26 search results for “Lauren Ufford”

Fraud Prevention: How to Kick Bogus Transactions to the Curb

Fraud Prevention: How to Kick Bogus Transactions to the Curb

Fraud prevention for retailers | Shopify Retail blogWhether your retail business is primarily ecommerce or if you’re operating one or more brick-and-mortar locations, fraud is an inevitable reality for merchants. Stolen merchandise and false transactions cost you money, cause unnecessary complications to maintain and track inventory, and lots of added stress.

We define fraud when it comes to retail as: “A transaction that is not authorized by a customer is referred to as fraudulent.”

It’s one of those unfortunate aspects of any retail business that you hope you don’t need to deal with often, but it’s an issue that requires training for you and your team.

So, how can you best prevent fraud, both online and offline? Let’s examine common types of fraud and discuss some ways to curb it.

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How Retailers Can Take Advantage of the Summer Travel Season

How Retailers Can Take Advantage of the Summer Travel Season

Summer travel shopping | Shopify Retail blogThe summer travel season is in full swing. And while this is a boon for the hospitality and tourism industries, of course, what about the retail industry?

Yes, the busy summer travel season can benefit far more than just hoteliers and tourist destinations. Retailers can get in on all the tourism spending during this time of year as well. So, whether your retail business is primarily online or also has brick-and-mortar locations, there are ways to take advantage of the summer travel season and all the potential customers that come with it.

Here, we’ve rounded up how you can take advantage of this seasonal spending and offer eager merchants some examples of retailers who are already doing it well.

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How to Get a Loan for Your Small Business

How to Get a Loan for Your Small Business

How to get a small business loan for retail | Shopify Retail blogThinking of opening your first brick-and-mortar retail store? While retail storefronts can be an exciting and potentially lucrative venture, even the smallest of stores require some upfront capital to get up and running.

According to one account from Forbes, aspiring retailers should expect to invest around $100,000 for renovations on your desired space and the cost for your first round of inventory to stock your store. While you might not require that much to start or expand your current business, who has even half that amount of cash sitting unused in a bank account?

Small business loans can be a great way to kickstart your new business or help you grow at an accelerated pace. But how do you get a small business loan — what does the process entail? The loan application alone can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Here we’ve outlined the primary steps to help you get through the loan application for your retail business.

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How to Go Viral: Tips to Build Online Buzz For Your Retail Products

How to Go Viral: Tips to Build Online Buzz For Your Retail Products

How to go viral | Shopify Retail blogWhether your retail business is looking to grow or just starting out, every business can benefit from the popularity and sales spike of a viral product. But what can a retailer do to achieve that kind of buzz for one of their products or services? And the big question: how to go viral at all?

Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to predict what will go viral, but there are some things you can do to help your product reach must-have, viral status with your audience. Before you decide to invest the time and effort into trying to make a product explode online, make sure that the product you’re promoting is worth the effort. When something becomes popular, it inevitably comes under more scrutiny, so quality is key. 

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Know Your Customers: How to Build Buyer Personas for Your Retail Store

Know Your Customers: How to Build Buyer Personas for Your Retail Store

How to build a buyer persona | Shopify Retail blogWhen it comes to running a successful retail business, one of the key components is being aware of your ideal customer. What audience are you targeting with your products?

This is precisely why your retail business could benefit from developing a buyer persona. If you’re marketing to consumers and looking to better understand your customers, then buyer personas are one of the best ways to ensure that your efforts contain the right message and are reaching the right people.

So, what is a buyer persona exactly? Generally, these are fictionalized characters that epitomize your ideal market. They’re regularly used to give marketers and sales professionals better understand their core customer group. When it comes to sales and marketing, knowing your audience is crucial to be effective. Familiarizing yourself with your buyers allows you to maximize the return on investment (ROI) on your sales and marketing activities.

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Let There Be Light: Retail Lighting Designs to Encourage Sales

Let There Be Light: Retail Lighting Designs to Encourage Sales

Retail lighting design | Shopify Retail blog

When setting up your retail store, there are a lot of questions to answer: how to best display your products, where certain products should go, how the general layout of your store should look, and much more.

But what about lighting design? While lighting may be an afterthought for many retailers who are just starting out, retail lighting can provide much more than simple ambiance. This basic utility can also impact your sales and customer experience.

A recent study from Lux suggests that in-store lighting can actually help guide customers through your store, and increase the average spend per customer: “Zumtobel claims a fashion retailer in Germany saw its sales go up by around 12% compared to another local store, after it installed a new lighting scheme specially designed to appeal to the personality profile of its target customers.”

In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.” —Aaron Rose, photographer

 So, how can you leverage your lighting design to bolster your bottom line? Let’s take a look at how you can create a lighting strategy that will work for your store and your products. 

FURTHER READING: If you’re looking for more in-store strategies to boost sales, check out our guide to visual merchandising.

Welcoming Customers: How to Create an Atmosphere

Physical aspects of your store create the overall feel of your retail experience. Light is one of the ways that retailers can create a pleasant atmosphere for their customers. How people feel when they enter your store can affect their mood, as well as how they perceive your brand and products.

