Photo by: Nick Hillier
It’s tough running an offline store right now. Not with all that competition out there.
Imagine trying to make sales when you have got brands like Amazon and Etsy sucking up all the potential customers like some gigantic vacuum cleaner.
Throw in a pandemic and you have got an even bigger challenge.
And so, local offline businesses need ideas to win more customers now more than ever.
Fortunately, I have put together 8 simple ideas that will help transform your customers’ shopping experience and drive more sales.
Here they are:
Give Your Staff Some Customer Service Training
Customer service is an important ingredient in the soup of business.
Your customers are the reason you are in business. And so, if you want to beef up your customers’ shopping experience, you need to throw in some customer service.
You may have the customer service down pat, but what about your staffs?
You should get your staff regular customer training to bring them up to speed on the latest concepts in customer service. Study your staff, see how they interact with your customers, and come up with ideas to help improve their interactions.
Furthermore, try to understand more about what your customers want and work on streamlining your products/services to their needs. Get your team in on it; supply them with ample information about your customers’ needs and your products/services. This will help them better answer your customers’ questions.
The better your staffs can answer customers’ questions, the better your service will be perceived.
Play Some Music In Your Store
Music can do a lot more in local businesses than it is given credit for. It can be used to control and/or set a desired mood. Imagine what will happen if you play the right music in your store during business hours.
What kind of music should you play?
Well, just about any kind there is – jazz, rock, soul, hip pop, reggae, etc. It all depends on the type of business you run and the kind of customers you cater to.
For instance, if you run a restaurant or a coffee shop, calm and soothing music would be appropriate. This is because your customers would appreciate a quiet environment to eat or work on their laptops (for coffee shops).
Just be sure that the music playing in the background of your business resonates with your brand image and the culture of the local community.
Make Your Signage Clear And Easy To Understand
Your signages are like street signs, only smaller.
They serve the same function as street signs; which is, show your customers where to go. Therefore, you need to pay attention to what they say or how they say it.
Ask your staffs or even your customers if they find it easy to navigate your store. Change out signages with directions that aren’t clear and make sure they are positioned properly to make them easy to see. Also, write them out in bright colours.
In sum, your customers’ experience will greatly improve if you make it easy for them to find what they need.
If You Sell Products, Offer A Service Alongside Them
To create a better experience for your customers, you may want to consider offering a service alongside your products. Your products are valuable already, don’t get me wrong; however, a service will boost their value.
Adding a service to your products is a sure way to increase the chances of customers making a purchase. It doesn’t have to be an expensive service, heck, it could even be totally free of charge. For instance, if you sell clothes, you could help customers pick matching accessories.
When you help customers get the best experience with your products, you are sure they’ll be back for more. Therefore, just think of a service that compliments your product and you’d be one step ahead of your competitors.
Create A Kid-Friendly Environment
If your customers consist of parents who frequently shop with their kids, you may want to make it worthwhile.
How’d you do that?
Most parents would love to shop in peace, but that can be pretty difficult with kids in tow. And so, you should create a kind sort of kiddies zone where parents can leave their kids and go on to shop. You can have fun games, colour books, toys, sandboxes, etc., in the kiddies zone to keep kids occupied while their parents shop.
Additionally, you could include kid-sized shopping cart so that parents can wheel them around. Kids love this. It helps the kids have fun being pushed around and at the same time save parents the stress of pulling them by hand.
Furthermore, you can hand out colour books, crayons, or toys with each purchase made. This will put you top-of-mind with your customers and will keep them coming back.
Have A System To Reward Your Customers
Humans are hardwired for rewards.
We like to receive something for doing something. While the size of the reward is usually inconsequential, the gesture is gold. Rewarding your customers for shopping with you sparks an emotional connection to your brand. And an emotional connection is the foundation of loyalty.
In fact, you want to inspire loyalty in your customers. Loyal customers sustain businesses for years into the future; they are the primary source of cashflow.
One really effective way to engender loyalty is to create a loyalty program.
A loyalty program is usually designed to reward long-time customers for their business. However, you can reward to customers for purchases above a certain amount. This will encourage them to spend more in order to get more reward and keep them loyal to your brand.
Maintain A High Level Of Cleanliness In Your Store
You can never go wrong with cleanliness.
Customers love to shop in a store that is clean and welcoming. And so, you want to make sure your shelves and floors are squeaky clean. Clean out cobwebs in the corners and keep the paint on the wall fresh. Keep your fixtures in good condition and keep every section in your store brightly lit.
In addition to that, you want to encourage your staffs to keep clean and dress properly. Since they interact with your customers, you want them to look clean and tidy. Have them keep their nails short and hair kempt.
Not only that, you want to keep your rest rooms neat and tidy. Put up some sweet fragrances in there to keep the air smelling fresh.
Listen To Your Customers
Sometimes, even after studying your customers and speaking with your customer-facing staffs, you may still not know what your customers want.
What’s the best way to do this?
Simple – you ask them.
Your customers know best what they want. They know their pain points and what they are looking for in their shopping experience. Asking them puts you in their shoes and helps you better understand them.
There are a few ways to do this.
You could hand out surveys to your customers to fill out. Or speak to them directly and take notes.
Alternatively, you can study all the reviews your customers have written online and observe the most frequently mentioned problems. Sometimes, customers proffer suggestions to businesses about a service they’ll love to have or particular product that serves them best.
Recommended read: Voice of the Customer (VoC): How to listen to them.
Look at all the suggestions provided by your customers and apply them to your business. When you do, let your customers know that you have heard their concerns and have made changes to address those concerns.
This can help build loyalty because customers love it when businesses take their opinions seriously.
Another way to do this is to study customer data. Observing customer buying behaviour and everyday customer data can reveal a lot about your customers’ shopping experience.
But how can you do this?
You can use a Wi-Fi marketing and analytics platform like SpotOn Wi-Fi that can collect customer data in real-time and on autopilot. SpotOn can capture data like customer visit frequency, how long customers stay in your store, how much they spend per visit, and more.
To learn more about this software, shoot us a message and we’d fill you in.POSTED ON September 18, 2020