As a retailer, you have a lot of competition. With so-called ‘big box’ stores, with online retail giants and other local businesses it can be difficult to get ahead. In other words, the competition is literally all around you, in every direction. So how do you stand out from such a big crowd? By going personal.
You have to give your customers a reason to come back to you time and time again if you are going to succeed with such a barrage of competition. After all, it is repeat business that is the core of any retailers’ success, as it is simply too hard and too expensive to track down new customers for every single purchase. Only when you are able to gain a significant share of repeat business are you really going to gain your footing in the market.
In many ways, creating a personal connection with a customer is your only chance, as a retailer, to thrive well into the future. Online businesses don’t have the chance to develop these relationships in the same way that you can in person; this is an edge that must be exploited. Also, big box stores aren’t interested in one-on-one relationships, so you have the advantage of that, as well. Of course, to turn this advantage into actual dollars, you have to take actions that will lead to long-lasting personal relationships.
Greeting at the Door
Sometimes, it is the simple steps that are the most effective. If you are looking for a way to connect with your customers, you may be able to do that through having someone at the door to offer a friendly greeting to everyone who comes inside. Sure, this is a tactic used by even some of the biggest stores, but you can do it better because of your lower volume. If you have a consistent greeter in place (whether it is you or a member of your team), that person will start to remember names and faces as time goes by. Those interactions are bound to become more and more personal, and the customer will soon come to feel welcome and wanted in your store.
A greeter can also add to the experience by inquiring if the customer is looking for anything particular and directing the customer to the right section of the store. Furthermore, they can also offer suggestions if the customer is looking for a gift for a certain person. Think of a greeter not just as someone who offers a friendly hello, but as more of a personal shopping assistant.
One of the best things you can do to connect with your audience is to be a pet-friendly establishment. People love to go places with their pets, and they enjoy talking to other pet people, too. If you are willing to welcome pets in your store, you will likely open yourself up to a new world of potential customers that would not have visited otherwise. Simply, putting a bowl of water in front of your shop and a friendly, “Pets Welcome,” sign can boost sales. Keep a tin of small biscuits on hand, as well, but always ask owners if giving their pup a treat is okay first.
Everyone loves a snack, and they love them even more when they are free. Put some effort (and a small amount of money) into establishing a plan of offering snacks within your store from time to time. Not only will this plan show your customers that you care about their business, but it will also increase the amount of time that those customers stay in the store. While they are snacking, they may browse more of your products, or you may have a chance to chat with them to further your relationship. If possible tap other local vendors for regional snack products. This further establishes a sense of community with your customers.
Personal relationships can unlock earning potential in your retail store that was previously untapped. You don’t have to do anything crazy to earn customer loyalty, simply be a friendly, caring face that they feel like they can trust when making a purchase. Rather than always driving hard for the sale, take an interest in the lives of your customers and the business should follow naturally. Good luck!
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