5 Ways to Increase Your Retail Sales in a Down Economy

improve retail sales

It’s no secret the economy is struggling.  Looking at retail sales data you can clearly see that things are down for everyone.  So, rather than just taking a hit and chalking it up to a down economy, we say the greatest opportunities for growth and success happen when things look bleakest.

Now that you’ve decided to fight back, here are a few tips for increasing retail sales — even when the economy is struggling.

Step 1 – Up-To-Date Pricing

Consumers have more options than ever — especially considering their ability to immediately check your price against a competitor’s using a smart phone. In order to get their business, you need to have the right price.  We’re sure you’re watching the numbers, especially your retail sales forecast, but remember that everybody loves a good sale.  Whatever your strategy for getting there, make sure your customers feel like they got the best product for the best deal. So whether it’s putting something up at a huge discount or putting up a handful of things in each department with a smaller discount, make sure you’re giving consumers a reason to spend.


Step 2 – Consistent and Relevant Signage

If you’re still promoting the stuff you had on sale last month, you probably need to update your signage. If your signs are faded and worn,  you probably need to update your signage.  If the signs throughout your store don’t have a consistent look and feel, you probably need to update your signage.  Keeping up with the trends will make your signs and banners stand out. You’re not just selling retail, you’re selling your brand and your image. Don’t forget the value good signage can have when looking for ways to increase retail sales.

Step 3 – Move The Needle

How much does traffic increase or decrease when you promote or market an upcoming sale you’re having? Do you see a big surge or just a slight uptick? You need your promotions to make a big difference because every dollar counts when you’re in a stagnant economy. Put a lot of thought into how you want to promote your big sales and seasonal items so people start coming on slow days or start spending more at your store despite their hesitancy to do so in a difficult economic climate.

Step 4 – Sale-Centric Store Layout


You need to take a step back and look at your store as a whole. Does the flow make consumers want to take their time and fill up their carts or walk through in a hurry and get out? Show your customers you value their opinion. Why not pay a few people to come in at night and give you an idea of what type of flow they like, what should be where, and what draws them in? This will give you a fresh set of ideas and maybe you’ll start looking at your store a little differently.  Direct feedback from a focus group of your target markets will help immensely.


Step 5 – Inspire Your Employees

Employees are one of a retail store’s greatest assets.  They have a huge impact on the way customers feel while they are in your store and, as a result, have a huge impact on your ability to improve retail sales.  Inspire your employees to perform to their full potential. Encourage them to be ready to assist consumers whenever they have a question or need something. Advise them to encourage customers to check out certain deals and recommend complementary products and services offered by your store. Your customers want to feel appreciated. Your employees can show your customers they are valued and that you appreciate them choosing you over a competitor.


While we’re all waiting for the retail sales forecast to improve, hopefully these tips will help you get a leg up on the competition.


Nelson James

Nelson James is the chief operating officer of Signs.com and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company. Prior to joining the Signs.com team, Nelson was the president and co-founder of SEO.com. For over 6 years he helped to grow the company from 2 to over 85 employees. Nelson managed many large accounts during his tenure at SEO.com, including Dell.com. In early 2011, Nelson was recruited to Lendio Inc., where he was VP of marketing and was responsible for the creation and management of a marketing team as well as the strategy, tactics and programs to create interest and demand for Lendio’s products and services. Prior to his work experience, Nelson graduated Cum Laude from Brigham Young University in marketing and advertising from the communications department. Nelson lives in Lehi, Utah with his wife and three children. He currently holds leadership positions in scouting and volunteers in his church and community.