The busiest time of year for retail businesses is here with us. Increased numbers are expected to flock to our shopping centres for various reasons: to purchase items, to window-shop, to accompany friends or family – or perhaps to get a feel of the excitement the season brings. Whatever the reasons are, businesses should grasp the opportunity and offload their wares as much as possible before it all ends. Here are a few pragmatic steps to take advantage of increased numbers in our shopping centres and high streets at this time of year, so as to maximise sales.
- Draw attention to your Shop to remind customers you are there
Christmas is a time for sharing and giving. The season has the potential to pulleven the most shop-averse individuals tothe shops for gift items. How do you draw attention to your shop in the midst of crowds and the seemingly keen competition? Consider advertising on traditional media with print, radio or TV.
Social media has turned out as an effective and relatively cheaper advertising tool. It is hugely far-reaching and may cost little or nothing at all on some platforms. A reliable customer contact database is required to embark on social media advertising campaigns. Businesses that have not gathered customer data as a practice may lose out on this far-reaching advertising tool. Make it a practice to collect basic data on all your shop regulars and first-time visitors alike. This will help to effectively disseminate information on seasonal promotions during such peak periods.
Use both internal and external bright decorative lights and promotional designs to enhance merchandise, and music that appeals to your target customers. At the peak of the season, it would be great to create an extension of your shop at the front or on the street where the shop is located. This will serve as a pull into the shop.
- Commit to Selling Your Products
After successfully pulling footfalls to the shop, the next step is to effectively sell to them and maximise sales. Get more people on the shop floor to attend visitors and ensure that no visitor remains unattended to. Selling still remains a face-to-face human activity that technology has not replaced yet. Increasing the surface area for customer interfaces increases the chance of making a sale.
Attending to shoppers can sometimes imply mere observation of their movements for a short while to ascertain the need to approach them or not. Shop floor attendants should not bombard shoppers with the “is there anything I can help you with?” cliché. Allow newly-arrived visitors to have a feel of products on display, and then if necessary confidently initiate conversation in a friendly and non-intimidating tone. Communicate product features in a manner that offers solutions to meet the desires of shoppers. Get your people to offer service that will win life-time customers for the shop.
Ensure sales happen by advertising products in-store. It will cost you zero airtime to advertise products especially seasonal items to visitors who are already in the shop. Invest in stimulating radio jingles and videos of items on offer, and constantly play the adverts on the shop floor. Also, create attractive product displays and well-designed store layouts to drive sales. Ensure seasonal and promotional items are clearly visible to all visitors. You need to sell as much of them as possible before the season ends.
A supermarket can consider combining seasonal promotions of children’s treats with adult gift items. This may stimulate buying of seasonal gift items once parents/guardians with children are drawn to the particular aisles.
- Get Suitable People
Some businesses may need to recruit more hands – perhaps temporary staff to cover the busy period. Employ people with a friendly attitude and who are keen to exert energy. Remember, any bad experience or impression that a shopper takes away during this busy period may linger with them for life and they may never visit your shop again. This also means working on your shop’s Employee Net Promoter Score (EPNS).
This is a measure ofyour members’ preparedness to promote your products. Implement aspecial sales staff reward system, and also work on product-knowledge among staff. The permanent staff should then pass on product-knowledge and team skills.Train both old and new staff on basic selling and customer service skills to ensure they give their best for your store to maximise sales and build your customer base.
- Provide Quality Service
Shop attendants should constantly be on the lookout for customers who require help with their shopping – with children, or who require some other form of assistance. Remember, the goal is to transform today’s Christmas shoppers intolifetime customers. Also, ensure speed of service – especially at the check-out or when providing some required assistance. Information on shop opening and closing times for the season should be readily available.
- Ensure Cleanliness ofYour Outlet’s Interior and Exterior
The season calls for a complete cleanup and overhaul in all parts of your outlet. Ensure a clean and attractive exterior and interior of the store, with thoroughly neat fixtures, fittings and furniture. Clear idle furniture to create space for display or storage of seasonal items. The whole idea is for your outlet to appear tidy, full and attractive.
Some outlets may require repairs, repainting or additional lighting. Also, fix broken in-store or outdoor sign ages as customers will notice them. Christmas shoppers require additional space because of possible crowds. Ensure adequate space around shelves with seasonal/promotional items to make them stand out. Apparel shops may consider using smaller round tables nested around each other to create dramatic display areas, particularly for high-selling items.
Give your outlet a facelift and make sure your shoppers have a WOW! experience this Christmas. Once this is achieved, these same customers will visit your shop all year round.
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