Rather than being intimidated by big retailers, your small or mid-sized business would do well to view them as an invaluable source of lessons learned. Large companies typically get large by investing enormous sums of time and money into figuring out how to operate as profitably as possible. So, save your own resources and take advantage of these 5 lessons from big retailers.
1. Delegate to Accelerate Results
The ability to maintain a big-picture focus is what allows many fledgling entrepreneurs to succeed with their long-term objectives. Business owners are notorious multitaskers on all operational levels. But it’s unrealistic to expect to have the time or the skill set necessary to effectively spearhead every area of your firm as you grow. And that’s why delegation is crucial.
Business behemoths like Richard Branson (who started out with a single record store) understand how daunting it can be to offload important duties to team members. But they’ve also learned that it’s impossible to scale a small business if you insist on trying to do everything yourself.
2. Turn Staff into Superstars
To make delegation a little easier, consider investing in the ongoing development of your workforce to turn them into a top-performing team. With close to $500 billion in annual revenues, you needn’t look further than Walmart for inspiration in terms of what a successful employee training program can do for your business.
As the world’s largest retailer – with more than 1 million store associates in the US alone – Walmart has invested heavily in its people. The company’s growth and development initiative has spawned 200 Walmart Academies across the United States, each providing associates with the tools and skills needed to perform better professionally, and achieve greater success for the organization as a whole.
3. Let Technology Pave the Way to Profitability
Augmenting your superstar team with technology is a great way to free up more time to concentrate on broad scope pursuits like strategy and growth. Large retailers regularly leverage automated and AI-assisted tools and systems for everything from data entry and inventory control, to customer service chatbots.
According to Business Insider, “The hype around artificial intelligence has never been higher — and one industry where it has a chance to make a major impact on profits is retail.” AI is expected to boost profitability in the retail sector almost 60% by 2035. So it’s never too soon to find ways to incorporate the latest software and apps into your business operations.
4. Collaborate to Innovate
It’s crucial to embrace innovation if you want your company to remain competitive. But if the notion of trying out fresh technologies, product lines, or sales strategies leaves you leery, consider the benefits of encouraging more collaborative relations with your supply or manufacturing partners.
Brand giants like Maybelline are a perfect example of how successful companies rely on trade partners to share real-time information in today’s consumer-facing retail industry. Communicating critical data about everything from inventory levels to customer segmentation has the potential to power greater success for everyone involved.
5. Use Data to Drive Your Decisions
Mega companies like Costco and Target have long since learned to capitalize on the data they gather to make inspired business decisions. And the good news is that many tools designed to collect and deliver customer insights are as readily available to your small business as they are to the big-box stores.
Today’s analytics provide information that’s vital to company growth, whether you sell online or off. POS and retail management software, for example, can monitor and analyze your inventory, sales, and customer buying habits, while tools like Google Analytics help turn website traffic and sales data into action-oriented results.