I’ve been in store since 4.30 this morning. Jet lag woke me early, and I was so bored of just lying there that I got up and went in to change things up a bit. If you own your own business improving sales is something that is constantly on your mind, whether that is changing around the store, improving your website or adding content – it constantly needs to be looked at and tweaked all the time. You’ll find yourself constantly looking at the stats, are your sales up or down, static from last year, last month – data rules my world. Oddly enough (badly enough) in the early years it never used too. Now its endless because you’re never actually done. If sales are booming you want more, if they aren’t you’ll be pulling your hair out on how to turn them around.

One way of boosting sales is using better content. Why well because in a nutshell it’s a better way to connect with customers and increase sales at the same time. Look at any of the big fish – (fashion and beauty brands are generally far ahead of their game than their interiors counterparts sadly) and they merge content and commerce in the most attractive ways possible, seamlessly actually.

According to some reports sales can increase as much as 31% if you get the content right. The question of the day is how can you create valuable content that combines commerce and enhances the effectiveness of both offerings. Here’s my experience:

Make your content great

There is so much content out there you cannot expect people to spend time reading anything if its not engaging and interesting. I’m not talking either about rehashing – images or other people’s blog posts or social feeds I’m talking about being original with content that isn’t out there. Check out the big boys Mr Porter has a journal, Kate Spade has a blog, Net a porter, Nasty girl and Asos publish their own magazines. All of which are great marketing materials and fabulous content machines.

In other words you’ve got to devote time and energy to developing an editorial style with depth that is unique to your very own brand, and you merge this into your website, into your blog and social feeds! Create shoppable editorial sections – go further and maybe introduce videos, how-to’s where every product is just one click away.

Grow your content

To grow and scale up your biz you will  also need to grow and scale up your content. Some brands offer live feeds of what others are buying; others offer you discounts when you post pics using/wearing their products. The trick is continually engage with new content and engage with your customers.

How to manage it all

Don’t beat yourself up (I do this all the time so I am the worst person to give such advice) if you are too tired or stressed to write content, take a break. Its not something you can force you have to be in the zone. Talking of which I bulk write. I do this for the blog I write everything a month in advance I have a schedule. Getting up at 5 am to just scribble down whatever came in my head and then search for pics to illustrate was taking way too long. Plus it makes everything more focused.

I literally now have an editorial calendar – nothing fancy but it’s a bit like a mini magazine. I know upcoming launches, events which I weave into posts every now and again. I list all the subjects I want to cover in a month and make sure I am not repeating myself or boring you guys. It’s super focused now and as a result (you may have noticed) we are now producing more content and I’m finding it way more fun. Content marketing converts sales, engages your customers with informative and entertaining stories. Anything too product or brand focused doesn’t work, you’ll lose customers. Check out any brands facebook page and see how few comments they get when they just push product – it doesn’t work, people switch off. Yet if it stands out on its own merit, engages, enlightens, tantalises and tells a story then you’ve nailed it because it gets passed along!

Who said retail was easy? From designing our own product ranges, to ordering inventory, researching market trends, displaying stuff, planning in store events to mail shots to scheduling online marketing – there is something to do every second of the day! To be successful you’ve got to recognise from the get go that retail is always evolving – do the same with your content if you do  you’ll stay competitive and relevant. It works for me!