With a four-day weekend approaching, retail expert Scott Storey, MD of CTS Retail, has issued his top tips for maximising sales.
1. Maximise your online presence I think most retailers will agree that the consumer is more independent than ever and most of them understand and adopt technology easily. With the increasing presence of such an informed customer, it is crucial that you have an online presence to support your offline business, as without it, you risk losing market share to the competition that can deliver both.
By online I don’t just mean a static website, but a place where customers can interact and engage in the shopping experience. Whether that is browsing your site while they are off work, or letting them know about your offers via Twitter and Facebook, you need to be doing everything you can to keep your customers thinking about you long after their initial purchase.
Now is the perfect time to review your offering from the customer’s perspective and make sure you are hitting all the right notes in time for the Jubilee holiday weekend. You may not have time to make any major changes, but a few small yet significant tweaks here and there could make a huge difference to your sales!
2. Make sure you really SELL it to them!
Another key factor to check is the quality of the images that you are using to promote your products. I’ve seen it so many times before and I’m sure I’ll see it again over the bank holiday, but a great product can be totally let down by poor pictures that fail to show it off in its best light! If you are keen to really make your products stand out, but your images are letting you down, it may be worth investing in some good quality product shots that will grab the attention of your customers and entice them to buy.
3. Ensure the experience delivered online and in-store complement each other
In the current environment, a seamless integration between online and bricks and mortar offerings is key to building customer loyalty and truly understanding your target audience. Industry recognised statistics show that retailers can expect to see an increase of seven per cent in overall sales when they include a web store as part of their retail estate, plus increased footfall of 22 per cent in-store.
The reality is that if the customer does not receive the same level of experience through the various shopping channels available, then you run a significant risk of losing market share during these important shopping days.
4. Watch your ‘out of stock’ levels
Stock availability and good customer service at a local store level are absolutely critical to maximising sales during this time. There is nothing more irritating for a customer than to want to buy something from you, but you just don’t have it! Now I know you can’t predict every potential order, but what you can do is ensure that your systems are updated so that customers are given the most accurate information. Finding an item is in stock when you check online or via an app, only to get to store to find it isn’t, is not going to do you any favours this bank holiday!
5. Give your in-store merchandising a revamp
Today’s consumer is informed and has access to various sources of information via the internet to research and buy products, but the bricks and mortar store will always exist for many reasons. Having researched the item, customers then think ‘I want it now’, so whether this is ‘reserve & collect’ or just drive to the store and purchase, immediacy will drive bricks and mortar sales.
Also, some products are very personal and therefore the product needs to be seen and considered in person, even if it has been researched previously. Finally, customers look to the retailer to have expertise and knowledge, so speaking to a member of staff in a store will again instil confidence in the customer’s purchase. For these reasons, it’s critical to ensure that your store attracts the attention of passing customers and invites them to experience your store.
With every retailer competing for the same traffic, you need to give people a reason to choose to visit you and the more attractive your store looks from the outside, the more likely it is to attract people in!
6. Brief your staff
As I mentioned earlier in this article, the customer service delivered by your staff is one of the key factors affecting whether your customers leave your store satisfied. Meeting and greeting customers is an easy way to boost engagement immediately, so make sure you dedicate some of your team to front-of-house activities. If you are drafting in additional staff who perhaps aren’t part of the regular team, take extra care to ensure they deliver the level of customer service that has come to be expected by returning customers.
Consider ways to make the day enjoyable for your staff, such as incentives for the number of greets or store card sign-ups and so on. Customers want to find their shopping experience enjoyable and there is nothing worse than having to face a grumpy employee who is clearly only looking forward to the end of their shift!
So, in essence, a truly cross-channel experience means that your customers have total choice in the way they shop with you. This bank holiday, you can help make sure that you are giving your customers compelling reasons to shop with you by providing a seamless, enjoyable and stress-free shopping experience!