, or your accounting tools, among others. It’s time to ditch the spreadsheets and wasting time doing processes by hand or with inefficient tools. Tools that automate tasks, such as an accounting tool that automatically sends out paystubs to your employees, will be a life saver. It will save you the time and energy you need to work on bigger tasks, such as improving your business strategy. To learn more about how to better manage your time, read our time management tips for store owners.

Set goals

After evaluating your business, it’s time to make a plan for the following year. Maybe you already have a long-term goal for your business – which is awesome – but it’s also important to break it down into smaller, achievable goals. Know what your priorities are – is it brand awareness? Is it increased revenue? Figure out what’s makes sense for your business, and make a plan to reach a set goal. 

Maybe your goal to reach retail success in 2021 is to expand your customer base. Set a measurable and definable goal to work towards – maybe you want to get 50 new customer profiles in your POS every month. To work towards this goal, you’ll need a plan to reach more and more new customers. Maybe your strategy includes a referral program, where existing customers can refer other people and get points with a points and rewards system, and new customers can get points for just signing up. Or maybe you want to give a small discount to customers who sign up for a customer profile in your POS. Figure out what is achievable, and what works for your business.

Introduce more sales channels

To be successful in 2021, you will need an online store. We all know that. But it doesn’t end there The more sales channels you have, the more customers you’ll reach and the more accessible your store will be for potential customers, and the more likely you’ll reach your retail success goals. Consider selling through social media, such as Instagram or Facebook, or selling through online marketplaces such as Amazon. Many ecommerce platforms such as WooCommerce allow you to connect your online store to these external retail channels. 

Motivate your staff

Your staff are your most important asset. They are the pillars of your business. If you want to succeed in 2021, motivate your staff to work hard and try their best. The best way to motivate your staff is to make a healthy and happy work environment – giving your staff enough vacation time, giving them a decent salary, and generally treating them with respect and making your business a good place to work. Staff who feel exploited, mistreated, or unappreciated won’t stay for long, and won’t be motivated to help you succeed.

To motivate your staff to try their best, make them care about the business. Get them involved in the business, educate them on the industry, get them interested in what your business is trying to accomplish. This, on top of maintaining a hospitable environment, will make your staff more likely to care about their job. 

Motivate them even further by setting goals for them and rewarding those who meet those goals. For example, if your goal is to expand your customer base, then give the staff that registers the most new customer profiles a prize at the end of every month. If your goal is to increase sales, set monthly sale goals for each staff to reach and reward those who reach it. It will be a fun incentive to get them to try harder. 

Know your limits and take care of yourself

Running a small business is hard. As an entrepreneur or a small business owner, you work hard every single day. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s the value of self-care under extreme stress. Be realistic in what you can accomplish, and don’t be too hard on yourself. If you overextend yourself, you’ll burn out quickly and be much less productive, and even worse, you might cause damage to your mental or physical health. It’s important to delegate tasks to your staff, hire externally for tasks you can’t accomplish easily, and give yourself enough time away from work.