The global economic crisis manifested itself in the most commonly heard complaints – a shrinking customer base, receding sales figures, worries and anxiety about piling inventories. These are the all too familiar signs of the recession affecting your business and the solution if there is any that will work, is to try and maximize customers.
Maximizing customers means making the most of those who walk into the shop or use your sit, by ensuring that they get what they want and can be persuaded to buy more. This is possible by suggesting more products to them, offering the ones on discount and with prior information about their likes and preferences, offering them what they like the most. Maintaining a database of customers will help in keeping all the information about their preferred brands and products bought, and ensuring that those are offered to them each time you engage with them. Chances are that they will buy them along with what they had initially set out to buy.
A few principles of maximizing customers:
- Retailers make money from multiple sales- so when a customer walks in and buys something, sell them more stuff that may appeal, using the information kept on their shopping preferences. For instance, a customer buying a serving bowl can be offered the whole set that matches.
- Collecting customer data and information helps in knowing customer tastes and offering them not just anything and everything, but specific products that they have liked or brands that they have shown a preference for. Their address and contact numbers can be used to sending them messages about new products, brand promotions and discounts.
- Asking customers to fill a wish list-and then finding ways to fulfill those wishes of the customer. This then helps to buy customer loyalty as the retailer appears as a businessman who cares.
- Staying in touch with customers helps to remind them of the store’s existence and this will make them come back. Subtle ways are better than the sales fliers.
- Customer referrals help. If a set of customers become loyalists of the store, they must be encouraged to spread the word and the positives you offer. This network can help to increase sales. A friend’s recommendation is generally viewed positively even for a new store.
- Sales coupons and discount vouchers tempt people to buy even those things that they do not use regularly and are willing to try a first time.
- Bounce back coupons are a new way to bring back customers. If they shop for $100, they are given a coupon for a $10 discount to use on their next purchase-the idea being, the more you spend the more you earn as discount.
- Customer testimonials help in boosting the image of the store and they must be encouraged to send these in. When published and others read them, they are often tempted to check out the store for themselves.
- Anonymous feedback through customer surveys without asking for their names and other details always helps in getting honest views from them. These are the real feedback that must be heeded and corrective actions initiated.
- Form a customer advisory board with some valuable high spending customers some of whom are also in influential positions. They can provide valuable inputs from the other side.
- Going above and beyond the customers’ expectations, this includes a personal effort, where you as the retailer is actively seen to do you upmost to make sure that each customers has exactly what they need. This is the best way to build loyal customers that keep coming back
Retailing and selling is a contact sport which works best with personalized relationships and attention. Customers respond better with this and value the effort and easily respond by conceding to the suggestions offered for buying more than what they came for.
About the Author
Neil is currently head of marketing for eMobileScan one of the Uk’s and Europe’s leading provider of handheld barcode scanners and mobile devices.