Retail brands: 5 key steps to growth

Retail brands: 5 key steps to growth

Posted: Thu 13th Jan 2022

If there’s one thing most retail brands think about almost constantly, it’s this: How are we going to scale? From day to day, week to week and year to year, they’re considering (and often worrying about) how they’re going to take the next step towards growth.

And understandably so. In an ever-busier market that’s constantly changing, it’s crucial to stay on top of your strategy to make sure your sales continue to go in the right direction. As stressful as it may seem, it doesn’t have to be a totally overwhelming process. In fact, you just have to focus on five key steps.

Let’s walk through each of them.

Step 1: Having a true unique selling point (USP)

What’s your USP? Be honest.

Brands often reel off a series of facts about their business that don’t really tell you much about why they’re different. To nail this, you don’t need stats and figures, just emotions.

Think about how you’re solving a customer’s problem. How are you helping them with something that makes them upset, frustrated, angry or any other negative emotion! Then, tie in your brand’s beliefs and values and your one-off quality as a founder.

This will give you a clear picture of what it is that only you can do or how you can deliver it in a unique way.

On this topic, it’s also important to know your positioning within the market. While it’s not something to obsess over, it can be very powerful to continue to align your USP with consumer trends. That way, not only will you stand out when pitching to buyers, but also to customers.

Step 2: Perfecting your distribution strategy

A brand is great. But if it isn’t making sales, it isn’t a business.

To generate revenue, you absolutely need to using your distribution channels to convert potential customers into sales. There are two key ways to do this:

  • Direct to consumer (DTC)

  • Via a retailer

If you’re wondering which to go for, try both! There aren’t any purely DTC businesses that haven’t invested large amounts in digital or didn’t have an already existing, massive audience that’s powered their success.

So, while DTC is important, you should also opt for some retailers. Aim for larger ones that align perfectly with your ideal audience. This is simply because managing several small ones can get difficult. But being stocked by a larger retailer can build brand awareness and trust, thereby creating a “halo effect” in your own sales channels.

Make sure that you consider both physical and online retail, as well as the key cities (regional and international) where your ideal customer is likely to be. However, always establish yourself in your home country before setting your sights internationally.

Step 3: Being seen and heard in a number of places

Brands sometimes feel overwhelmed by how much marketing they feel there is to do. They don’t believe they have the time to be on all of the platforms they should be, or posting as much as they should be.

There’s no denying that marketing and sales go hand in hand though. You can’t expect sales to just fall into your lap. You have to encourage potential customers to buy from you. And to do this, you must understand what makes people do that, and then emphasise it.

To be able to market effectively, without it using up all of your time, convert all of your effort into sales. Not just some of it – all of it!

You do this by producing brilliant content in the right places. In this free training, you can learn how to focus on the most profitable channels first. So many brands invest in PR or digital marketing before having foundations in place. Then, they simply don’t see the conversions.

Step 4: Building a killer network

In the business world, the power of simply knowing people can’t be understated. There are two important type of networks to make the most of:

  • Industry experts: That’s why platforms like Enterprise Nation are so valuable.

  • Peers: They’ll be able to cheer you on and support you in areas in which they’re experienced but you’re not. And vice versa, of course!

How can you make these connections? Find Facebook groups, hunt through relevant hashtags on social media and make sure you attend plenty of events.

On the topic of networks, it’s also important to start thinking about building a team if you want to scale your brand. Focus on starting small, by outsourcing the tasks that you aren’t expert in or don’t enjoy.

Step 5: Understanding your cash flow

This is the part where brands really start to quake in their business boots! But, there’s no denying it, cash flow really is king.

To understand yours, you need to be thinking about both sales and profit. Identify your key performance indicators (return on investment? average transaction value? sales per square foot?), so you can understand which distribution channels you need to focus on to make yourself more profitable.

Many brands think they need outside investment, which can take a lot of time and energy away from growing the business. That’s why you should look to launch with a minimum viable product, to generate sales, build interest and develop strong partnerships. As the sales boost, there may be other solutions, instead of funding.

By going through these five key steps, your brand will inevitably scale beyond what you may even be able to imagine. These are the factors I’ve seen behind every successful retail business. And it’s time for you to join that list!

Relevant resources

Wizz is the founder of WIZZ&CO, a luxury brand and retail consultancy born from her passion for sourcing and building innovative brands, combined with that of developing unique consumer experiences. As Head of Beauty at Selfridges and Director of Cowshed Beauty and Soho Home, fifteen years in the industry have provided experience across brands at all stages of their development. It is the cross-pollination of ideas between startups and large corporates that fuels her knowledge of business growth.

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