Running a business is expensive. In the economic environment of 2020, every penny counts, so it’s smart to reevaluate your expenditures during this time and decide where you should be investing your money, and where you can cut expenses. So, let’s go over a few ways to cut costs as a retail shop owner.
Use a free POS system.
Get a free POS system. There are a number of great free POS systems out there, like Oliver POS, which offers a completely free plan with no hidden costs. Oliver POS has all the features a small business needs, like barcode scanning, third-party payments, inventory management, and everything else you might need. If you need more features, their advanced plans have more features for an affordable price.
Even better, Oliver POS is a cloud-based system. This means it can be used on any device, so you don’t have to go out and buy a big, expensive piece of hardware for your point of sale terminal. Instead, just use your own computer, tablet, or smartphone. Not only is it a great way to cut costs, but it’s much more eco-friendly too!
There are a number of ways to ‘go green’ and adopt more environmentally friendly practices — and most of them save you lots of money, too!
- Go paperless. More and more businesses are going this route. Stop printing receipts — opt to send them via email or SMS instead. Most customers don’t want the extra paper anyway! Likewise, invoices, payroll checks, and other accounting documents can be sent electronically instead of printed on paper.
- Go cloud-based. On the subject of going paperless, the next step is going cloud-based. This is energy-efficient and eco-friendly because all of your data is stored in digital servers instead of on a device. Information in the cloud can be access anywhere, so you’re not limited to a single device. Because cloud-based data and software can be access anywhere, this often means less equipment. Cloud-based POS systems, for example, can simply be used on the computer or device you already own, so there’s no need to purchase bulky equipment.
- Conserve energy. This is as simple as unplugging appliances and equipment when they’re not in use. Turn off the lights when they’re not needed — instead, try to optimize the natural light in your store. Skimping on the heat can be a risky move, as you risk driving your customers away if it’s too cold in your shop. Instead, always be mindful to turn the temperature down or off at the end of the business day. Alternatively, smart thermostats, which let you program automatic or scheduled program settings, are a great investment that will save you money in the long run.
- Buy & sell second-hand. Another ideal way to cut costs is to simply buy second-hand. You can find great quality furniture, appliances, and equipment that have been previously used for a much cheaper price. Likewise, all of the equipment and furniture you no longer need in your shop can be sold to other businesses.
Share your Space
- Use your space wisely. Storage can end up taking up a lot of space, but if you store items efficiently with the right storage units, you can free up a lot of room. Any old stock or unused furniture has to go — don’t hang out to it. Free up your space.
- Use spaces for multiple purposes. For example, the office can also be the break room. If you have multiple change rooms in your shop, use one of them for storage. Evaluate your retail space, and see how you can optimize it.
- If you have some extra room in your retail space, you have a couple of options. Depending on how much space you have, you can rent the space you’re not using to another small business or entrepreneur. If you don’t have quite that much space, you can always invite local vendors to set up a pop-up shop or a stand inside your retail space to draw more traffic in.
Create an online Store
If you’re not already selling online, it’s a good time to start. While creating a new online store can take some time and investment, in today’s cultural climate, almost everyone is shopping online. You can increase your sales significantly if you start selling online, by expanding your reach beyond your local area and by allowing people to shop at your shop any time, anywhere. Interested in starting your own online store? Here’s a guide.
- To cut costs, only buy in bulk when it makes sense. While bulk purchases are often discounted, buying in bulk can lead to excessive stock. You want your stock to move as quickly as possible, you do not want them sitting on your shelves collecting dust. Only buy in bulk if you know the items will move.
- Outsource services only if you feel you can’t do them yourself in a timely and cost-effective manner. Outsourcing can be a great way to save time, but doing it yourself can also be a money-saver. Be smart, and know your own abilities and what’s possible for you to do. For example, using free tools like MailChimp and Canva to do your own marketing instead of hiring someone. Or, if you’re somewhat tech savvy and have the time to learn how to make your own website with WordPress, then it may be more cost-effective to do it yourself then to hire a developer.
- If a task is too time-consuming or if it’s beyond your scope of expertise, hiring a freelancer is often cheaper than going through an agency or a company.
- Instead of purchasing ads, cut costs by focusing instead on free marketing techniques. Social media, for example, is an essential way to market your business, and you can see amazing results without spending a penny. Learn how to optimize your site for search engines (SEO) to get high rankings on Google. Ask happy customers to review you, recommend you to their friends, or share your social media posts. There are a ton of ways to market your business without spending. You just have to think outside the box!
Don’t be afraid to negotiate. When buying in bulk, it’s typical to get a discount. Try to negotiate to the lowest price possible by being firm and not taking no for an answer. You’d be surprised by how many businesses will budge! When you’re with a new supplier, ask them if they offer discounts to new clients. To all of the suppliers you’ve already been purchasing from, try to negotiate with the angle that they’re a long-term customer, and ask if they have any discounts for their loyal or long-term clients.