Despite the Internet, brick and mortar retail store still serve the marketplace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment of retail salespersons to grow approximately 17 percent from 2010 to 2020. Customers still enjoy the experience of shopping in a physical store or boutique, whether shopping for new clothes or books. Yet, to compete with e-commerce, brick and mortar store owners face the ongoing challenge of converting leads into buying, even loyal, customers. Unlike the Internet and e-commerce sites, stores create personal shopping experiences. To capitalize on this advantage, retailers can note the following techniques to boost those sales.
1. Create an Experience
Start by making your store an attractive, accessible place people want to flock to. Apple fans love Mac stores because they get to see, touch and experience first-hand the products in a sleek, friendly and impressive environment. Social strategist Tara DeMarco and Christopher Studach, the creative director at modern retail design firm King Retail Solutions, believe future retail stores will become “more theatrical,” actually putting the shopping experience ahead of the product.
2. Greet & Facilitate
Greeting and acknowledging a new customer is good, but efficiently guiding them to their desired destination is even better. Most customers arrive at a store with a purchasing agenda and will go to another retailer if they don’t think the store can fulfill their need. Be sure your store is well-organized and staffed with sales agents ready to assist and direct them to their desired products.
3. Demonstrate & Educate
Once the retail associate has guided the customer to the product they desire, the interaction shouldn’t stop there. Associates should remove the product from the shelf or rack and highlight it — demonstrate it to the customer as appropriate. Sales associates should be fully educated about the features and benefits of the entire product line. Authorize them to offer a volume discount if the customer buys more than one.
4. Stock Up & Reduce Expenses
Brick and mortar stores are designed to immediately provide a customer experience. If the customer wants to buy an item, they can have the tangible item in their hands right away, rather than waiting two to five business days for shipping. Ensure your store is stocked both out front and in the back room in case your customers want to buy in volume. Also, alleviate some of your business expenses with volume purchases by investing in small business credit cards. American Express credit cards benefits, such as membership rewards points, travel rewards and flexible payment options, can enhance your store’s operations.
5. Provide a Fitting Room
Retailers estimate customers who use the fitting room are 70 percent more likely to follow through with a purchase. Customers assisted by a store employee buy on average two times as much merchandise. Victoria’s Secret is known for having helpful salespeople who guide customers to fitting rooms so that they can help them find items that fit perfectly. The best salespeople build rapport at the fitting rooms, and will help sell even more of the merchandise the customers are trying on.