A Quick Checklist To Help You Improve Your Retail Business In 2022

by Chipo Biti February 28, 2022

It's one thing to run a retail business. But, running a profitable one? That's an entirely different ball game, altogether.

Being a business owner is tough, we know. We touch base with hundreds of our retailers on a regular basis, taking time to understand the challenges they face on a daily business.

This article is designed to give you simple ways to best position your business for success for the rest of 2022.

Meet Tom. 

He's been running his physical retail shop for the last three years and only managed to make a small profit last year. The sudden changes of the last couple of years almost disrupted his business, but he still managed to pull through.

But, he’s tired of “just pulling through”. 

Now, Tom wants to move from getting by to steadily growing year over year.

At the end of 2021, he decided that he wanted to raise his business's revenue by the end of 2022 and take home anywhere between 5 to 10% in profit. 

On paper, his goal looks achievable, but now he's overwhelmed by the idea of making it happen. He's got a few ideas noted on paper including: 

  •  Running more sales 

  •  Moving part of his business online, and

  • Becoming more aggressive with social media marketing.  

To be fair, these are good goals. Loads of retailers use these practices to boost their revenue and run successful businesses. But, are these the best goals for Tom's business? 

You see, Tom's shop is one of five in his area and two of those businesses have been running for the last five years. He's tried to use his competitors as a benchmark for his business because that's what retailers are often advised to do. The problem is, they have the capital and resources to manage multiple social media platforms and an online extension of their businesses. 

Tom's resources are limited because he's still starting out. So, while he may have a few good plans for his business, he could be setting himself up for failure because he isn't addressing his business' most important needs. 

It's easy to be like Tom. He isn't at fault, and neither are you. The world is changing at a rapid pace, the business scene is not what it was a few years ago, and everyone's just trying to catch a win. 

But, if you want to run a profitable business this year, then you need to make sure that your goals and action plans are tailored according to what your retail business needs. 

The time for New Year's resolutions may have passed, but it's not too late for you to reevaluate your business strategy for 2022 and make a couple of necessary changes to position your business for success. 

We know time is money so, to help you become 100% confident in your business plans for 2022, we created a quick checklist to help you get the ball rolling. 

Most of the questions in this list may seem super simple, but they are also the most overlooked. So, whip out your business strategy and a pen while you read through and make sure that you're implementing the best practices to take your retail business to the next level.

1. Have You Set The Best Possible Goals For Your Retail Business?

One of the biggest mistakes retailers make is setting goals according to how they believe their business should be performing, instead of understanding what their business really needs. 

So, if Martha sets a goal of making $500,000 in sales at her stationery shop because “that’s what she should be making in her line of business”, instead of using her previous financial statements to inform her decisions - then she’s set herself up for failure. 

The same goes for Randy if he decides to make his primary goal to move his business online because “every other store is doing it”, instead of doing his due diligence to determine whether this is a wise decision for his business or not. 

If you’ve already set your new year goals for your retail business, that’s fine, don’t fret. You still have time to revisit them and confirm whether they are the best goals for your business this year. 

How do you know if your goals are the best possible ones for your retail business? Simple. Check if they are SMART goals. 

A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and (falls within) a Time Frame. 

So, an example of a SMART goal, as a retailer would be: 

I want to up my gross revenue by $2,000 by the end of Q1. 

The goal is specific, can be measured, is achievable and realistic (depending on the retailer), and has a set deadline.  The point of goals is to achieve them. 

So, don’t let pressure, frustration, or unrealistic expectations influence the way you map out your new year goals. Remember, goals don’t always have to be about making more money. 

Think of other areas of your retail business that need improvement. Perhaps you can set goals for those parts, too.

2. Do you have a clearly mapped-out action plan for your business goals?

Now that you have your goals mapped, you need to take the next step and ask yourself, “How am I going to make this happen?”

When you write that you want to increase your gross revenue by $2,000 by the end of Q1, you need to ask yourself “How?”

If you want to see better results in your retail business, you need to make sure that you’re doing something different.

The best way to make this year better than the previous year is to act differently. So, take a look at what worked, what didn’t work, and use this data to inform your action plan this year.

Every goal you set should have three clear action steps that will help you achieve what you’ve set out to do. An action plan could look like this: 

 Goal - I want to increase my revenue by $2,000 by the end of Q1. 

Action Step 1: Onboard an ads specialist to help me put my best-selling products in front of my target audience

Action Step 2: Plan a big promo for my fast-moving products with a free gift with each purchase, or in-store credit

Action Step 3: Reach out to all the people who’ve bought in the past 3 months and offer them a special discount valid for the next 31 days.

These are just a few examples of the different ways you can create steps towards your goals. But they should fit your business model and cater to your customers.

What does your action plan look like right now? If you don’t have one, don’t worry. Use the above example, and map your goals like this:


Action Step 1: 

Action Step 2: 

Action Step 3:

If you are a KeySmart Retailer, your sales representative will be able to help you break down your goals for the year and provide you with key information on how to make these goals a reality. You can send them an email by clicking the link below and we’ll be happy to help!

If you aren’t a KeySmart Retailer, but would like to become one so you can also access this service, you can sign up here.

3. Have you cleaned up your inventory?

This is the perfect time to examine your inventory and decide on what’s staying and what needs to go. 

Another key mistake retailers make is holding on to products that did not perform in the previous year, in hopes that they can make it work in the new year. But keeping “deadweight products” doesn’t help your retail business, it hurts it.

If customers weren’t interested in these products 3 to 6 months ago, there’s a very slim chance that they will be interested in them now. It’s understandable why you’d want to make these slow-moving products work. You spent money on them and you still believe in them.

