The reality is you can still walk into a bricks and mortar store, stand around for ages whilst the staff have a giggle fest, once they finally notice you are there they can’t answer any questions and then you find out the model you want is 3 weeks away, can’t be delivered to your house and doesn’t have extended warranty.
As soon as after care is needed, no one is picking up the phone, are deleting questions from social media and don’t have information that is sufficient enough for a customer to troubleshoot on the main website if needs be.
And the customer through this entire process can be made to feel as though the only answer to all this is “Meh, not my problem.”
Harsh? Maybe, maybe not. But even still, there are things you can do that will help you perform better in the online arena.
- Be Online: I don’t care what excuse you have, get rid of it. You need a minimum of some kind of website so when people are at Google they can find you and beyond that, somewhere they can find what you have. Even if they will shop in-store, you need to be there for the research phase- which begins with Google.
- No more “one size fits all”: People aren’t all the same so you need to treat them special. Be special. Make the experience of shopping with you something to enjoy and talk about. And that includes all cycles from research through to after care. Be available to your customers to engage with, no matter the reason.
- Lose the preconception: In this day and age it’s still surprising potential customers can act out the scene from Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts goes to buy a wardrobe and no one will serve her. Don’t allow your staff to sit behind the counter and deem someone non sales worthy. Of course they won’t buy if you don’t want to sell to them! Help them- NOW.
- Don’t be cookie cutter: Remember all that fun stuff about ‘unique selling point’? It exists for a reason. Rediscover it and communicate it to your customers.
- Everyone loses a price way: Racing on price is for companies with no ethics and too much clout. Stand behind your product and your asking price because we will pay for it as long as you give us confidence in you as a retailer to support our sales journey.
The final bit of advice from the retail survival guide:
Go back to basics.
- Why does your product exist?
- How is it different to its competitors?
- Who are your customers?
- Where do you find them?
- What do you offer that no one else can?
Knowing the answer to these questions is part of the battle. Use the answers you find to build a strategy that helps meet a reasonable standard as a minimum, and a mind blowing one if possible.
You don’t need a massive budget or a team of a million people working for you to make yourself reach out to your customers.
But you will need to work out ways to define your audience, attract them, service them and keep them coming back for more.
And if you need help with that, I’m available.