Thoughts, ideas, tips and musings as I work alongside small business owners helping them love their businesses back to life!
Shopping should be a pleasure for everyone involved - customers, staff and business owners - never a chore. I spend my time working with retail business owners - helping them love their businesses back to life! This blog is my thoughts, ideas, tips and musings on what I find...
Every product has a birthday! Your objective is to make sure that no product celebrates a birthday in your shop. Be ruthless!
So, if you have product that’s not moving, here are some ideas to get it out of your shop:
- Move it to another location and monitor its sales – the product could be just fine – it might just be in the wrong place.
- Promote it using signage, or if it is already promoted with signage, change the signage. The sign could be sending out the wrong signals.
- If you find you’re not doing the amount of business you expected, you just may need to stimulate a little activity. Sometimes you may not even need a sale. Maybe all you need is a creative non-sale promotion eg. Combine the offending product with another and sell them as a pair....
Fridge Magnets Featured
Well to start, don’t think that a custom magnet has to be a business card substitute. A number of great promotional ideas for utilising custom magnets are:
- Once a service has been rendered offer a discount magnet for repeat business
- Place your company promotional message on the magnet along with details
- Place your facebook and social media details on the card
- Promote a competition or ongoing prize draw
- Place a code on the magnet so when clients contact you for service they get a discount
- Run an incentive program or repeat business bonus to encourage customers to keep the custom magnet
- Create invitations to functions such a fund raisers, product launches or special events
You know how 'boring' the majority of shopping is nowadays? - same product, lookalike shops, same less than exciting service ... yada yada yada. For the first time in a long, long time I walked into a shop and laughed out loud with delight. This is what took my fancy.
How great is this!! ... bondage and discipline products to get your garden under control...
I was in Tim's Garden Centre in Campbelltown ... on a wet, wet day.
This Centre has such a personality - it's quirky, funny, different than any other nursery I've set foot in - and I've set foot in quite a few.
People tell me that signs don't matter. They matter! As you can see from this sign in Tim's they not only tell you about the product [and refocus you on what they're selling], but they fit the 'personality' of the business.
Bag Stuffers are a most under-rated marketing tool. Somehow we seem to have forgotten about them. So I thought I'd re-introduce you to these cost-effective marketing miracles...
What is a Bag Stuffer?
A bag stuffer is a store offer or a calendar of store events/promotions on a piece of paper that is given to every customer who buys from you. And, unlike its name, its not to be stuffed willynilly into a bag - nor are you to ever be tempted to pre-stuff your shopping bags!
Ensure your bagstuffers are visual (including photos)and include your logo and all contact details of your shop (this includes your website, facebook page, twitter name, instagram link...). They are easily made. You can design a bag stuffer on your computer as a word document - either one A4 stuffer or multiple bag stuffers on one page - simply guillotine them after you've printed them on your COLOUR printer. Better still, design them (or get them designed) and either email through to your local printer or put them on a usb stick and walk it up to your printer. Shoddy, black and white photocopies won't work.
Let's look at window displays, hot spots and standing out from the crowd.
Creating a dominant window display with significant impact from a distance should be the aim of every retailer. It is important not to over-complicate your layout. Make sure there is one strong simple message coming through. Change your window displays regularly throughout your festive campaign to keep it updated and looking inviting.
Careful selection of product for hot spots will ensure the highest number of customers are passing your your most important product lines. Products in these locations need to be clearly ticketing and rotated to ensure they remain full and renewed throughout the festive promotion.
Here are some things to consider with your Online Store for Christmas.
Are you offering Christmas specials?
You can put up special Christmas only products that have special pre-Christmas offers. Gift buyers come in many different types and good quality novelty items sell well at Christmas.
Add Christmas Keywords
Make sure that you add the Christmas keywords to your meta-keywords with plenty of time to get crawled by the search engines before Christmas. Also make sure that you add Christmas Gift category names and description text to match up with your keywords. But remember timing is important. How often does Google crawl your website homepage? For most online shops it might be every 5-10 days so to get your changed messages out there - it is not instantly available. Now might be a good time to set up some web analytics.
Christmas is the peak retail period of the year and preparation should have already started. If it hasn't - START NOW!
