What do the customer centric apparel retailers do to convert shoppers into their customers, and also build long term relations with them?
Initially retailers focused on finalizing the sales quickly, once the customers entered the store. With the advent of competition, online sales options, mobile shopping tools, and websites have separated customers from sales associates. Now, retailers are focusing more on providing a satisfactory in store experience for their consumers.
Many a times when customers walk into a store, they are unsure of what they want to buy. But retailers normally assume that customers know what they want, and just walk into the store to buy it. These retailers fail to employ knowledgeable staff, and help customers to make their decisions. Ultimately, they lose sales. The underlying fact behind this is that almost 40% of the consumers are willing for a persuasion. They need confirmation, and reconfirmation from the retailer's side, so as to take the buying decision.
The customer oriented retailer, who not only plans for the sale at the moment, but is also concerned in building a long term relation with the customer, and earn his loyalty, should focus on various other facts, apart from just pushing the customer to buy his product. As time changes, so do the rules of the retail game.
Right frontline force:
Many retailers claim that they can't afford for a high-value sales staff. Having frontline staff to enable effective sales is costly, and also time consuming. Adding the right kind of sales staff gives the retailers a more attractive payback opportunity. This is one of the powerful and straight forward business strategies.
While sales is an art, its essence can be brought down to four key factors; open, ask for the customers need, display, and finally; close the sale. A recent survey reveals that 86% of the sales associates fail to close the sale at the right time. Employing front line staffs who enjoy the selling process is of paramount importance to a retailer. They have to be selected appropriately, trained properly, and rewarded adequately. A right frontline staff should have adequate personality and attributes to be an effective sales person.
A survey done in apparel stores state that providing extra sales assistance during specific hours increased the sales by 1.5-2 times. The front line staffs need to be focused on their personal hygiene and body posture. They should keep their hands clean, as they need to handle merchandise, and should have a well dressed appearance.
Improved In-store experience:
Visual merchandising does have a strong effect on the customer's mind set. They make their buying decisions based on the visual displays in the store. Manipulating the ways consumers examine the things also make a difference. Paying attention to customer behavior is very valuable, and gives good payback to the retailer.
Apparel retail stores providing a fitting room is found to increase the sales by 37% higher. Jones New York, a sportswear retailer has incorporated Microsoft tag technology into the retail experience. These tags provide unique videos which shoppers can download into their mobiles while they shop. They also get quotes of inspirational women, and style tips from the Jones New York Style Guy. These techniques enhance the customer's shopping experience on the floor, and those which will not be available while shopping online.
Brands also need to foster goodwill of their customers so as to retain them, especially during tough times. Notable brands such as Westside, Adidas, Levi's, and Spencer's Retail have managed to keep their customer base intact only because of their goodwill, their customers had for the brand. Goodwill delivers immediate value, preference, and personal significance of the brand among the customers.
The best-in-class apparel retailers are always prepared to deliver what the customers want, and even beyond that. Retailers should know to smartly capitalize on the changing attitudes of the customers through their creative thoughts. It might cost them a little, but brings forth goodwill, and ultimately resulting in the long term relationship with the customers.