Have you wondered what causes some people to open their wallets and what factors cause them to walk out the door never to return? Your businesses could increase profits by becoming "shopper friendly." Here are some general characteristics to keep in mind.
Female Buying Power.
One key factor in increasing sales is to understand how people shop. For example, women make the majority of buying decisions--estimates anywhere from 60-80% and growing. Despite these facts, some industries have created frustrating walls and barriers failing to cater to the buying characteristics women are looking for. Consider auto sales which women only represent 7% of the sales force.
For some, the experience of shopping is more important than the transaction.
Good customer service and many sales opportunities are lost because sales people appear uncaring and/or unhelpful or both. Identify the key concerns of your customers and think of ways how to meet their needs. Include strategies to prevent communication breakdowns as well as dispute settlement mechanisms.
Educate Your Shoppers.
Skillful shoppers compare quality versus the prices of the products. In order to make your business more attractive, provide easier access and lots of product information. You can do this by providing fact sheets, publications, video, websites, and consumer education courses.
Practice ethical consumerism.
Customers are likely to withhold their business if they disagree with the company’s politics or policies. If you want to attract more shoppers develop the reputation of an “ethical” organization. Publicly display any involvement in charitable affairs
Design is the key to appearing different from your competitor.
As a general rule, the more time people spend in your store, the more they will purchase. Use visual and audio elements to maximize their potential shopping time. Provide sitting areas where women and men can relax. Key elements include pleasant and relaxing music, fresh fragrant air, visual stimulation and a clean appearance.
Interaction is crucial for sales.
Positive shopper-employee interaction gives customers the chance to ask about products and salespeople the opportunity to sell them. This will increase your average sales and contribute to greater customer loyalty. It also reduces the waiting time, improves the impression of overall service, and draws the customer closer to your business.
The walking pattern determines the layout of the store.
Consider that most people walk to the right when you position your products. For example, if you position men’s fashion on the right side of the entrance area, women will head toward the left and not return to browse through this area again.
Shopping is an authentic emotional expression.
Some customers search for products with meaning. If you sell merchandise related to the private and personal sphere, e.g. greeting cards and gifts, you must create a pleasant store design. Thus, warm, quiet, and familiar environment will increase the time shoppers' browse through your store. This maximizes your sales and satisfies them as customers.
A final word of advice to help you render your business "people friendly" is to involve your customers right from the start. Ask them for suggestions. Get feedback from both female and male customers as well as your salespeople.
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Greg Smith is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and business performance consultant. He has written numerous books and featured on television programs such as Bloomberg News, PBS television, and in publications including Business Week, Kiplingers, President and CEO, and the Christian Science Monitor. He is the President and "Captain of the Ship" of a management-consulting firm, Chart Your Course International, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Phone him at 770-860-9464. More articles available: http://www.chartcourse.com