The path to purchase today is hardly ever linear. It’s a journey that twists and turns and sets the customer on tangents that lead them to entirely new wants and needs. Considering some key areas and how your store can address them can make you stand out from your competition.
Think Local & Convenience
Sure you have a local customer and if you want to reach more you can certainly boost a post or ad on Facebook to improve that reach. But what can you do for the short-term local passing through? Think about the crowd heading to your area for a horseshow. What might they need that you have? How can you communicate that to them? How can you get it to where they are?
Market, advertise and promote through your own channels, but also through the show promoter. Prepare your website to show your product inventory online so the customer knows you’ve got what they need in stock and ready to go. Offer delivery that works, even if this means using a courier or delivering it yourself at midnight. This customer needs it NOW and is likely to pay a premium to get it. Charge fairly.
The Informed Consumer & Discovery
Most customers do a great deal of research online before they purchase. One of the best ways to leverage this is to become a trusted provider of information. Focus your posts on facts, comparisons and guidance, not on the sale. Provide customer reviews – consumer ratings and are important in the decision-making process. Allow the customer to discover the right option.
Think Complementary Categories
Consider merchandise categories in the same way we set the selling floor to build a sale. Create posts that focus on one category, but also suggest complementary add ons. For example, you might focus a post on the need for a new stock and in the same post suggest an upsell to a nicer stock pin. If you have an ecommerce site, you can add these items in this manner: “Customers who bought this also bought.” It is suggestive selling no matter what channel you use.
Optimize for Mobile
No matter your customer, at the very least a great deal of planning happens on a mobile device. Make sure your digital marketing is optimized for a multiple devices.
ONO offers several tools to help you understand your store, your customer and the experience you offer starting at $99. Contact us today. email@example.com
Data shows that US shoppers still prefer to make most purchases in store, for major purchases and those that are sized, particularly for the 50+ customer. This makes perfect sense as this customer is not a digital native and he or she grew up purchasing in store and participating in retail as entertainment. This product and age criteria likely makes up a good portion of your shop offering and customer. So why aren’t they coming?
An excerpt of a current article from the Platt Retail Institute’s Quarterly Journal of Retail Analytics, The Seven Deadly Sins of Retail Laggards by Laura Davis-Taylor, Executive Vice President, Customer Experience, MaxMedia may unlock the key. Davis-Taylor proposes 7 sins keeping many longtime retailers from maintaining success. Let’s find out if you are a Saint or a Sinner.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear this: “It works. It has always worked. I’ve always done it this way.” That’s all well and good, but what worked pre-internet does not work now. If you are hanging on to what you have done in the past as the best and only way, I encourage you to look to the future.
Another comment I hear often: “I’m overwhelmed. I’m not sure I can compete in the new landscape and more importantly, I’m not sure I want to.” I get it. I’m not a digital native. In fact, I am sick of the digital world. I hate social media. Here’s the good news. I don’t have to do social media. I can hire someone who understands it and likes it to do it for me. Consider this. You can focus on your 50+ customer with a fantastic in-store and more traditional communication, while someone else develops your digital side. You get to be in the space you like while someone else develops the space you don’t and builds your future.
I am a big believer in hiring those who fit your business culture. It is absolutely necessary in today’s environment. That doesn’t mean, however, that you always hire from within, or from your current network. You must step outside and find employees who look at your business with “fresh eyes” and bring “fresh ideas”. Urban Outfitter brands do this very well. The hire numerous new young people who fit each brand culture, but bring a fresh perspective. If you aren’t ready to hire, how about building a teen or young adult advisory board? Consider partnering with a local high school or higher ed institution on an in-class project to get new ideas.
Now it’s time to be really honest with you. What is the first thing that pops in your mind when you read “customer”? Was that thought positive or negative? Now dig deep and think hard. Do you see your customer as your enemy? What comes first in your business – your business (ie. you) or your customer? Many stores I work with say the customer comes first, but the experience they offer says otherwise. Consider what you do for your customer. Does your store give your customer a pleasant shopping experience? Are your sales people welcoming and engaging? What amenities do you offer – coffee, seating, a clean restroom, clean fitting rooms with good mirrors? Do you go the extra mile for your customer?
When was the last time you looked at your store and service from your customer’s perspective? As the retail landscape changes, so does customer expectation. You MUST study your customer thoroughly at least once a year. Observation is invaluable. Listening will give you insight. There are many ways to structure a deep dive into your customer’s shoes that will quickly reveal where you have opportunities to improve. All you have to do is be willing to try.
If you are still stuck in Product, Price, Placement and Promotion you are missing the point. Retail has moved way past transaction. It’s about lifestyle, culture and personal connection. If these terms aren’t coming out of your mouth daily, start using them.
So how did you make out? Are you a Saint or Sinner? The good news is as an independent retailer you are more nimble than the big boys. You have the ability to respond to the customer and the market more quickly. Many of these sins can be corrected quickly and with little investment.
ONO offers several tools to help you understand your store, your customer and the experience you offer starting at $99. Contact us today: firstname.lastname@example.org
You do. Understanding how your customer shops is KEY to setting your floor to optimize sales. Having merchandise presented the way your customer shops will lead to a great in-store experience, allow your floor to act as a silent seller and help you sell through more merchandise at full price.
Item driven shoppers are just that. They come in looking for a particular item, for example a coated steel hoof pick. This shopper will want to see the hoof picks by material. This way the shopper can quickly find the individual item they are looking for. Customer Statement: "I'm looking for a coated steel hoof pick."
Hoof Picks are a product category with various types of offerings - economy, metal, plastic, multi-use, etc. A category shopper comes into your store for a hoof pick . He/she wants to see your total hoof pick selection - all makes, models and prices that you have. He/she will then choose the dream pick from those. For this shopper, I suggest grouping by material first, plastic or metal. Customer Statement: "I need a hoof pick."
Brand shoppers are loyal to products from one or more brands. In our hoof pick example, this customer will want a Tail Tamer's hoof pick. This customer will prefer you merchandise the Hoof Pick category by brand with each model from that brand grouped together - coated steel, soft touch, economy. Customer Statement: "I'm looking for a Tail Tamer's coated steel hoof pick."
What's the best way to find out how your customer shops? Observation. Create a simple tick box system for your staff and run an observation for a week or two. Selections will be Item, Category and Brand. Have your staff place a tick under the appropriate selection when they either observe, overhear, or interact with a customer. After a week or so, you should see a hierarchy developing. NOTE: You may need to do this exercise for different larger categories, for example one for people clothes, one for horse clothes, one for horse accessories, etc.
With the hierarchy in place, you can set your categories to serve the majority of your shoppers. For example, if you find your hoof pick customer is brand driven first, you will set the hoof pick category by brand, then by individual models within the brand. All Tail Tamer's together. All Roma together. All Jack's together. And so on.
Need help? Ask us how.