Retail Concepts held a twitter party where we discussed how to make your store easier to shop. Many stores inadvertently make it difficult for customers to buy. Are you doing things in your store that may be turning off your customers? Below we have the transcript of questions and answers from the chat.
Q: Is ecommerce necessary?
A: Not necessarily-if you can afford, then great. If not, then ensure your site informs and engages, both of which are key
Q: In a place where there are multiple retailers all providing similar products, how do we make our site different?
A: Invest in refreshed homepage. Have product call outs on brand and on customer graphic/design and be easy to navigate
Q: What do I do if a customer brings in an item after the return “deadline”?
A: What costs more-potential lost $ on older returned item OR lost $ from customer w/lifetime value… We say stick with the customer.
Q: What other forms of marketing can work since direct mail seems passé and u can only ask for referrals so many times?
A: Partnerships w/others who cater 2 your customer. Also hold in store events and be sure to create an interactive & engaging experience in the store.
Q: Should I do Groupon?
A: With a discount (50% off) and the Groupon fee (1/2 revenue), and your labor/goods at reg. cost & since not all new customers, we vote NO
Q: Sue from CA asks: Moms bring kids/food/etc and clog aisles with carriages and then want to use bathrooms. How do we get them to follow our rules?
A: Stores exist for customers who pay bills and feed their families. Give them what they want always WITHOUT rules. Customers rule!
Q: Should I be open every day of the week?
A: YES. Customers should be able to shop all week, not when convenient for you…you’re pay rent 7days/week so the store needs to do business every day
Q: We are fed up w/customers using phones in our stores to find stuff online or to make calls, we don’t need or want to hear personal stuff!
A: Worse is hearing YOUR stuff when you should be cleaning up displays/bathrooms. Customers can keep their phones but yours must go!
Q: Mike from NY asks: How do we deal with people taking pictures of merchandise in our store and using us as a showroom for Amazon?
A: Go ahead and let them take pictures. Yes, you may have people using your store as a showroom but you have to ask yourself, why are they not buying from you–you have them captive in YOUR store under YOUR roof and with YOUR product. It’s not always about price.
Q: What can we do to make it “fun” for people to come into our store? We can’t hold events and specials everyday!
A: Just because there is no special event it can still be fun. Bring your personality into your store in little ways Offer drinks and snacks. Have fun contests. Make sure you and your employees are energetic upbeat and enjoying being in the store. Let people sample your products. Get creative!
Q: As owner/operator, it is hard to get off the floor to work on other things. Thoughts?
A: Get a manager you can trust to handle the floor so you can take a break and address other store needs
Q: The store always feels dirty and we can’t keep up with cleaning and tidying up product, what do we do?
A: Maybe you should look more closely at your employees. Often less employees who are better quality and paid more can be more valuable than more employers who are paid less, and therefore less engaged. This is the Container Store philosophy and it works.
Q: What is Pinterest? And how can I use it to drive traffic to my store?
A: Pinterest is a visual showcase. It can be a great tool depending on the type of store you have. It can also be a fun way to run contests, learn about your customers’ interests and interact. Show clothing & how mixes w/pieces, create board w/items of one color, post recipes, etc. Then link back to your site.
Q: People walk in and out of my store without buying- HELP!
A: Clearly something they are not finding what they are looking for in store. You can’t ask them as they just left, so instead watch them next time looking at products and then them putting down. Think: are the prices too high? Look around & leave too… can’t find what they want? Try to discern
Q: What’s the best way to go about market research?
A: Clearly define your target market and then go to where they shop and watch them
Q: We spend a lot on marketing but are having trouble getting people into the store. HELP!
A: There is a difference between marketing that is reactive and proactive. Start with a budget and how you will use it over the next 6 months. Don’t waste your time with radio, newspaper or *gasp* TV. Use it to reach your specific customer places that fit their lifestyle. Give away samples, plan events. Introduce yourself to the local media and try to get unpaid PR about your store. Partner w/local businesses. A well thought out plan will gain you more and will save u $.
Q: How do we teach out staff to get more units and dollars per sale?
A: Don’t. Goal should be happier and better informed customers per store visit
Q: I want to start my own clothing franchise, where do I start?
A: Assuming u mean your own store, do a comprehensive plan. The process will force you to learn how to succeed.