In the article 6 ways to maximize your LED lighting strategy, Topco states that “chosen lighting can have a significant emotional impact, directing shoppers to key merchandise and hugely affecting how they perceive your overall business.”

To decide what kind of atmosphere you want your lighting to create, think about how you want customers to feel when they walk in your store. Warm, soft lighting can make people feel relaxed and comfortable, while brighter lighting helps customers see products more clearly, such as in the Louis Vuitton flagship store in London: Retail lighting design, Louis Vuitton | Shopify Retail blog

Image Credit: Design Curial

As in the above example, the lighting is dimmer in the walkways and the products are highlighted with bright spotlights. This lighting strategy places a visual emphasis on LV’s iconic products and draws customers immediately to shelves. 

FURTHER READING: Learn how retailers encourage sales with sight, smell and sound.

Step 1: Finding Your Fixtures

One way to create an atmosphere with your lighting strategy is through the light fixtures that you use. Select vintage fixtures, chandeliers, or dome lighting to create a more intimate feel, versus recess, track lighting, or suspended fixtures to help create more of a professional atmosphere.

Retail lighting design, lighting fixture types | Shopify Retail blogPhoto credit: Types of Lighting Fixtures for Retail Stores

Break up your space with a mixture of light fixtures in different parts of your store, like the entrance versus the changing rooms. Regardless of the fixtures you choose, match your lighting strategy to your brand identity and product offerings.

A great example of using lighting design to both create an atmosphere and reflect your branding is The Whisky Shop’s low lighting and neon wings:

Retail lighting design, The Whisky Shop | Shopify Retail blog Image Credit: Design Curial

Step 2: Choose a Temperature

One of the ways that you can create an inviting atmosphere in your store is by using a warm or cool temperature of lighting — there are benefits to both color schemes. Lux states that “Cool color temperatures such as cool white make areas appear more spacious whereas warm color temperatures create an impression of smallness and familiarity.”

So, if you have a small store that you’re trying to make feel larger, consider using cool lighting. Or, if you’re trying to invoke a sense of familiarity or nostalgia in your store then you’ll want to use warmer-toned lighting.

Types of Retail Lighting

There are several different types of retail lighting, including:

  • Ambient lighting: This refers to your store’s overall lighting concept. Ambient lighting creates the overall atmosphere in your store and has the largest impact. For example, if you had a large light fixture in the center of your store, this would create the ambient lighting in the space.
  • Accent lighting: This “spotlight” type lighting allows storefronts to draw attention to a few products. In the Louis Vuitton example above, the store uses accent lighting to highlight its luxury handbags and accessories. This technique is common in luxury stores.
  • High-activity lighting: Traditional lighting concepts often leave stores with dark corners and shadowy spots. But high-activity lighting focuses on covering the entire space with bright lights to eliminate the possibility that customers will miss any of your products.

Why Bulbs Matter: LED versus Florescent

Traditionally, brick-and-mortar locations have relied heavily on florescent lights for their stores, but recently many retailers have switched to LED lighting. LED lighting is a cost-effective, energy efficient option for your retail store. In the article Use Lighting to Make Your Retail Products Shine, proprietors from lighting store Premier Lighting state that: “While any type of lighting is useful, store owners are particularly seeing measurable benefits from using LED lights. These types of lights are bright, small, and illuminate targeted areas — all traits you need in lights intended for retail spaces.” 

So, how should you use LED lighting in your store? In the Entrepreneur article Lighting Up Your Store — and Your Sales they found that “even the best LED lights might not be the right choice for your store, says Eric Strandberg, senior lighting specialist for Seattle-based Lighting Design Lab, an education, training and consulting organization. Other options like linear fluorescent lights, for example, might be better for general lighting, while LED bulbs would be more appropriate for accent lights.”

You may need to try different types of lights in your store to see what best suits the environment that you’ve created, as well as what shows off your products in the best light. Walk through your competitor's’ stores and see how they’re lighting their products and/or test different lighting strategies in your own store to see what shows your products in the best light. Also, don’t be tied to only one type of light — many retail stores mix and match different types of lighting throughout the store to get the best of both worlds.

Retail lighting design | Shopify Retail blog Photo Credit: Zen Merchandiser

Create a Visual Hierarchy: The Benefits of Contrast

Lux suggests “Retail lighting should be high contrast, making perception easier and heightening levels of attention.” By using multiple sources of light in your retail store, you can create contrast around your products — drawing the attention of your customers towards the shelves and making it easier to see the details of the individual products.

Try creating shadows around displays and use spotlighting to highlight products on important shelves. Use strategically placed lights to point at where you want customers’ eyes to go.

 Don’t forget about lighting your store windows in a way that entices customers to enter your store: “In shop windows, use pinpoint accenting to emphasize perceived contrasts. In the evening and when there is little daylight, even low illuminance levels are sufficient.” High contrast in window displays is a great way to catch the eyes of passersby.

