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15 Effective Ways How to Drive Sales in Retail

Encouraging people to step inside your shop for a closer look is a top priority for every small business owner. But how to drive sales in retail is not always easy. How many times have you watched people approach your business and then walk in the other direction?

You probably have an appealing window display, a colorful and witty exterior sign, or the enticing smell of fresh coffee — chances are you’re already doing something to attract attention. But once customers are in the door, how do you make them stay? Let us share some of the most effective ways how to drive sales in retail.

15 Ways How to Drive Sales in Retail

1. Offer Free Trial

Remember the last time you were at the ice cream shop? You went in intending to just get one scoop, but then you tried the new double chocolate chip cookie and raisin flavor and now your cup is overflowing with deliciousness.

Before you know it, one scoop of ice cream turns into two. And while it’s tempting to indulge, there’s a valuable lesson to be learned from this experience.

An irresistible taster is a powerful way to up-sell, gather feedback on a new product, and get people to try something they wouldn’t have thought of.

Juice bars and tea stores are great at doing this. For a little effort and investment, you can gauge customer interest and convince them to purchase your product.

2. Observe Customer Movement

If you’ve recently opened up a business, keep track of how your customers move through your space in the first few months.

You can tell a lot about how customers interact with your store by observing the way they interact with products. This information can help you optimize your store layout to better suit customer needs.

If customers can’t find what they’re looking for, they won’t be able to make a purchase. It’s important to get feedback from customers about the layout of your store and how products are displayed. This way, you can ensure that your store is relaxing and inviting, putting clients at ease.

3. Get Recommendations

A common tactic for coffee shops to expand their customer base is by offering referral incentives to existing customers. By offering rewards for referrals, coffee shops can encourage customers to spread the word and bring new business through the door.

These are becoming more and more commonplace, and function particularly well when both the customer and referral have something to gain. Referred customers are more likely to remain loyal, and referred businesses are more likely to receive new customers.

This can be applied to the retail and beauty industry too.

Have you ever tried on an item of clothing, decided it wasn’t for you, but thought it would look great on a friend or family member? You can use social media or simple loyalty cards that can be passed on to friends and relatives to encourage recommendations.

4. Try the Feel, Felt, Found Method

This is a great strategy for selling expensive products. Rather than focusing on the price of a product, emphasize the benefits and value the product brings.

5. Stock Up on What Sells

Even if your shop doesn’t have every size of clothing in stock, it’s important to have the most popular items on hand and to let customers know that other sizes are available if they inquire.

If you’re ever out of stock on an item, take the opportunity to collect your customer’s email address. This way, you can alert them when the item becomes available again.

6. Offer expert help

If you sell products like clothing and gifts which aren’t unique to your business, consider your space as a showroom. As shoppers, we’ve become accustomed to visiting physical shops to research a product before comparing prices online. You can use this to your advantage by creating a welcoming and informative environment in your store. By offering expert help and advice, you can turn casual browsers into paying customers.

Though some may see this as an unfair advantage that online retailers have, it provides you with the opportunity to establish yourself as a trusted expert. If you sell products that are niche, then it’s likely that the people coming into your store are already well-informed before they visit. You can use this to your advantage by providing them with even more knowledge about the product and its benefits. This way, you’ll be seen as a professional in your field who knows what they’re talking about.

If you want to come across as a professional, make sure that you have an encyclopedic knowledge of your product range and can speak confidently about the benefits of similar items. Consumers love hearing from experts, so showing off your expertise is a great way to build trust and credibility.

If you can offer expert help to people who are browsing in your store, you are much more likely to convert them into buyers. You are also less likely to lose them to online competition.

7. Create a Facebook In-store Offer

With offers on Facebook, you can easily drive customers to your store. People can pull up their coupons on their phones at the register.

When you create a Facebook in-store offer, you can choose to enable a barcode or QR code for customers to scan at checkout. This makes the whole process quick and easy. Plus, Facebook will remind those who have expressed interest in your promotion about when it is due to expire.

8. Optimize Your Countertop

Fill your counter with appropriate impulse buys such as decorated cookies, waterproof suede protector sprays, and attractive scarfs.

If you can manage to get just 20% of your customers to pick up an extra item at the end, it will make a big difference to your bottom line.

