Business problem turnaround: Customers browse your store, then buy on Amazon

December 4, 2017

“Showrooming”—the practice of viewing a product in-store only to purchase it from another retailer online, is a common concern for merchants, and with e-commerce sales expected to exceed $370 billion in 2017, it’s no wonder why. Yet more than half of shoppers still visit stores to inspect products before they buy according to Retail Dive’s recent research. This offers merchants a unique opportunity to win the sale, or better yet, to inspire customer loyalty and repeat business. Here are 7 tips to convert foot traffic into sales.

1. Appeal to your best customers.

There are some customers who will only buy from the cheapest retailer, regardless of what you do. Ignore them. Focus instead on your most profitable customers and uncover why they prefer to purchase from you. Is there a unique feature of your products or store that appeals to customers? Do your products attract a niche audience who prefer handmade items, or things that are customized to them? Are they looking for something truly unique, or locally sourced? Do they prefer to purchase from businesses they know support the same causes? Do they want a special touch such as a handwritten note, unique wrapping paper, or assistance putting together a complicated product? Many customers are willing to pay a premium for superior quality or service, and sometimes the small details tip the sale in your favor.

2. Boost your online, mobile presence.

If customers are comparison shopping in your store, make sure they find you in the search results! Pointy is an app that helps drive traffic to your store by creating web pages for all of your products and services, complete with images and names. Pointy also helps your store rank locally, which is crucially important. You not only want to make sure the person in your store is reminded to buy from you—you also want to attract shoppers nearby and let them know you carry products they are interested in. Using an app like Pointy takes all the work out of updating your website and helps you close the sale.

3. Don’t “sell,” consult.

Ask the customer’s name, who the item is for, and what problem they are hoping to solve. Are they looking for slacks that are slimming, or the latest trend? Do they want a treat to end a meal that isn’t too caloric? Uncover what the customer wants and suggest solutions to problems. Make sure to focus on the benefits of a particular product and how they help the customer solve their problem. Teach your sales staff to be active listeners—to repeat what they think the customer wants to make sure their recommendations make sense. “OK, so you’re looking for an outfit that can be worn to work or out for dinner. Something fun, but still professional enough you can wear it to a business event? Have you considered this blouse? You can dress it up or down with these matching accessories depending on the look you’re going for.”

4. Personalize the experience.

Customers are tempted to price-shop when the sale feels transactional. Train your sales staff to give more personalized customer service. Even small things, like remembering a loyal customer’s name, helps personalize the experience and encourages loyalty. Clothing stores can offer to measure customers to make sure they’re getting the best fit, coffee shops can “remember” a loyal customer’s order, or service-based businesses can offer a free consultation to make sure customers are choosing products and services that are right for them.

5. Educated customers are better customers.

Another way to avoid transactional sales is to make customers more savvy about the products themselves. Offer an event where customers get to meet your suppliers. Make sure they understand that other local businesses rely on yours to sell their products. Whether it’s a taste-test, test-drive, fashion show, makeover, or free evaluation, an event can really showcase what makes your products, and business, unique.

6. Establish roots.

Customers who consistently buy local do so because they want to support their town or city. Become a vital thread in the fabric of your local community. Donate to local fundraisers like children’s’ sports groups or 5K runs to gain visibility. Encourage your city newspaper to cover events at your store by inviting reviewers or spotlighting your commitment to the community. Post images, on your walls and on social media, of locals enjoying your products. Develop a memorable experience for the next local festival so your business becomes part of an annual tradition. If customers feel emotionally tied to your store they are more likely to buy from you, regardless of whether it’s “convenient” or the best bargain.

7. Attract “regulars.”

Pay attention to local phenomenon and see if you can leverage them. Are you near a bus stop? How about offering a commuter special? Next to a community hall? Perhaps you can entice people to come in after BINGO or other regular events. Next to a senior citizen center? Offer senior specials. By monitoring the ebb and flow of natural foot traffic you can develop strategies for encouraging repeat business.

Bonus tip: Reward loyal customers. With the Clover App Market, offering a rewards program is easy. We can help you keep track of points, coupons, and more. Keep in mind that some of the best rewards are not monetary. (Check out these Crowd pleasers: 8 smart, affordable ideas to deepen customer loyalty.)

Take your piece of the pie home these holidays. See how Clover can help.

[image: IMG_3148 by UltraSlo1 on flickr]

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