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3 Ways to Improve Your Retail Business With $250 or Less


Minyang Jiang


Ready to take your retail business to the next level but not sure you can afford to? Think again.

Nowadays, investing in your company doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are countless solutions available to small business owners that help increase customer visibility and drive sales. Consider how the resources below can help improve your business for a small investment of $250 or less.

Investment #1: Mobile Point of Sale 

What’s more important than accepting and processing payments for your business? Nothing — unless you consider the marketing, merchandising, and countless other efforts that impact customer purchase decisions. (But we’ll get to that later.) First, consider how you’re currently processing payments. Are you restricted to a cash wrap area that limits your opportunity to engage with customers? Are you able to take your business beyond your physical walls and process payments where ever you want to, or more importantly, need to? Or have you already embraced mobile technology to help your business thrive beyond your wildest dreams?

Mobile point of sale (POS) solutions are fantastic for businesses of all sizes and in nearly any business category. From restaurants to retailers to street vendors to salons to wholesalers and more, processing payments via mobile solutions delivers ease and convenience while also being effective in customer transaction expectations. Receipts can easily be texted, emailed, or voided to customers, while the business management of mobile POS devices are affordable and easy.

Square, for example, offers free readers that require little setup, and the company only charges 2.75% per swipe. Another option is Vend, which offers additional features including business website integration and inventory management at a higher, yet still affordable cost — beginning  at just $59 per month plus processing fees. With mobile POS options both accessible and affordable to small businesses, it seems almost too obvious that this is a technology in which you should invest.

Investment #2: Email Marketing 

If you’re like most folks, email is something you never want to avoid, but skipping a few days on social media isn’t the end of the world. While social media is certainly something all businesses can easily and affordably invest time in, email marketing still remains one of the top drivers of business.

Whether you want to direct people to come to your physical business location or are aiming to direct them to your website, email marketing can help you do this,” says Ron Cates, Director of Digital Marketing Education for Constant Contact. “More so, however, email marketing will help you do this better than any other digital effort,” Cates further explains.

Cates makes some valid points, especially when you consider that a 2015 report shared by Salesforce identified that 73% of marketers agree that email is core to their business efforts and 74% believe email produces or will produce ROI in the future.

Expanding on this, consider how email helps your other digital marketing efforts. Not only can email link directly to all your social media feeds to share information, but it can also be directly forwarded to potential customers not currently on your email list. Many email accounts are free to start — such as Mail Chimp — while some others are minimal in their rates. And while costs can add up if you let them (design options, larger email lists, etc.), the cost of not incorporating email marketing into your business strategy seems much greater.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of data generated from email. Conversion rates are easily measured with email, and your business is able to more proactively create effective email marketing strategies based on past email successes, and misses as well.

Investment #3: New Signage 

Often, businesses feel as if they can’t clearly communicate with their clientele because there’s simply too much to say in too limited a time. To help ease this frustration, consider how signage can help communicate your business details.

Whether you want to identify a store return policy, provide an easy to read sign that helps direct people to different areas within your business space, or aim to share publicity received through displays, incorporating new signage can help strengthen your customer communication, clarification and overall consumer experience.

Future events, upcoming promotions, recent industry awards, and so much more can be incorporated into your business experience and overall environment through signage. The catch? A sharpie and a piece of white paper doesn’t do the trick. Instead, invest in professional signage that adds visual appeal to your business space while also delivering the messages you aim to share.

For smaller signage — such as return policy information, promotional postcards and more — Moo.com offers a great variety of pre-designed templates that can be customized for your business, and they also welcome your own designs for print. For larger signage needs, consider a local printing company.

A Final Thought 

When investing in your business, consider the impact it will have on your customers. Will it help to engage them in their experience with your brand? Will it support them in their buying decisions? Will it make your life — and your business — more successful?

While $250 may not seem like a lot, it can actually go a long way if you spend wisely. Mobile POS, email marketing, and smart signage can help you achieve this.