Product-Focused Lighting Design: The Pros of Backlighting

Not every product and display is creating equally — you can’t highlight every area of the store with contrast lighting because then there wouldn’t actually be any contrast. By using strong contrast sparingly, you can focus on drawing your customers to sales areas, new items, or high-ticket products.

For wide displays where you want to highlight a large area, instead of pinpointing a single product, try backlighting your displays. Softer backlighting is particularly effective at drawing attention to shelves that are lower to the ground and might otherwise be overlooked.

Retail lighting design, backlighting | Shopify Retail blog Photo Credit: Premier Lighting

Backlighting also works to keep customers lingering at the shelves longer as they navigate through the items on each shelf. Additionally, backlighting can be used to achieve a softer, more intimate environment, as the lack of sharp contrast is more appealing to the eye: “Wide-area backlighting of shelves produces a more attractive effect than accent lighting only.”

Moving Forward With Retail Lighting Design

Lighting is part of a larger in-store strategy for your retail business and your brand. Now you better understand that the right lighting can help boost sales and create a great customer experience for your store.

Have you tried a lighting strategy that has helped contribute to an increase in sales for your retail business? If so, tell us about it in the comments.

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Minimizing Turnover: How to Increase Retail Employee Retention Rates

Minimizing Turnover: How to Increase Retail Employee Retention Rates

Hire your first retail employee | Shopify Retail blogHiring and keeping the right employees can be hard for any business — but it’s especially difficult in an industry with naturally high turnover like retail.

Last year, Bloomberg found that turnover in the retail sector is 5% per month. And it costs almost $3,400 every time a worker leaves to find, hire, and train their replacement. In short, employee turnover costs you time and money.

Retail is a unique workforce, made up of part-time retail employees, full-time head office employees, contract distribution channel workers, and everything in between. Minimizing turnover across all these departments is important to grow your best talent and keep your operation running smoothly. Employees move on for a variety of reasons, some of which are out of your control, but minimizing employee turnover where you can is all about identifying at-risk employees and increasing overall employee retention.

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Outsourcing in Retail: Delegate These Tasks to Run Your Business More Efficiently

Outsourcing in Retail: Delegate These Tasks to Run Your Business More Efficiently

Outsourcing in retail | Shopify Retail blog

Running a retail business usually means knowing a bit about everything, and definitely doing a lot of everything. But is it time for you to start delegating and outsourcing some of the tasks that are keeping you busy?

That’s where outsourcing, or offloading some tasks off your to-do list, can come in handy. The formal definition of this concept is: “Outsourcing occurs when a business pays an outside supplier to provide goods and services, rather than doing the work in-house. The practice started in the 1970s and grew popular in the 1990s as a way for companies to reduce their internal cost structure.”

Sometimes outsourcing takes the form of hiring staff to handle some of your workload, or delegating more tasks to trusted employees. But even entrepreneurs who run their business entirely by themselves can outsource some of their more tedious or time-consuming jobs to part-time, external helpers.

Outsourcing is a great way for you to find the time and resources to focus on big-picture issues in your retail business, and hopefully also free up time for a healthy work-life balance.

So, what tasks should you be looking to outsource for your retail business? Here are a few ideas to help you streamline your to-do list and stay focused on actually running your business.

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Personalize the Retail Shopping Experience With These 4 High-Tech Tools

Personalize the Retail Shopping Experience With These 4 High-Tech Tools

High-tech shopping personalization | Shopify Retail blogWhen most people think of a high-tech shopping experience, online shopping comes to mind. For years, the ecommerce shopping experience has evolved to include personalized recommendations based on purchase history, up-to-the-minute inventory trackers, and more advancements that feel like we’re living in the future.

Many in the industry see personalization as a key method to earn the attention of current and potential customers — and to earn consistent sales in the process. Tailoring your offerings and communications enhances the customer experience and demonstrates that you’re in touch with their needs. According to one study, 48% of U.S. marketers reported that personalization on their websites or apps lifted revenues in excess of 10%.

In contrast, much of the brick-and-mortar shopping landscape seems to have stayed pretty much the same. But if you look closely at a few stand-out retailers, in fact, high-tech shopping is driving customers back into stores for personalized shopping trips. Here, we’ll examine some tactics in-person sellers use to execute on a high-quality personalization strategy, and how evolving tech is helping retailers implement more tailored experiences.

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Retail Giveaways: How to Create an Engaging Online Contest That Converts

Retail Giveaways: How to Create an Engaging Online Contest That Converts

How to Run an Online Contest | Shopify Retail blogIf you’re active in any social media channels, you’ve likely seen members of those communities participating in an online contest. Whether they’re sending tweets about a brand, sharing a Facebook post about a product, or commenting on a beautiful Instagram post, giveaways seem to be everywhere online.

Everyone likes free stuff. But giveaways aren’t just great for the winner — they’re an opportunity for you to grow your retail business. With a little bit of product as a prize and some marketing effort, an online giveaway can help your business.

    Even though there are clearly plenty of possible benefits from running an online giveaway, you’ll need to narrow it down for each campaign that you run — but more on that later. Now, let’s dive into the steps you’ll need to take to run a flawless online contest.

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