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6 Best Practice Guidelines that Lead to Retail Success

6 Best Practice Guidelines that Lead to Retail Success

As an owner of a retail store, do you ever get distracted by…well, just about everything? Technology. Social media, Changes in consumer behavior.

Unfortunately, all this overwhelm can prevent you from concentrating on what you should be doing. So before you start running after the next shiny new “squirrel” that crosses your path, firmly route your focus on this:

6 Best Practice Guidelines that lead to Retail Success

1. Don’t Assume Your Customers are “Just Looking” – Today’s consumers can look at products and services on their mobile devices. So when they head to a store, they already have a mission to compare and contrast something they saw online or to make a purchase. That’s why it’s important not to make the assumption that the people in your store are just looking.

Instead of asking shoppers if you can help them find something—to which they can simply respond, “No, I’m just looking”—ask them “What brings you in today?” Then show them where they can find what they came in for, along with related products.

2. Never Let Anyone Walk Through Your Doors Without Greeting Them – According to Entrepreneur, shoppers come to your store to buy, so you shouldn’t make them hunt for a sales associate. While some folks will proactively ask for help, many won’t, and you can’t afford not to engage with them.

“It is better to pester a customer with offers of help than it is to ignore,” says Entrepreneur. “Seems pretty basic, but how many times have you seen sales associates congregating at a register or zoned-out folding a pile of shirts?”

3. Don’t Make Customers Wait for You – If you’ve ever had to wait in line, then you know how customers feel when it’s them on the waiting end—agitated, restless and uncertain.

“No customer should have to wait for anything,” admonishes Entrepreneur.  If, for example, your payment system is clunky and inefficient, you’re putting sales at risk. Your sales process must be fast, friendly and easy to move through.

Long wait times are an invitation for shoppers to abandon your store and go elsewhere.

4. Give Customers the Best Option, Not the Cheapest – Store associates too often present customers with either sale items, or the cheapest items rather than the best products.

Ask yourself the following question: “Why should the consumer buy from us instead of our competitor?” Then present your products or services in a manner that suggests buying from you is the obvious choice and will give them the most value for their money.

Make sure your store associates are trained on product knowledge AND the ability to compare and contrast so the better merchandise sells, suggests The Retail Doctor.

5. Listen to Your Customers – When you don’t listen to customers, you miss out on the opportunity to uncover buyer needs, build rapport, and convey to the customer that you understand their world.

According to Hubspot, “By observing auditory, visual, and physical clues as well as the prospect’s words, a salesperson can truly begin to understand the plight of their prospect and put themselves in the buyer’s shoes.”

Listening to customers helps you and your associates start more conversations, uncover challenges, and handle objections so you can close sales more effectively.

6. Offer Your Customers a Complete Solution, Not Just a Product – As Brian Tracy points out, “People don’t buy products, they buy the results the product will give them.”

Rather than working to fit each individual customer’s needs, products are typically made to be a one-size-fits-all fix for the widest audience.

On the other hand, solutions combine products and services. “They’re designed to help the customer every step of the way, ensuring that each customer’s unique problems are solved by the journey’s end,” says Entrepreneur.

“The solution-selling methodology requires lasting relationships with clients in which the goal is always to find new ways to help.”

~ Entrepreneur

Conclusion

As you know, brick and mortar retail is evolving. The Retail Doctor reminds us that today, retail shopping happens anywhere, any time, and on any device.

The 6 best practice guidelines above will help you avoid common retail pitfalls that keep you from getting ahead of the competition, building your customer base, and making more sales.

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About The Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and the eBook The Small retailer's Ultimate Guide to Increasing In-Store Sales. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime (but that doesn't stop her from collecting more). A graduate of Brigham Young University, she has published several humorous non-fiction articles and worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current position as a writer on modern retailing at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with other small business owners through informative articles that address their unique needs.

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