But if you want to hit your revenue goals and see yourself standing out in the sea of retail businesses selling similar products to you, you’re going to need to make some tough decisions.

Take Tom for example. When he realized that key holders were outperforming keychains he’d been selling for years, he knew it was time to pivot. While it hurt for him to start phasing out a product he’d been selling for years, he knew that he needed to attune his business to his customers’ needs. 

 Tough decisions lead to clearer results and you need that for your retail business this year. If you’re not ready to completely cut out an underperforming product, you can choose to phase it out slowly. Consider reducing the price of the product and offering it as a bonus item when your customers make a certain purchase.

4. Have you reviewed your manuals, processes, and policies?

Now is a good time to take a look at everything you used last year, and decide if there’s anything that you need to change.

Most retail business owners see this task as optional; often leaving this as a task to revisit “later”. But if your backend processes are in need of an upgrade, and you keep pushing those back, you’re only hurting your business.

The world has changed rapidly in the last few years and so has the world of retail. If you’re operating with manuals that were last updated in 2017, or are still using the same processes you created more than 3 years ago, you need to revisit them and make changes.

The best way to stay ahead of the game is to make sure that you’re updating your business from all angles. Make sure that all necessary policies are available for your customers to see. If this means printing them out and sticking them up in your store, or creating separate pages for them on your website, go ahead and do it.

We have links to our relevant policies posted in the footer of our website so that our customers can access them easily. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see them.

5. Have you evaluated your workload for the year?

Another one of the biggest mistakes retailers make is trying to do everything on their own. Some do it because they believe they have all the skills they need to succeed alone, and others do it to cut costs.

Regardless of what your reasons may be, if you’re trying to handle every aspect of your business on your own, you’re setting yourself up for failure. 

As a retail business owner, you should be focusing on higher-level tasks in your business. It’s your responsibility to create the bigger picture and hire other people to help you make that picture a reality.

We get it. Trusting other people with your business can be frightening - but it needs to be done. If you don’t have the financial resources to hire people on a full-time basis, you can offer part-time slots to people who can help you improve the areas of your business in which you’re struggling. 

For example, if you know that you’re struggling to manage your company’s digital presence, hire a web designer and a digital marketer to help you take care of this area of your business.

In this age, whether your business is brick-and-mortar, or solely online, you need to have an online presence. So, take note of the areas in which you need help and make a move to get additional help. That way, you can focus on the areas where you perform the best.

6. Speaking of marketing. Do you have a clear, thought-out marketing strategy?

If a solid marketing strategy for your business is not among your list of priorities for the new year, then you need to rethink your list.

Without a clear marketing strategy for your retail business and products, you won’t succeed in reaching your target market and you’ll lose out on them to your competitors. Please note: a marketing strategy is more than just posting on Instagram or Facebook. 

It’s a laid-out plan on how you’ll use the most optimal channels to promote your business. The point of this strategy is to identify the best way to communicate with your potential and current customers so that your retail business stays at the front of their minds. 

Unless you’re an expert in marketing, you’re going to struggle with this part. Our advice to you? 

Follow through on step 5 in this article and hire a marketing expert to help you create a way forward. Don’t see this as an expense. See it for the investment it is, so that your business can get maximum returns.

7. Have you planned inventory for the next 3 to 6 months?

By now, you should know that there is a supply chain crisis all over the world and businesses are struggling to get stock on time. Experts have predicted that this problem is going to be around until next year. So, that means you need to get on top of this by planning ahead so that your business doesn’t suffer.

Some retailers try to play their inventory by ear, only ordering once a product has completely run out. While we understand why retailers opt for this “cost-efficient” method, in a time where supply delivery times are constantly changing, you’ll need to do things differently.

Plan your stock for the next quarter and make sure that you secure your inventory on time. One of the best ways to get your customers buzzed about your products is creating holiday-specific promos. So, create bundles or offers for upcoming shopping days like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, and even the Q4 Holiday Season.

We created a guide to keep you up to date on all the big holidays and shopping days in the US. This guide also comes with tried and tested KeySmart product recommendations that you can use to offer your customers maximum value. 

In case you’re looking for a supplier with easily accessible stock, we can help you there, too. Our warehouse is based in Elk Grove, Illinois, and we can get your order to you in 24 to 48 hours. You can learn more about that here.

Our Elk Grove Warehouse, Illinois

The Bottom Line

To sum everything up, the seven steps to succeeding as a retailer in 2022 include:

  1. Creating SMART goals for your business 
  2. Laying out an action plan for your goals 
  3. Evaluating and cleaning up your inventory
  4. Ensuring that your manuals, processes, and policies are all up to date
  5. Delegating necessary tasks to professionals who can help you
  6. Creating a clear, detailed marketing strategy for your retail business
  7. Planning your inventory ahead of time so you can avoid the supply chain crisis

If you prioritize these steps this year, you’ll help your business start on the right foot. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Retail success takes time and adjustment, so expect to alter your plans a few times throughout the year. 

At KeySmart, we’re dedicated to seeing our retailers win. We create materials including emails and blog posts like this one, to help KeySmart retailers stay up to date with the latest trends in the industry. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, as a KeySmart retailer, you can send an email to wholesale@curvgroup.com and one of our reps will contact you as soon as possible.

Not a KeySmart Retailer? No problem. 

Click this link here, fill out the form on the page, and you’ll be a KeySmart Retailer in no time. 

Becoming one of our retailers will give you access to additional benefits like free shipping, killer discounts, and exclusive updates on KeySmart products

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