Heres the big picture: Retail as the marketplace has known it for 100 years has morphed. Online retail has changed it forever. Everything from mobile marketing to Cyber Monday has put a dent on how you and I go to market to buy (and to sell).
As a high school and college student, I remember going to Barnes and Noble to buy books. Now Im a browser in the bookstore showroom to decide if I need it this second, or if I can wait a day or two, and one-click buy on their competition. Your customers have the same choice when they walk into your store. Do they buy right now, or do they browse and buy online?
This is an example to both learn from and beware of.
How do you get someone to buy instead of being a showroom or dressing room for Amazon, Zappos, or other online retailers? How do you earn your customers hard-earned dollars?
As a customer, I have to feel like I can get the same benefits from buying in your store as I can online.
Heres the GREAT news beyond online pricing, there are still lots of ideas, opportunities and strategies to employ that will earn shoppers dollars on the spot, and keep them coming back for more.
And understand one thing at the core: The relationship (not the price) rules Return, repeat and loyal customers are key to daily sales and long-term success. Buy from you or online? You need to give the consumer a reason to buy from YOU and not online.
Here are strategic things you can do that can make the short term AND long term difference:
Engage the customer personally. Its about them. They dont care about whats going on in your life. They are in your store because they have something going on in theirs.
Whats your greeting? Your greeting can make or break the entire process. Theyre gonna say just looking”. And your job is to avoid their just looking response. For example, when someone comes in to your clothing store, what do you say to them? How about, Do you wanna see what just came in? Or, Looking for business or casual? Instead of, Can I help you? The LAST thing I will ask is: can I help you?
Show me what just came in, I wanna see the latest greatest and the latest greatest is never on sale.
Honesty matters if its not right, then find something that is.
Serve because you want to serve, because you want to help.
Reinforce their judgment for spending money.
Tell me Im beautiful and reinforce my choice. Smart move, great buy, perfect fit.
Let them experience the good feeling you get from instant gratification, or the relationship theyve made with YOU, the salesperson
When youre done with the transaction, get out from behind the counter, walk over, give them the bag, shake hands, and say, Thank you, I appreciate your business. Heres my cell phone, call if you need me. Dont just say Thank you. Have a nice day.
Send a hand-written thank you note or an Outstand follow up note with a picture at the mirror of what they bought, and send it to them.
Everyone thinks of lawyers, doctors and CPAs as trusted advisors. In retail, you need to become a trusted advisor for look, fashion, advice and feedback.
The bottom line is your bottom line.
When a customer comes into your store, if they buy, you win, and if they do not buy, your competitor wins. Being ordinary and being traditional no longer works in todays marketplace.
The rules of retail focus around personal service, a friendly environment, genuine help, and ease of doing business. And you have a secret weapon before you give your customer a chance to rate you, rate yourself.
Set a standard that will ring up true online recommendations, ring word-of-mouth truth from person-to-person, and ring your cash register.