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The internet has changed the game for retailers around the world.
It’s no longer enough to compete with other nearby retail stores. Your customers know that every imaginable product can be found online and ordered with a few clicks, so if you can’t provide people with a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience, they’ll look elsewhere.
Retail business owners must be ready to meet the needs of consumers who demand more with any sale than ever before. It doesn’t matter what you sell or where you sell it, but it does matter that you give people good reasons to shop, buy, and come back for more. To do that effectively, you need so much more than some inventory and a couple of cashiers or an ecommerce storefront.
Shopping begins with a search, even at the local level, which makes it critical for your retail business to be found. In fact, four in five consumers will use a search engine to find local retail information before making a purchase. Nearly half the people who come to your retail store will research alternative retailers while they’re looking at your stuff!
If you’ve got an ecommerce store, it’s likely that nearly half the traffic to your website will be checking you out because they found your site with a Google search.
In order to make sales, your retail business must be visible online when potential customers look for the sort of products you sell. You can try to make yourself visible with search engine optimization (SEO), local listings, or through online paid ads.
There are many ways to become visible as a retailer, but unfortunately, none of them are cheap or easy to do right, including local listings. After all, what good is a Yelp profile if your customers keep leaving bad reviews?
Becoming a top-rated retailer requires a great customer experience, and you can’t rely on your workforce to delight customers and provide top-notch customer service if you don’t hire and train for this critical skill set. You need a great hiring process and you’ve got to have a way to train your workforce to do the right things at the right times to keep customers happy and coming back for more.
Many connected consumers now expect ongoing communication with their preferred retail brands as well.
That might involve sending updates on your latest sales, or providing customer service channels to answer questions and solve problems around the clock. This communication extends to ecommerce shipments, as buyers will want to know when their orders are arriving, and if necessary, how to return them.
All this communication requires a lot of technology, and an effective omnichannel customer experience solution is often quite costly.
Even if you’ve already handled all these critical issues, you’ve still got to contend with consumers who demand the best price and won’t care if your suppliers have begun charging you more for inventory. Staying competitive if your costs rise might be tough to handle if you’re not financially equipped for it.
You’re not alone in facing these challenges, but you don’t have to face them without help.
Qualifi has helped retailers of all sizes handle today’s challenges and reach tomorrow’s goals with a range of business loan options and other financing products. How can we help you today?