Imagine this: a shopper walks through your door, walks up and down the aisles several times, and then, walks out, empty-handed. This is a retailer’s nightmare and it happens far too often! The sale goes up in smoke and so does any chance of turning the shopper into a repeat customer.
Every sale counts. And it’s not just the lost sales alone. The average retailer spends too much time and money on advertising and promotions, only to convert about 20% to new customers. The fewer shoppers you convert into buyers, the higher your acquisition cost per customer. Most retailers need to spend more time converting shoppers into buyers – – bottom line!
Calculate your conversion rate (compare the number of store visitors to the number of actual sales), and then, you can keep an eye on that figure to see when it goes up or down. Seeing the numbers will alert you to keep on improving your sales techniques.
Here are some sales techniques to use to turn shoppers into buyers:
1) First and foremost, identify any bottlenecks in your sales process and make sure you fix the flaws. Do your sales people know enough about your products? When a customer asks them a question about a product, do they know the correct answer or can they at least find someone who does? Do they know where everything is located in your store? There is nothing more annoying than going to a store where you can’t find something and even the sales people don’t know where it is!
2) Don’t let your customer get lost or become frustrated. If you have someone wandering around asking for directions, that’s a frustrated person. Having people waiting to see a sales person is not a great idea. When there is no sales assistance, it’s the difference between a conversion rate of 22 percent and a conversion rate that’s a more appropriate 50 to 60 percent. For every person who’s there buying something who doesn’t need any help, there are three others who do. Long waits at checkout are really poisonous, make sure you have enough checkout people to handle the number of buyers, or they won’t be buyers for long.
3) Don’t let your sales people ask “Can I help you?” on the retail floor. The customer will almost always answer “No thanks, I’m just looking” and end the conversation. Instead, tell your salespeople to ask, “Hi, have you been in our store before?” If they say no, the answer should be “Let me show you around.” If they say yes, the response should be, “Welcome back, let me show you a couple of new things we just got in.” That way, you don’t give your customers an opportunity to say they want to be left alone.
4) Hire sales people who demographically match the audience the store serves. If you are a photo dealer, it’s important that all your sales associates are not 22-year old men. Some of your customers are going to be older, more experienced photographers who won’t get the answers they need from a 22-year old associate. It’s OK to have some in that age group, just not all.
5) Make your sales pitch fit the customer. It sounds simple enough, but many retailers don’t do it. Train your sales team to ask questions so they can really find out what the customer needs. Only then can they help the customer find something they will buy. Have your sales team use role-playing techniques to figure out how to adapt to different customers. In so doing, you’ll increase your conversion rates exponentially.
Remember, marketing can help bring people in the door, but you can’t win the shopping war unless you turn a high percentage of your prospects into paying customers. Give your sales team the right tools, and you’ll have a lot fewer shoppers get away.
If you like this information, you’ll really like this SPECIAL REPORT “Top 5 Strategies for Retail Store Growth in Difficult Economic Times”.
About the author; Elias Amash is the President of GRIP. Located just south of Grand Rapids, Michigan, GRIP features a 200,000 sq. ft. state of the art warehouse facility including a 2,000 sq. ft. product showroom. GRIP carries a product line of over 1,500 specialty hand tools, household items, automotive, air tools, wood working, and general merchandise. With its proven track record of excellence in supplying retail clients with innovative products, timely fulfillment, and world class customer support, the ideal solution to your retail needs in GRIP.