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4 Ways to Improve Sales When Business is Slow

May 02, 2022

Ups and downs are just a part of life. They’re also a part of business. When business is slow, finding ways to increase sales and reverse a downturn is one of a retailer’s biggest challenges, and it’s something every single retail business deals with. It just comes with the territory.

Regardless of whether or not the factors that contribute to a sales slowdown are in your control, the trick is to learn to overcome the low points and proactively work toward improving sales to reclaim success. Luckily, there are skills and strategies you can adopt to help you win more customer leads, close more sales and get those revenue numbers going back in the right direction.

Here we’ll provide some proven techniques to reimagine your sales approach and incentivize your customers to shop.

Internal Gut Check: How’s Your Customer’s Experience?

First things first, though: Are your customers getting the best experience possible when they do business with you? Ultimately, what you’re selling must be something that enhances a customer’s life. You can follow all the sales strategies out there, but if your product or service is not fundamentally valuable to your customer — and if the customer does not feel happy and valued by you — your first step should be to make those in-house improvements. Then, you can apply the following marketing tactics to put those improvements into play and build your sales back up.

Why Your Store? Tell Your Story.

Did the statement above surprise you? The best marketers will tell you that it’s less about the thing customers want that drives them to shop with you and more about helping your customer make an emotional connection to your product or service. To paraphrase a quote from Maya Angelou: It’s not what you said, did or have that a person remembers — it’s how you (or the thing you’re selling) made them feel.

So how do you as a business owner or salesperson do that? By telling a story — or more specifically, your brand’s story. Any business — big or small — should reevaluate their storytelling strategy to pay off their brand’s mission in a way that compels customers to want to be part of it.

For instance: While it’s great that you have a small business that sells couches, there are dozens of other retailers that do, too. What makes your couch business better than the next? Is it that you own and operate a business that’s been in the family for four generations and has helped thousands in your community come together for shared moments with family? Tell that story, because it explains where your heart lies and shows you are motivated by something far beyond selling a product and making money for yourself.

Let Other Customers Tell Your Story, Too

Do you have social proof of your company’s attributes that you can leverage to boost sales? Right now your answer to that question may be this question: What does “social proof” even mean?

When we’re not sure how to act or behave in a given situation, we may look to those we trust to decide how to do so. So when consumers are trying to decide whether to get a certain product or patronize a certain business, they often benefit from the knowledge and experiences of that business’s other customers — people just like them. (1) When marketing to consumers, social proof takes many different forms, including word-of-mouth, featured testimonials, user-generated content, a popular loyalty program, case studies, ratings, reviews and so on.

These are actually only a few ways to solicit feedback from current customers and leverage it in such a way that builds brand equity. Take advantage of your digital touchpoints like social media, email marketing, e-commerce platform and website, and blogs to infuse positive social proof into your efforts. With this type of outreach you’ll be able to reassure prospective or on-the-fence customers about your brand’s values, as well as about the service your customers can (and should) expect to receive. By shining the spotlight on positive experiences from current and previous customers, you’ll invite others who want the same.

Provide a Compelling, Limited-Time Offer

Sometimes, it’s not so much that your customer doesn’t want your product or service — in fact, they might really want it — but the full price is higher than what they can afford. Fortunately, you don’t have to forgo their business. Instead, offer your product or service for a percentage or dollar amount lower than the original price for a period of time (you could even test different offers in your market).

Providing a special offer not only makes your product more affordable, but also makes the customer feel like they are scoring a deal. Creating an offer with a “limited time” window can instill a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) and compel shoppers to take action.

If you notice a lift in customer traffic and sales, you’ll know that this was an effective tactic to incentivize transactions. Likewise, if you test two or three offers with different customers, you’ll be able to track which offer was more successful. For future marketing efforts and campaigns, apply your learnings and keep trying new things — they’ll help you unearth the offers that perform best among your customers.

Offer the Shopping Power of Acima

Let’s take the previous tactic a step further. Sometimes, it’s not so much that your customer doesn’t want your product or service, even if they are getting it for a deal. They just can’t afford to pay with cash upfront, use credit or qualify for traditional financing. If you can’t close a transaction simply because you aren’t offering an alternative to financing, you are doing your business — and your customers — a big disservice.

Instead, with the help of Acima Leasing, you can provide America’s unbanked and underbanked consumers (including those who have less than perfect credit history) a way to get the things they need. If you’re a retailer that sells essential products like mattresses, home furniture, tires, electronics or appliances, this is especially huge. Not only do our point-of-sale, lease-to-own solutions* open the door to more customers, but you’ll have the power to provide that all-important customer experience and enhance your customers’ life.

Check Out Acima (and Their Social Proof)

Learn more about how Acima’s lease-to-own solutions can help you improve sales, win customers and achieve greater operational successes.

Need some “social proof” of your own? Read up on how these retailers like Chuck Wait Tire, Buckner Gold & Silver and Sweet Deals Mattress & Furniture have seen their business take off because of Acima’s lease-solution strategy!

(1) “Social Proof: What Is It and 18 Ways to Use It in Your Marketing” – Buffer Library