This month we would like to talk a bit about making things streamlined and easy for your customers. The easier it is to buy, the more money in your register. So why do many stores continue to make it so difficult?
You may not even realize it, but you may be doing a lot of things in your store that are making it difficult for your customers to buy your products. Here are the top things stores do that nip purchases in the bud.
Difficult Return Policies
Why should it be so hard for someone to return something? They bought it, it doesn’t work for them, they want to bring it back. So let them…even if they bought it online. Returns should be seamless across your outlets. The customer doesn’t care about your operations, they just know they bought something from your store, online or otherwise. If they want cash back, let them have it. Don’t force them into your silly policies, have an easy and friendly policy to take all returns.
And while you are at it, make it a positive experience. C. Wonder gives customers a free pair of earrings with every return. It is their way of ensuring that the customer enjoyed their shopping even if the product purchased was returned. Returns can be an enjoyable experience, so don’t make them a hassle.
You Have Rules
Don’t touch, no food, no cell phones, no price checking. Seriously? If these are the type of signs you have all around your store, then you should expect people to walk out without buying. Would you want to be treated this way?
Let your customers shop how they want. If they want to talk on their phones, let them. If they want to check prices on Amazon, who cares? Are your products that boring and overpriced that you are worried? If so, you have larger issues to deal with. Don’t force your customers into following rules and orders, shopping should be fun.
You Can’t Be Found
We are not talking about you personally here, we are talking about having a store presence online. If your customers can’t find you, how will they know you are there? And how can they check out reviews and see if it is a store worth going to? If you lack a website or social media outlets, you lack credibility. While you may feel you don’t need a facebook page or twitter account, and we get that, at least update your address on Google so people know you are legit.
Unreliable or Unpredictable Store Hours
If you say you are open, then be there. And generally, be there when it is convenient for customers, not you. Think like your customer and what works for their schedule, if you are on their way home and they want to shop after work and you are closed, they are buying things elsewhere. And nothing is more frustrating then getting to a store only to find a sign that says “out for lunch” or “closed early due to nice weather”. You run a business, act like it.
Store is Cluttered, Dirty or Otherwise Uncomfortable to Shop
Is your store design to be conducive to customers shopping? For instance, some kids stores have no room for strollers to navigate, clothing stores have mirrors that are blocked by fixtures or with products piled in front, dressing rooms need to be “unlocked” by a store associate who is nowhere to be found etc.. Or the reverse happens where the store help hovers and watches everything the customer does and repeatedly offers “help”. Make it comfortable and easy for customers, give them what they need to shop whether it be an activity for children, mirrors to see clothes, convenient dressing rooms, information on signage so they can comfortably help themselves without a hovercraft employee, etc.
Can’t Find Product
Stores should “navigate” visually like great websites and customers should be able to visually “click” “click” “click” and see where the item they want would be housed. Clear signage directing people to product categories or store areas are essential. If they can’t figure it out fast, they will figure out how to get out fast.
Asking Customers for Charity
We totally support stores having a charitable cause. However, it puts customers in an awkward position when they are asked to donate a certain amount when they are checking out. No one wants to feel guilty or cheap but most times they are trying to quickly check out and leave the store. Customers have their own causes and they like stores that are charitable BUT with the stores money not the customers money so for many this can spoil a register situation. It is a lot of pressure to put on a customer in front of others and the next time they are choosing a store, they may choose one where they are more comfortable. Instead offer engaging events that integrate the cause into your store. Or allow employees paid time to volunteer for your charity.
These are just a few things we see stores do that can turn customers off and send them (and their money) elsewhere. What are other things you have seen that have made customers walk away? Tell us your stories, we will happily suggest some ways to avoid the situation.