A successful retail strategy refers to the careful planning required to increase sales at store level in a bricks and mortar store. A full retail life cycle includes having a balanced retail environment, greeting customers, building rapport, understanding their needs, handling objections, closing sales and follow ups. When done well, a beautiful setting in tandem with great customer service is the differentiator. In the old days, stores could count on endless customers and rely on a hit and miss attitude. But today, the market is way too competitive for that kind of attitude. So top retailers have a step-by-step strategy with two interplaying features - the first lies in how the environment is set up. The second lies in the skills of the sales staff to encourage engagement and convert to sales. 

The physical requirements of a good retail environment


While you may not be able to change the location of your store, you can absolutely influence the appearance and in-store experience. First impressions really matter so professional signage and beautiful fittings make all the difference. 

Merchandising and layout

The way your store is laid out sends powerful messages to your customers. Strategic merchandising gently takes the customer on a journey, educates them and encourages them to try and buy. 

Store appearance

Ensure your store has good lighting to create a mood and flattering lighting for your product. Good lighting affects the entire retail journey considering how it affects colour and how outfits look on you in the change room. Also consider the colour of the store which will affect your customer’s mood while they shop.


Perhaps your product line is slimmed down and niche or perhaps you offer a wide selection. Whatever the mix, every item on the store floor needs to serve a purpose and should make sense being there. Also don’t be afraid to bundle sell. Always keep in mind you are upselling something that will be useful to your customer and will make life better. So help staff by bundling products upfront in your store layout to guide staff when suggesting products to your customer in the sales journey. 

What are the 5 essential skills required in a top retail sales strategy?

Good greetings

Your customer needs to feel welcomed by a warm and positive attitude. Allow the customer time to enter and then greet them in a positive manner.

Create contact windows

This entails finding something genuine that you can build rapport with the customer. Look for windows of opportunity to talk to your customer, share something honest about yourself and ensure there is something trustworthy between you. 

Ask the right question

Ask one general question to get some insight into what the customer is looking to achieve. This is important as you are looking to figure out what they need so you can address it effectively.

Understand features and benefits

Features are facts and people don’t buy into features. Rather they buy into the benefits they can get if they have these features on hand. So the trick is explaining the features and benefits in one breath so the customer immediately understands how the product will satisfy their needs. 

Close with an add-on

This is where the retailer tries to increase the basket size. Try painting a picture that clearly demonstrates the benefits of an additional product before buying the one they came to purchase.  

The bottom line

In today’s competitive climate, retailers have to pay close attention to their overall retail sales strategy. This relies on striking a balance between creating a beautiful shopping environment, and making the right decisions in the sales process. When done effectively everybody scores because not only are you making a sale but customers are getting their needs met, which is a win-win for everyone involved. 

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