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4 Pro Tips to Run a Successful Retail Business in 2023 These four tips will equip brands to run successful ecommerce businesses and remain competitive in an evolving retail landscape.

By Eric Netsch Edited by Chelsea Brown

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The evolution of business is accelerating, and with it comes a cataclysmic shift in traditional retail. Despite the unknown future of physical retail stores, ecommerce has proven to be here to stay. According to research completed by eMarketer and Statista, global online retail sales are slated to reach $6.51 trillion this year. As we settle into the new year, here are four tips for retailers to set a clear course toward success.

1. Have a deep understanding of what your customers want and need

Every market is competitive, and if you can't offer your customers exactly what they want, they will find it elsewhere. In addition, Salesforce reports that 66% of customers expect businesses to know their unique needs and expectations. Therefore, it's imperative to have a profound understanding of your customer's needs and pain points to offer the right solutions.

To understand what your customers need, you should engage in social listening, which is monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitor brands and related keywords.

Social listening requires you to identify your target customers and find out "where they live" online. Is it on Instagram? TikTok? Find where your customers are, and then evaluate what they are saying. Customers will tell you what they want and need.

Another way to get a better pulse on your customers' wants and needs is by monitoring customer reviews. Whether it be business reviews on Google or your mobile app, reading reviews can help gauge how customers feel about your brand and its products.

Related: 5 Effective Strategies to Grow Your Retail Business

2. Understand your market better than anyone, and leverage omnichannel experiences

You must know your market inside and out to meet your customer's evolving needs and remain competitive. Therefore, you first need to keep an eye on your competitor's product launches, new feature rollouts and other key activities. From there, it is important to gather and analyze industry data.

First, you should engage in competitor monitoring. Competitor monitoring helps you know what your competitors are doing — and determine what they're not doing. For example, suppose their customer base possesses a pain point that your competitors aren't addressing. In that case, it provides a massive opportunity for you and your retail business to address that market gap and create a solution that helps you stand out from the competition.

Monitoring your competitors can also help you determine how they engage with customers. Suppose retail businesses in your niche find great success on a specific social media platform or with SMS or push notification campaigns. In that case, it can help you tailor similar campaigns for your business and expand into new outreach and marketing channels.

From there, you will better understand how to build a truly omnichannel experience for customers. An omnichannel experience comprises several customer touchpoints over various channels to create a seamless, connected journey. If your competitors have a limited or ineffective omnichannel strategy, you'll be able to observe their practices and develop a better experience for customers. And if your competitors have an excellent omnichannel strategy, you'll be able to implement the same elements in your approach.

Second, you should analyze industry data to understand current (and future) trends better. Industry whitepapers, surveys and case studies can help shed some light on what is happening in the ecommerce landscape. You can collect some of these assets from heavy hitters in ecommerce (think Shopify), and you can lift the rest directly from your competitor's websites and other information channels.

Related: Future Of Retail Is Omnichannel

3. Build a team rooted in diversity and inclusion

A McKinsey study revealed that diverse businesses are 35% more likely to outperform competitors. So, building a team and fostering a company culture of diversity and inclusion is essential if you want to start 2023 on the right foot.

By bringing together a diverse group, you get a far-reaching set of life experiences and backgrounds. This can help you develop unique products and solutions for market gaps that other retail businesses might overlook.

You can build a diverse team by changing your recruitment practices. Look for individuals with different levels of experience, education, etc., and hire various team members based on how they will add value and contribute to the existing company culture. From there, promote a culture of inclusion by creating safe spaces for team members to express themselves. Safe spaces allow people to bring their "full selves" by mitigating risk in the workplace, which can help promote an environment for innovation and opportunity.

Another great way to do this is through advertising. Always ensure that your advertisement team uses models, photography and content that is inclusive and not an afterthought. Diverse advertisement helps customers feel represented and recognized and, therefore, be more likely to shop at your ecommerce store.

Related: Importance Of Diversity And Inclusion For Business Growth

4. Keep it simple

It can be easy to overcomplicate things, especially when implementing several new ideas for your business. However, you should keep it simple. The sole focus of any business strategy should be the customers, and ecommerce is no different.

When marketing to your target audience, it's essential to keep in mind that customers know when you are being inauthentic. Therefore, you must approach customers honestly and openly by engaging with them and making them feel seen and heard by your business. If your marketing campaign says, "We care what you have to say," then take the necessary steps to listen.

Once you have gained customers from your marketing efforts, prioritize the customer and deliver a streamlined and cost-efficient experience. For example, this could mean developing an easy-to-follow path to purchase or shortening the checkout process. From there, you can implement new ideas as they make the most sense in your business's ecommerce journey for your customers and business growth.

Here is my take: If you want to succeed in the retail space, start thinking about what your customer needs — where do they most want the experience to happen? Then make sure that's where the experience happens. There are still a lot of brick-and-mortar stores out there that are trying to compete against ecommerce, which is a losing battle. Change the game, find your competitive advantage, and win in 2023.

Eric Netsch

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of Tapcart

Eric Netsch is the co-founder and CEO of Tapcart, a codeless mobile app builder that helps Shopify’s fastest-growing brands to create an owned marketing channel so that they can reach, engage, convert, and retain their audience. Eric has been featured in TechCrunch, Business Insider, The Verge, etc.

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