Retail on the high street is finding things harder now that it has to compete with the convenience of the Internet. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to offer a great experience and flourish, still. Here are 12 tips to help boost your retail store and grow into 2019.
Tip #1. Do Not Have An Excessive Amount Of Alternatives Offers
When running a retail store, be cognizant use of refrain from creating the ‘paradox of choice’. The paradox of choice is a phenomenon whereby when faced with plentiful alternatives, you are paralyzed on how to choose just one item. While giving your customers ample choices are crucial, too much of it is not good.
A study conducted in 2000 by Lepper and Iyengar clearly demonstrates this effect. They set up two tables in a grocery store. In table A, they offer customers a selection of 6 jams to taste. On table B, they offered customers a selection of 24 different jams to taste. At the end of the study period, they found that more people would stop at table B that had 24 different jams to sample. However, when it came to purchasing jams, only 3% of those who stopped at table B made a purchase. On the other hand, about 31% of those stopped at table A made a purchase.
The biggest take away from this is: limit the variety of brand, flavors, and color options you offer in your store. When you have too many alternatives on offer, you might end up selling far less.
Tip #2. Confuse Distract And Your Shoppers
Studies have revealed that when a shopper is distracted, they lose focus and price-sensitivity. As such, you should use this knowledge to increase your sales. For instance, you can make use of vocal, pop-up ads, images, digital signage and interacting with the shoppers by simply asking “can I help you?”.
When the shopper return to look at the items after a distraction, they are more likely to be oblivious of the prices, therefore, make more purchases and spend more. This tactic is amply used by malls and supermarkets, where the entire plans are designed to distract shopper, thereby increase sales.
Tip#3. Opening Times Matter
Opening your store at the right times for your customers matters. Being open when they expect you will be open is important and can make all the difference to your store’s footfall. Trading hours will differ depending on the industry you're in of course. One of the best ways to understand the right opening times for you is to look at your competitors and this can be easily done on a site such as https://www.opening-times.co.uk/
Tip #4. Develop A Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs, though not new are still a very effective means of increasing sales in your retails store. First and foremost, they serve to increase customer loyalty, as the name would suggest. They also serve to give you insights into customers’ preference. Finally, studies have shown that they are very effective at making customers feel much happier while shopping at your store.
A 2006 study done by Zheng, Kivets, Urminsky found that customers who had reward cards for a certain café tended to chat longer with the employees, they left tips more often and smiled more than the customers who did not partake in the program.
Tip #5. Make It Easy For Your Customer to Redeem Their Rewards
Generally, when something has a perception of being easier to obtain/achieve, people work harder to obtain/achieve it. In the same research described above, Zheng, Kivets, Urminsky devised two reward clubs for two different sets of customers. The first - Group A - were given a coffee card that had 10 stamp boxes. The reward scheme was simple: get all the boxes stamped and you get a free coffee. On the other hand, customers in Groups B were given a coffee card with 12 boxes. However, the first two boxes were stamped, leaving the customers with 10 remaining boxes to fill and they would get a free coffee.
They found that customers in Group B - the customers with pre-stamped boxes - made purchases faster and completed the goal much faster. The perception that they had nearly achieved the goal made them spend faster to actualize the goal. Leverage this perception to increase participation in your loyalty program.
Tip #6. Elicit Emotions, Especially Nostalgia
Humans are emotional beings. As such, messages with an emotional connotation are more effective at connecting with your customers and much easier to remember than rational messages. That being said, it is important to note that not all emotional messages will yield the same effect. Some are more effective than others. For instance, nostalgic messages (“back in the days...”) and greed (“fancy becoming a club member today!”) will make your shopper more inclined to spend more money at your store.
Research into human behavior has shown that when people feel nostalgic, they tend to value money far less, and, therefore, are more inclined to spend more money. You can use imagery (family and holiday images) and retro music to induce nostalgia for in-store shoppers.
Tip #7 Personalize
People tend to pay more attention to personalized content. This is very evident when our names are used as it activates certain areas in our brains. However, this effect can be achieved by using information/content that someone is interested in - be it their favorite food, or musician, their favorite holiday destination, and much more.
Using the information gained through the loyalty program, retailers can gain useful insights about their customers, thereby allowing them to personalize their communications. Also, make a point of using people’s personal names in the personalized communications.
Tip #8. Do Not Be Too Polite (If You Run A Luxury Brand)
Research has shown that retailers selling luxury brand do not need to be overly polite while interacting with clients or customers. For a luxury store, having somewhat snobby-staff is the way to go if you want to increase sales.
Although it might seem counter-intuitive, this tip taps into people’s aspirations to belong to a prestigious group of few. However, this will only work in a luxury retail store environment. If you ran a mass-market retail store, you staff better stick to politeness and smiles.
Tip #9. Let Them Touch The Items
A Caltech study found that people are willing to spend more on merchandise they can see and touch. Allowing your customers to have a sensory experience is an important part of increasing sale. The more a consumer spends time touching and holding the product, the more they are willing to make a purchase.
Tip #10. Create The Illusion Of Rarity And Or Scarcity
People will create a value of every item depending on how scarce or common they perceive the item to be. A rare product, opportunity, or service will be more valuable for many people. To illustrate this, Martin Lindstrom, the famous author of “Buyology: Truth and Lies about why we buy” found that when he added the tag “maximum 8 cans of soup per customer” he could increase the sales on cans of soup at the same price point. People felt that the cans of soup were scarce, thereby impulsively bought more cans, owing to the “fear of missing out”.
Tip #11. Give Out Free Samples
By giving a free sample, you make your customers feel special. In turn, they are more inclined to reciprocate the favor.
Dr. Robert Cialdini in his book “Influence: The psychology of persuasion”, describe how a waiter increased his tips by 3 percent by simply offering a mint to diners after their meal. When he increased the mint to 2, the tip increased by 14 percent.
Regardless of the freebies, you opt to give your customers, the gesture will increase your chances of generating a sale. Get a good Retail POS System
Tip #12. Mimic Your Customers’ Gestures
Human beings tend to have a stronger affinity to people that we perceive to be similar to us. As such, when interacting with your customer, try and use their words and even try copying their body language. This “mirroring effect” is very effective at increasing the chances that someone makes a purchase from you.