If you want to boost your sales, consider stocking products that compliment your top sellers and solve a problem. For example, optical lens cleaning products at the counter of a sunglasses shop cater to customers who want to keep their new investment clean and shiny.

9. Offer e-Receipts

At checkout, you can offer your customers an electronic receipt that is sent via email. This is a great way to save paper and be more eco-friendly!

As a business owner, e-receipts offer you the opportunity to capture your customers’ email addresses. This allows you to make them aware of seasonal sales and offers, and extend and create a relationship with that customer beyond your shop.

Asking your customers to enter their email address into a tablet at the point of purchase significantly reduces the risk of misspelling and provides you with an opportunity to create a relationship with them beyond the transaction. Why not incentivize the experience by offering them a gift card for signing up?

10. Offer Exclusivity

The value people place on things is directly related to how common or rare they perceive them to be. Something that is seen as being rare will be valued more highly than something that is perceived to be more common.

Martin Lindstrom, the author of “Buyology: Truth and lies about why we buy”, found that he could increase the sales of canned soup simply by adding the sentence “maximum 8 cans per customer”. This creates a feeling of exclusivity and scarcity that makes people want the product even more.

The price of the soup cans remained the same, yet people still bought more of them.

Make sure to let your customers know when items are available for a limited time only, or if specific products will be going off the shelves soon. This will trigger the feeling of scarcity and encourage them to make purchases more quickly.

11. Give Away Free Samples

In his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, Dr. Robert Cialdini explains that receiving a free gift makes people feel obligated to return a favor.

One study showed that waiters could increase their tips by 3% by offering peppermint to a diner after a meal. When they doubled their offer to two peppermints, their tips increased by 14%.

Giving shoppers a small freebie is a great way to make them feel good and increase the chances they’ll buy from you. Something as simple as a cookie or sticker can go a long way in making someone’s day – and your business’s bottom line.

12. Add an Expensive Option to a Middle-of-the-Road Item

Many customers want to get good value for money, but don’t want to buy the cheapest option.

You can leverage this attitude to increase sales of specific items. The trick is to add a very expensive alternative in the same product category. This will give buyers the impression that they are making a smart purchasing decision by choosing the middle-of-the-road option.

13. Appeal to the Senses

The right background music can influence not only how much people spend, but also what they buy.

If you want to give your store a more sophisticated image, try playing some jazz or classical music. Customers who come in while this type of music is playing may be more likely to spend more money than if they had walked into a store playing pop or rock music.

Lindstrom found that the smell of apple pie in an appliance store led to a 23% increase in sales of ovens and fridges.

14. Display Popular But Cheap Items Up Front

If you want to increase your chances of making a sale, put popular but inexpensive items by the entrance. This will get people to buy more items once they’re inside the store.

A great way to take advantage of this effect is to place low-price, popular items like candy or newspapers near the cash register.

This type of product is perfect for small, last-minute impulse buys because customers usually don’t have to think about it for long before buying.

15. Offer Surprise Rewards

Surprise rewards are a great way to show your appreciation and make someone feel special. Unexpected rewards can also be a fun way to add excitement to an otherwise mundane task.

To keep your customers happy, send them a surprise coupon. However, avoid running repeated promotions, such as offers valid every Thursday.

How to Get Out of Your Sales Slump

When sales slump, you can take some proactive steps to help improve your bottom line. You can create your own holiday, advertise more, generate a buzz, examine your pricing strategy, redesign your store layout, connect with the customer, or create an event. All of these things can help give you a boost when business is slow.

Are you having a slow day? There are a few things you can do to stay productive. First, take a look at your LinkedIn profile and make sure it’s up-to-date. You never know when a potential customer or client will come across your profile.

Secondly, go to Twitter and connect with others in your industry. See what they are talking about and join the conversation.

Finally, take some time to brainstorm new ideas for marketing or product development. By staying active and engaged, you’ll be ready to take advantage of any opportunities that come your way.


How to drive sales in retail? Sales strategies are only effective if you understand how the human brain works. By using the right approach for your industry and target market, you can ensure that your sales strategy is as effective as possible. Always remember to combine these strategies with great customer service for the best results.