Retail is a tough business. No matter where you shop, as a consumer, it can be exhausting to figure out which store has the best quality and the lowest prices.
And, in a nation where millions shop online, brick and mortar shops face a tough challenge in getting people to leave their houses. As a result, stores have been forced to work even harder at bringing an enhanced customer service experience that makes them stand out. This requires even more work as a retailer.
But don’t worry! Here are some tips on how to make your retail experience not only much easier, but better, too:
Build Relationships With Your Customers
It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. The more you know about them, the better. Are they parents? Are they responsible for paying their company’s utility bill? Talk to your customers and get to know them outside of retail transactions. If you have a good rapport with each other, this also means that their loyalty will be to YOU instead of your competitors (who don’t even care). Remember: Customers are people; treat them like that.
Put Effort In Your Presentation
The key to retail is in the presentation. Make sure every item in your store looks immaculate…even if it costs less than $1. For example, if you have a lot of clothing on display, be sure that all hangers are facing the same direction.
If you have shoes lining the wall, make sure they’re aligned neatly and that there aren’t any scuff marks. While this may seem trivial, trust us — your customers will notice!
Don’t be afraid to go overboard. Make sure all of your products are evenly spaced, that you aren’t showing the same item multiple times in a row, or that there are no visible tears or fading.
Consistency is key in customer retention and satisfaction. First and foremost, ensure that your store’s appearance and aesthetic are the same at all times. If you have a variety of items — different clothing sizes or books of varying conditions — always put them next to each other.
For example, if you sell both used and new clothing, make sure they’re as close as possible to each other instead of scattered around the store. This will allow your customers to know what they’re getting into from the get-go! If you have trouble sorting them out or asking an employee to do so, you can always ask visual merchandisers to help.
Remember that consistency doesn’t only apply to your store’s appearance, but also to your customer service. Customers should be greeted the same way every time, regardless of the day or time, and they should be made to feel welcome every single time they step foot in your store.
You’d think this goes without saying, but it’s very easy to neglect…especially for smaller stores with limited budgets. However, being organized can reduce stress levels for you and your employees so much that it justifies spending a little extra money on storage solutions and cleaning services. There are reliable commercial cleaners that can cost next to nothing even when you hire them for one or two visits a month. It’ll save you time and energy to hire experts to do it for you.
Take advantage of containers, signage that labels exactly what belongs inside each container or shelf containing miscellaneous items, clear plastic boxes for shoes whose sizes are visible, and even shelving units. Make sure your store’s aisles are neat, too!
Offer Deals For Your Customers’ Convenience
Everybody loves a good bargain! If your store offers services like shipping, make sure you let your customers know about it. Again, this is all about convenience for them.
Even if it costs more money to process orders with credit or debit cards, provide an incentive by offering something special to those who pay with cash (for example: take $5 off their entire purchase). This will not only help simplify transactions for both parties but also customers coming back again and again.
Don’t Abandon Your Customers
This is easy to forget. Once your customers come in, they’re yours for the rest of the day. If you establish a rapport with them earlier on, don’t leave them hanging. If you have to leave the store for some reason, be sure to ask someone else to take care of them or at least let them know where you are and when you’ll be back.
Keep Up With the Trends
Look to the future. Retail is moving faster than ever and it’s important that you keep up with trends now, no matter if they’re trending in New York City or West Hollywood. So, stay updated on the latest fashion and beauty news through popular media and check out magazines such as Cosmopolitan or InStyle.
Other great resources are YouTube channels from industry professionals as well as worldwide retailers who may have already seen these trends hit mainstream markets. Also, if you’re interested in knowing what people will be talking about months from now, do some research online! You can usually find some insightful articles on Google or Yahoo that describe what people were saying a year or two ago.
At the end of the day, it’s all about creating an experience. While customers may have come into your store with intentions, don’t forget that they should leave having something fun to talk about! This can be a great conversation starter and bring in lots of new customers. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even tell their friends to stop by your store if they’re in the area.