“Just Looking”… really?

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“Just Looking”… really?

I’ve done it and I’m sure you’ve done it; we’ve walked into a shop and told a disinterested salesperson that we are “just looking thanks.” We’ve then left the store disappointed and may never go back.

I recently worked with a retailer who was in financial difficulty; he believed the answer to his financial problem was getting more customers. My response to him was that he had enough customers, they were just leaving disappointed. I could not see the point of attracting even more disillusioned consumers.

A recent report from TimeTrade, a US based research company revealed the real challenge many retailers face. The report revealed what many retailers already know, that customers start their shopping journey at home online. What the research did reveal was that 50% of these shoppers made discoveries online and then wanted to make their final purchase decision in a store. Consumers want to find a knowledgeable person in the store to help them confirm they are making the correct buying decision.

This is an opportunity that, alas, is being missed by many “bricks” retailers.

The survey revealed some startling results.

Where do shoppers find help?

According to the research 90% of potential “clicks” to “bricks” customers could not find the help in store that they were looking for and 85% left the store without making their planned purchase.

Of those that left, 90% said that if they had found a knowledgeable team member in the store they would have made a purchase.

91% of the 10% who were satisfied with the knowledge provided mentioned that they would continue to shop at that store and 60% of the satisfied customers spent 25% -50% more than they had planned to spend when they walked in the store.

Are your team your secret weapon?

Your team members can make a big difference to the success of your business.

The secret is to ensure you have introduced the correct steps to ensure you are maximising the opportunities in your business.

• Have a planned product knowledge training programme.

The standard budget for training is 2% of your labour costs are invested in training. For some businesses it may need to be more, but with products changing so rapidly I do not believe you can invest less than this and grow sales.

Training should be regular, at least once a month. It can be a short and sharp session at the start of the working day and it can help with team motivation. Share the training leadership between the team and bring in suppliers as invited guests to help train the team.

• Make sure your team engage with the consumer when they enter the business, if most consumers say “Just Looking” then the team’s approach is wrong and needs to be changed, very few people today have the time to just go looking. Conversation starters by the team should engage the consumer and the response should be proactive. Some team members can do this naturally and they should become the mentors to team members who find it more difficult.

• Do not sell on price, sell on benefits. The consumer will already have price barriers in their mind, the team member should not base decisions on their own price barriers; promote the benefits and consumers will normally trade up. Price is a motivator, but usually not the primary motivator in the consumers mind.

• Make sure that all team members have the skills to add-on sell as and when appropriate. The consumer often knows what they want when they come in the door, the team members role is to add value to the shoppers experience, not simply process the sale.

• Promote the fact that your team have the knowledge the consumer is looking for (and make sure they do). Make the team members “heroes” in the consumers mind.

• Make sure the team are fully visible to the consumer, they should be on the floor, not hiding behind a counter. The counter is both a mental and a physical barrier between the consumer and the team member. Make sure the team member wears a name badge and introduces themselves to personalise the relationship with each customer.

We would all like more customers, but before growing your customer base it is worth asking if your team are positively interacting with and maximising the sales opportunities.