Ten ways to improve your offer

Business owner planning business improvements with her team

Whether you sell to consumers or business customers, buyers want the same thing - they are looking for quality products and great customer service as well as value for money. So if you want to stay competitive, consider these ideas for improving your offer

1. Review your product portfolio

Take a look at the products and services you offer. How well are you meeting the needs of your customers? Are there any gaps in your offer? Study the sales data on your Point of Sale system or accounting app to monitor which product lines are selling well. You may be surprised to learn what is flying off the shelves (and what isn’t) when you look at the figures.

2. Respond to change

It’s essential to respond quickly to changing trading conditions, new trends and technological developments. Tough times, in particular, can inspire ingenious thinking and challenges can bring new opportunities. The COVID pandemic has shown that businesses that adapt or pivot can survive and even thrive in the most difficult situations.

3. Expand your existing offer

There are lots of ways to offer more to your customers without straying too far from your core business. Consider adding a premium range of products, try bundling your products and services together or add new services that complement your existing offer. Many firms have successfully scaled up by offering related products or by diversifying into new areas: for example, garden centres selling gifts and household furniture.

4. Encourage your customers to leave reviews

Customer reviews are crucial when it comes to improving your offer - not only do they give you valuable customer feedback that you can act on but they also give new customers the confidence to buy from you. Encourage your customers to leave online reviews by prompting them with an email once they’ve made a purchase.

5. Invest in automation

There are never enough hours in the day when you run your own business. Online tools, apps and automation can give you more time to focus on customer care and they will help your business run more smoothly. Look for business apps that will save you time on processing orders, sending invoices, doing your accounts, emailing customers and posting on social media.

6. Give customers more

Improving customer service can bring in new business and boost loyalty from your regulars. Offering extras, such as free local delivery or special offers for repeat customers won’t cost the earth but can strengthen loyalty and improve customer satisfaction. It also pays to keep in contact with customers using your email contact list to send updates and newsletters so your business stays front of mind when your customers are considering their next purchase.

7. Develop new sales channels

How easy it is for customers to buy from you? You can significantly boost sales by selling online. If you’re not ready to build your own ecommerce website, consider selling via established online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy. You could also consider selling your products via one of your social media channels.

8. Motivate your staff

If your employees are in the doldrums, your business is likely to suffer. So it’s vital to make sure your staff are feeling energised and motivated. Make time for regular catch-ups with individual employees as well as organising team-building activities. If you can’t reward staff with a big pay rise, consider offering other job perks, such as flexible hours or extra holiday.

9. Set aside more time for marketing

It may not be your product or service that is holding you back, but your approach to marketing. To get the most out of email marketing, social media and online advertising you need to set aside time to manage them on a regular basis. It’s better to focus on two or three core marketing activities and do them properly rather than spreading yourself too thin.

10. Get a fresh perspective

It’s not uncommon for business owners to find themselves stuck in a rut. If you’re feeling under par, it’s a good idea to ask other business owners, friends or mentors for their input. Trusted advisors can help you solve problems, make new contacts and bring in fresh ideas.

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