In the retail space, customer experience is key. Creating positive, informative, and personalized experiences each time a customer walks in the door or looks up our brand online is the only way to foster customer loyalty. But what sets a great customer experience apart?
Part of the answer comes from understanding our customers and from there determining how to engage with them. Are they knowledgeable about what’s available or are they still researching their options? Will they be in line on release day to pick up exactly what they want or will they circle around in the following months waiting for their moment to get a deal?
In today’s retail market, customers look to store associates to be their trusted guide through a shopping experience; associates combining both product expertise and insider knowledge of how customers can get the most for their money. While everyone loves to get a deal and often shop around until they find one, there are some customers for whom it will be almost impossible to close a sale without offering something unique. Here are some of the ways we can satisfy these deal seekers without giving away the farm.
Whether it’s store credit sent to customers in a personalized birthday message, a free extra item or tester added to a purchase, or just two items that are less expensive when bought together, qualified discounts not only drive sales, they drive the right kind of sales. By bundling items together that naturally complement each other, salespeople are better able to position different product lines and the customer knows they are getting all the odds and ends they need at a good price.
Being able to build complex logic to evaluate when a discount becomes available helps coach our employees to perform on the metrics that matter to us. At the same time, structuring this sort of upselling as a discount ensures they don’t come across as pushy, but rather informative with knowledge to help the customer get the deal they’re looking for and deliver a great experience.
A step which can really empower sales people to deliver a personalized sales experience is the discretionary discount; the ability to reduce the price of certain items on the fly gives the salesperson the flexibility to evaluate themselves how best to position discounting with a customer. This approach often works best when it is paired with a GP Commission model as salespeople become more conscientious of discounts and profits when they have some skin in the game.
A service fee is a great example of an opportunity for a discretionary discount. Whether it is an in-store service fee or a special-order shipping fee, this small line on the invoice can become a serious sticking point. Allowing salespeople to waive service fees at their discretion can smooth over other sticking points in a sales conversation. It also gives salespeople an easy bargaining chip to help deliver a personalized customer experience without breaking the bank.
Meanwhile, running discount reports can help us identify where discounts are being over-used and which salespeople may benefit from coaching. As well, constraints in place through a business’s POS system - like setting a bottom-line price or requiring manager approval for discounts - can help guarantee discounts are being used and not abused.
Limited Time Sales
Tried and true, the limited time offer is a mainstay of retail for a reason. It provides salespeople direction and focus as they assist with shoppers, drives our customers’ engagement with under-performing product lines, reduces the time for indecision by setting a ticking clock next to the price, and purges stale stock to make way for what’s next. It also gives people like myself, who can’t stomach paying full price for our favorite coffee beans, a welcome justification to indulge now and again. A sales price can be the determining factor in customer’s selection and can move them from being unable to justify an expense to being unable to refuse.
To utilize this tool well, as a retailer, it is essential to be able to quickly identify under-performing products, schedule a sale, and then notify the sales team. A system which can do this all within a few steps should be the best friend of inventory managers and salespeople alike for this reason. Reducing on-hand assets while delivering our customers an exceptional sales experience represents the ultimate retail win-win.
To learn more ways to empower your sales team with the tools to guide the hesitant deal-seeker to the loyal customer, attend RQ training sessions with iQmetrix experts at our upcoming Bootcamp. Running May 5-7, 2019 in Chicago, IL, you’ll be set up to empower associates to sell like never before.