Shoppers arrive at stores today knowing what they want, including product details, available discounts, competitive pricing, and even specific information on store inventories. Everything is a click away.
So how do you sell to a customer that can independently research everything online? Vend recently addressed this very issue, identifying five new strategies to impress the seemingly un-impressible customer:
Know Something They Don’t – By having information that is more difficult (or impossible) for customers to find is a great way to get their attention. As Vend points out, “When you’re educating staff on your merchandise, tell the stories behind each product. Who designed it? What’s it made from? What’s unique about its ingredients or materials? Knowing these things — and sharing them with shoppers — helps you engage with them more effectively.”
Look for the Right Fit – Offer customers a more personal experience by inquiring about their lifestyle, rather than just needs and wants. Without being too nosy, asking questions about how a customer plans to use an item or how it fits into their home/family/business is a great way to open up a whole new dialogue and advise accordingly. Vend uses the Apple store as an example: Employees are encouraged to observe payment choices. For instance, if a customer pays via business credit card, employees can inquire more about their business to make relevant solution suggestions.
Present the Best Options – Instead of giving customers every product option in every product category, Vend advises companies to curate carefully selected options. A great way to do this is to “get to know your target customers. Be more thoughtful about the products you present to them. A good way to do this is to simply pay attention to their feedback.” This leads to the next piece of advice…
Listen to Feedback – Studies have supported the business importance of customer feedback, but arming employees with this information may present a new avenue for sales efforts. While customers can read reviews themselves, sales people can also use previous customers’ feedback to more intimately assist customers. Vend says “If you have ratings and reviews on your website, consider incorporating them in your physical location. Take Amazon Books in Seattle. The retailer has a ‘Highly Rated’ section in-store where it showcases top-rated books alongside real reviews from Amazon users.”
Know What’s New – Staying abreast of current trends and having insider knowledge on your industry is another great way to sell to the seemingly all-knowing customer. If you sell shoes, make sure to know seasonal trends, as well as what specific fashion magazines may be saying about current footwear trends. Support this knowledge with facts about your brand’s forthcoming styles, when they are expected to arrive in-store and online, and most importantly, how they tie into the trends.
Whatever your differentiating approach to reaching customers, Vend points out that it’s almost always helpful to deliver a personalized experience. And given the abundance of online information available today, it helps to present facts, or make connections, that customers may not have already found themselves.
Speaking of store associates, if you’re looking for ways to engage and motivate your staff, you may want to check out Vend’s Staffing Guide. This free resource is chock-full of advice and insights that can help you empower your staff and increase your store’s productivity.