There are two guarantees: Christmas will happen and people will still spend up on gifts and food for the holiday season.
Let's start by looking at your online store:
You have issues to cover but the key issue is time. The date for Christmas doesn't change so by December 24th your Christmas business is done. So plan backwards:
- How long does it take you to pick, pack and ship? That will determine the last date for selling online and delivering by Christmas. Remember, there may be backlogs in delivery so check with your shipping company.
- What are the peak number of orders that you can handle each day and still get the deliveries out?
- How much stock will you need on hand?
- What content changes do you need for your online shop?
- Do you have photos and new stock information from suppliers?
- What about pre-Christmas promotions and sales?
- What about Christmas gifts and gift wrapping materials?
Make it a lather, rinse, repeat experience.
Create Mother's Day gifts that come along with a good reason for mum (or the gift purchaser) to come back to your business again, soon.
Ideally, a Mother’s Day gift won’t just represent the sale of products for your business one time, but would result in a new customer coming to your business, repeat visits and the opportunity to turn a new customer into a regular, loyal customer. If you offer services (such as a salon or spa), be sure that your Mother’s Day gifts are bundled along with a gift card that mum (wife, daughter, or aunt, etc.) will come to your business to redeem and experience what your business has to offer.
Mother’s Day is fast approaching and you likely already have your Mother’s Day promotion plans in motion, but if not, here are a couple last minute ideas that also incorporate the use of social media marketing.
Something to keep in mind: women do most of the household shopping and make up the majority of users when it comes to social media sites like facebook and twitter.
Host a shopping party – Display all of your most popular Mother’s Day gift ideas prominently with signage so that they're easy to browse. Before the store opens, take a video of your store display and the products. Post the video to your facebook page with a post that your store is the local "Mother’s Day Gift Headquarters."
Host a mother/child shopping event – Have a special shopping day for mothers to bring younger children so they can shop together. Serve tea and cupcakes to draw in customers… you could have crafty gifts that children can personalise right in the store to give to mum. To tie in social media, take videos of children talking about why they love their mum and post it on your Facebook page, tagging mum so all of her online friends can see the video.
You’re probably asking “Am I supposed to know what my customers say when they leave?”
You might well be thinking:
- I want them to say “Goodbye.”
- Why do they have to say anything?
- I hope my customers leave town!
How could knowing this possibly be important? Why do you want to know what your customers say after you’ve served them?
Easy. It’s a test.
Complaint handling that discourages customers from speaking up includes all or some ofthese reactions:
- apologies and nothing more
- promises that aren't delivered
- no response at all
- rude treatment
- being passed on to someone else
- avoiding personal responsibility
- nonverbal rejection
- customer interview, or
- customer interrogation
Apologies and Nothing More
A customer walks into a restaurant and leans against a freshly painted wall, leaving a paint smear on his coat. All the staff members he talks to say they are sorry but there is no attempt to fix the situation. "I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do." The customer says, "They're very good at saying 'I'm sorry' but they don't do anything. 'Sorry' isn't good enough.
Ever wondered what the top 6 things customers hate the most? Here they are:
1. NOT LISTENING: This was the most cited reason customers dislike salespeople.thumbs down Too many salespeople are more interested in what they are saying than listening to what their customers (or prospects) are trying to tell them. They haven't learned the art of asking questions to probe for information. There's a saying I learned many years ago that holds true "We were given two ears and one mouth - to be used in that order". Listen twice as much as you talk. Time is precious and when you don't listen you actually disrespect your customer or prospect.
2. TALKING TOO MUCH: It's not about: "Boy, have I got a deal for you ... blah, blah, blah, blah". Its about "Tell me about your business, your home, your garden, your dog (whatever the subject is)," listening intently and then providing information that meets your customer's/prospect's needs. You can talk your way into a sale and then talk your way out.
3. LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: There is no excuse for not knowing your 'stuff'. You, of all people, should know your product knowledge, information about your business/company, delivery schedules - all the nuts and bolts. When you know your stuff, someone asks you a question and you answer. However, when you don't know your stuff and someone asks you a question... You look unprofessional and, at the worst, lazy.
