Regardless of how successful your business is, there is always room for improvement. The best way to improve business is to stay ahead of the game. This seems like a daunting task. In reality, it's simple: know your competitor, know your customer, and understand how you can separate yourself from your competition.
How to Keep Your Business Ahead of the Competition
Here are 8 simple ways you can keep yourself ahead of the game.
1. Know Your Competition
The best way to stay successful in your business is to understand what your customer's other options are. You need to know who you're up against. What are their unique selling points? What are the things that make customers come back to their business instead of yours specifically? Staying ahead of the game means being better than your competitors.
2. Know Your Customers
What's important to your customers? The best way to get to know your customers is by communicating with them. Take more time to talk with them while they're in your business. Reply to their reviews on things like Yelp or Google Reviews. When you solve their problems quickly and publicly, it gives you a better reputation for customer service. If you find that there are some specific things a lot of customers are bringing up, address them specifically. If your customers are bothered by single-use plastic, consider using something like these wooden spoons instead. This shows your customers that you care what they have to say.
3. Set Yourself Apart
Why should customers choose your business over your competitors? This is called your unique selling point or USP. This doesn't have to be anything major, it can be something as simple as "We have the most flavor-combinations of any coffee shop in the city," or "Our loyalty program gives a better reward." If you don't know what your USP is, your customers won't either.
One major thing you could do to set yourself apart is using custom cups. Your customers will see your logo even after they leave your store. It's free advertising for you. Click here to learn more about custom products.
4. Reward Loyal Customers
Returning customers spend 67% more on average than new customers (according to HubSpot). The biggest reason people come back to businesses is loyalty programs. Whether it's an app or a physical punch card, anything that offers customers an incentive to return is good for your business. Here's an article about deciding the loyalty program you should be using.
5. Expand Your Market
Returning customers are an important part of any business but they can only generate so much revenue. You need to be constantly attracting new customers. Ask yourself who else, other than your target audience, would be interested in your product? Could you expand your variety of products? Could you offer delivery (from someone already employed or through an app like DoorDash)? Reaching out to new customers helps your business to succeed regardless of the economic climate.
6. Have Promotions
One major thing that brings both new and returning customers to your business is promotions. Even if it's a small sale, the sale itself will be enough to drive traffic. Try offering sales for holidays or on overstocked product. According to Business Insider, people spend more money when there's a sale than they do normally. Offering promotions on products gains you both more traffic and revenue.
7. Keep Track of Data
Another part of knowing your customer is knowing how they respond to you. When you post something online, you can see how many people interact with it. Keeping a record of this allows you to understand what your customers best respond to. Another way to keep track of your customers is to document how much they use your loyalty program. If it's digital, you can check the analytics through the system you use. If it's physical, you could have your employees keep track. They could tally the number of punches they make or keep a box of fully-used punch cards that are brought back. You won't know how well your loyalty programs are doing if you don't do your research.
8. Keep Your Online Presence Up-to-Date
Just like it's important to keep your store clean and tidy, your online presence should be too. Frequently, your coffee shop website or social media is your customer's first impression of your business. It needs to be consistent with the branding of your physical location. To learn more about having a consistent online presence, read this post about creating a cohesive brand.
Keeping your business ahead of the game is an important part of success. Knowing your competitors and your customers is a big part of that. You need to understand what sets apart your business from your competition. This is the difference between a business doing okay and a business thriving. If you follow these 8 steps, your business will be ahead of the game.