Saturday, October 24, 2015

How to Turn Non-Customers into Customers

By Kizer and Bender

 Sometimes, you just have to go back to the basics and take another look at how you are doing business. Our world has changed; customers have plenty of choices when it comes to buying what you sell. Customers themselves have changed: different generations want different things. And Gen Y and Gen Z are dragging some retailers kicking and screaming into using new technologies. But make no mistake, you will have to adapt to these new ways of doing business.
We get lots of questions these days about how to conduct business. Is there a new etiquette? The answer to that question is yes. And no. Consistently great customer service is still great customer service but it’s not always enough. Let’s take a look at three of the challenges and opportunities facing retailers today:
“Do I have to repair or service products that people purchase elsewhere?”
The easy answer is, you don’t have to, but if you want to stay in business you need to serve the people who need your help.
It costs up to five times as much to get a new customer than it does to keep an old one happy. Think about that for a moment. If a potential new customer comes to your store seeking help, help her. You didn’t get his first sale, so don’t miss the second. If you turn her away, you are not only walking potential sales, you are hurting your store’s reputation and potentially creating harmful word of mouth.  Who wants to be known as the store that isn’t willing to help?
It’s fair to charge for your services, just smile and explain your policy. Hang a sign in your store that politely tells these potential customers what you can do for them, and what it will cost. Then get to work turning them into lifelong fans of your store.
“What about customers who buy online or from another retailer and come to me for advice on how to use the product?”

This is an age old dilemma facing all retailers. We’ve met retailers who are openly hostile with customers like this who have the audacity to ask for their help. And we’ve met retailers who embrace the opportunity to get their future business. Think outside of the box! We know a scrapbook retailer who was getting killed on Cricut machines – everyone wanted them, but the big boxes were selling them for less than her cost. So she got creative and started a series of Cricut training classes, and people lined up to attend. At the end of each class, she gave attendees a coupon they could use for future purchases in her store.
So, offer classes and invite these customers to attend. Host in-store clinics where you teach the basics. And sell private lesson packages. Hang a sign in the window, and on the sales floor, that reads something like this, “It’s one thing to have a new toy, it quite another to know how much fun it can be when you know how to use it properly. We’re here to help!” Add this message to your website and social medias. Get the word out that your store is the Go-To store!
Browsers drive me crazy. I need buyers.”

Questions like this make us scratch our heads, wondering why the person who asked it ever got into retailing.
There’s a home décor store not too far from where Georganne lives, and she and the owner have become friends. It’s a fun place to go and get ideas and to dream about changing or updating your home. Georganne used to go there a lot, and over the years she made many purchases, but then she stopped going there because the owner got snotty when she did not buy. Here’s the thing: Your store has an ambiance that customers can feel when they enter the front door. This ambiance comes directly from the owners or managers personality. In other words, if you’re not happy, customers can feel it.
Once a shopper enters your store there is a world of possibility to turn them into buyers. Show them around, if they don’t buy this time how they are treated will determine if they come back. Sign them up for your newsletter and email blasts. Tell them about events and promotions, offer ideas, and invite them to hang with you on social media. You know the drill!