Yes, the online world has had an impact on retail, but the high street still has a place; a big place. You see, while online stores offer shoppers a cost-effective alternative and an easy experience, it is the experience it lacks.

But owning a shop – a shop made out of bricks and mortar – isn’t easy. It comes with risk, it comes with pain and anguish, stress and sleepless nights, and it often begs the question, “what is the number one thing a retailer can do to improve? What can a retailer do to better market themselves and grow the business?

Well, we have spoken to the entrepreneurs behind some of the biggest successes and most famous failures and here are their best pieces of advice to grow your success.

1. Give the shopper a reason

There is nothing you have that a shopper needs; that is something you have to accept. Either you are selling them a luxury or you are selling them something that they can buy from elsewhere.

That is why you need to give them a reason to pop into your store, such as promotions. It could be that you hold an exclusive event, limited products that are only available in-store or give online shoppers a voucher that is only redeemable when they step through the doors.

2. Open up elsewhere

One of the most effective ways to grow your business is to open up in more than one location. By doing this you are expanding your net, getting your name out there and moving from small boutique to big brand. Yes, this requires capital, but you have options here.

First off, you could look at getting a loan by going down one of the traditional routes, and even combine that with the funds you have acquired from a merchant cash advance company. However, you could also look at crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending or even offering your brand as a franchise opportunity. All of these are options that are worth exploring.

3. Make your store attractive

There is always ways you get make your store more attractive to your customers, it is just about knowing where you can improve and how. People come to a store because they like what you sell, like your brand and like the experience they get, so work on these areas. Look at your window display and decide whether it is working as a spontaneous marketing tool.

Look at the layout of your store, the lighting, the rails and space; always use the space to your advantage. But don’t stop there. Add a coffee machine and offer your shoppers a drink. Have a seating area tucked away in a corner somewhere? Have a popcorn machine too; not only is it cheap to make, and a little something to add to your uniqueness, it also smells great. Who wouldn’t want to shop somewhere that smells like popcorn?

4. Always do the research

There is always something you can be researching, so make sure you are. It could be your competitors and their customers. It could be your inventory, working out what is selling and what is costing you money. Perhaps you need to research new marketing approaches or research your employees before you hire them.

It could even be that you need to research the trends of your target demographic, or whether you are doing all you can with your sales strategies and your merchandising. The more you research the more knowledge you will attain and, well, we all know what knowledge is and in this instance it is growth.

Founding Editor @Alltopstartups, Contributor @Entrepreneur, Columnist @Inc. Magazine and Curator at Postanly (his free weekly digest of the best life and career improvement posts on the web. Subscribe for free.

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