In today's high-tech world, the one communication tool that remains a constant is the telephone. Using the telephone competently and courteously is essential to customer and client satisfaction. Poor telephone etiquette can have a disastrous effect on your telephone customer service - and bottom line.
Here are some tips for providing excellent customer service:
Preparation: Have a fair idea of what you are going to say in advance of your telephone call. Have a mental script you can fall back on if the conversation wanders.
Introduction: When we meet people face to face we often introduce ourselves with a handshake. On the phone we must do this verbally by greeting the customer with genuine warmth.
I recently met a genuinely funny man ... funniness beams from him. In fact, I'd met him a few months earlier at a seminar I was running on the Gold Coast but didn't realise it.
To ensure that mobile phones don't blast my seminars (because I want people to absorb what I'm saying, not just 'attend') I always give people the choice of turning their phones off, onto vibrate, silent or leave them on. The only thing is: If they choose to keep it on and it rings in the seminar, they will be asked to stand and sing "I'm a little teapot" and do the actions.
Back to my story: He came in late to the seminar and missed the message.
We all know that a positive tone and language are highly important when it comes to good customer service, but many retailers still use phrases that may give the wrong image and negatively impact our customers' shopping experience.
The following phrases used in a customer service setting can kill a sale and possibly lose a customer.
Here are some sayings retailers should avoid:
1. I Don't Know
Customers don't expect retailers to know everything, but when it comes to answering a product question or other enquiry, they do expect the salesperson to be confident enough in their knowledge of the business to provide an answer.
Better: "That's a good question. Let me find out for you."
Recognise that upset customers want to:
- Be listened to and taken seriously
- Have their problems understood and their distress relieved
- Be compensated for their losses
- Be reassured that you will handle their problems quickly
- Avoid further inconvenience
- Be treated with respect
- Know that the person responsible understands that a problem happened
- Be assured that the problem/s won’t happen again
You may not, of course, be able to give all that is wanted.
Sometimes we need to draw the line between the upset customer with a legitimate problem and the chronic complainer who consumes our time with unreasonable demands.stop complaining.
First, make sure you’ve got a chronic complainer. Here’s how you can tell:
- They whinge about the way others speak and act toward them, and anything else they happen to think of.
- They blame everything on someone else and don’t think about what they do to correct the situation.
- They often fail to discuss their problems with the right people. Instead, they moan to those who can’t do much to help them with their complaints.
- You’ve tried the usual approaches and nothing seems to work.
Either this fellow is dead or my watch has stopped...Groucho Marx
Walk down your street or through your local shopping centre and look for enthusiastic retailers. You'll have to check your watch. It's as though the majority of them have been hit by a time delay spray.
Ardour; Fanaticism; Ebullience; Devotion; Eagerness; Excitement; Verve; Willingness; Eccentricity; Help; Devotion; Co-operation; Intensity; Obsessiveness; Vitality.
Do you think that's a tad over the top? Perhaps you're scared of having this effect on people.
Customers wake up to yourselves! We are constantly hearing about the less than average service you experience in shops. Clever shop owners are doing their utmost to make your shopping experience an enjoyable one - they're picking the right location for you; decorating the shop to delight you; have the music you like playing whilst you browse; stocking just the right products for you; pricing products at a pricepoint that appeals to you; employing and training staff on how to best take care of you. And what are you doing? You're talking, talking, talking on your ROTTEN MOBILE PHONES - expecting to get A1 service!
Are you mad? Ever heard of the word discourteous? Actually, let me be blunt ... it's just BLOODY RUDE!!
IF you want service, do you think there is a slight possibility that you could exist for a wee while without the phone glued to your ear? Makes it rather difficult for staff to assist you.
Retailers live or die based on one thing and one thing only - customer loyalty. While location, location, location is the mantra, and great margins help a lot, it is the repeat customer and word of mouth generated by loyal customers that drives true retail success.
It seems as though we are constantly faced with the issue of trying to find new customers. Most of us are obsessed with making sure our advertising, displays, and pricing all “scream out” to attract new customers. This focus on pursuing new customers is necessary, but, at the same time, it can wind up hurting us. Perhaps our focus really should be on the 20% of our clients who currently are our best customers.
This idea of focusing on the best current customers should be seen as an on-going opportunity.