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You cannot fail to notice that we are in the middle of a recession.  And that means this is a troubling time for many small businesses.

But there are things that you can do to keep your customers coming back for more, even if they aren’t spending at the same levels that they were before the recession began.  It may take a while to get all of these methods working at their optimum levels, but it is always worth experimenting with them to get the best possible results you can.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to make a difference to the money your small business is bringing in.

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Newsletters

How can a newsletter help you to sell more?

Well firstly it reminds people that you exist.  While we would all like to think our customers remember us for all the right reasons, that isn’t always going to be the case.  That’s why we must do everything we can to keep our business at the forefront of their minds.

Newsletters are a great and inexpensive way of doing that.  We’re talking about email newsletters here of course, where all you have is the small expense of getting an autoresponder account to keep up with the management of a regular monthly newsletter.

This newsletter can be used to tell people about new additions you have in your shop – whether that is online or whether you have a physical shop as well.  You can also write useful and helpful articles that your customers would appreciate.  And of course you can recommend certain products you sell as well.

Most businesses agree that whenever they send out a newsletter of this type, they get an increase in sales immediately afterwards as a result.  Wouldn’t that provide a welcome boost to your business?

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Discounts

Everyone loves a bargain, and it pays to have regular discounts on specific items that you sell.  This method can also be used to generate quick cash from old stock that you want to get rid of.

Some businesses have taken discounting to great lengths, especially online.  One company has Wild Wednesdays where they give big discounts on a small number of lines.  They get the word out via their weekly email newsletters, and you can be sure that a large number of people buy other regular priced items as well.

Sometimes it is the case that selling an item at cost price can make you more money further down the line, so never ignore the idea of discounting.

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Free Delivery

If you have an online business and you want to attract more customers, free delivery is one of the best ways to do it.

There are two methods you can use here.  Firstly you can offer free delivery on everything and bear the cost of the delivery charges yourself, possibly by putting up the prices on the stock.  Secondly you could offer free delivery on every order that is worth more than a specified amount – say £30 for example.  This helps you to offset the costs and it also encourages people to spend a bit more if they are close to the £30 when they are ordering.

Make sure you work out the figures before deciding how to do this though.  Don’t jump straight in, otherwise you could end up losing money with the extra delivery charges you will have to pay for.

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Free Gifts

Buy two and get one free.  Buy the phone and get the charger free.  Buy eleven months subscription and get one month free.

There are lots of different examples of free gifts, but they all have one thing in common.  They tempt people into ordering with you instead of with someone else.

One thing you should always remember is that unless you are selling something that is unique to you, there are bound to be other people who are selling that same item.  That means you have to give people a reason to order from you over anyone else.

Free gifts are always very tempting, but they should be related to the item that is being sold.  Some small businesses offer a selection of free gifts that the customer can choose from.  They only get one item, but having a choice means they are more likely to get something they will like and use.

Combining Everything

This is the best part!  The more you can offer your customers in the way of value and good service, the more likely it is that they will order from you.  It is also more likely that they will remember you and keep coming back for more as well.

And that will take you through the recession and beyond, and see you in a much stronger position as a result.

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