Ways That Retailers Are Leaving Money on the Table

While retail has never been as competitive as it is today there have also never been so many opportunities to increase conversions, boost customer loyalty, and create a unique and pleasing in-store customer experience.

Before you seek out completely new avenues to help your business, take a look over your shoulder and consider existing factors that may be causing you to lose out on potential profit.

1. Poor Customer Service

Poor customer service is usually associated with lazy, apathetic, or downright rude sales associates. While there’s no doubt that these qualities represent poor customer service, it’s likely that there is more that you or your staff can be doing to deliver better customer service.

Train Associates to Read the Customer

Your associates do not need to know your customers personally in order to reach out and connect with them. A smile and a greeting can go a long way in creating a welcoming atmosphere, and asking customers what they are looking for and for what occasion can help the associate get a sense of who the customer is and how they can help them.

Imagine if your associates did “know” your customer. With advancements in today’s retail technology, your associate can learn a customer’s name, demographic information, and past purchase history so that he or she can make intuitive product suggestions that make sense for that unique individual.

Start Upselling and Cross-Selling

There are so many missed opportunities in retail because associates are not upselling or cross-selling. Associates can:

  • Suggest relevant products
  • Recommend accessories or complementary pieces
  • Share information about special offers
  • Compliment the customer on their item choice or fit

Communicate with Your Existing Customers

Customer retention strategies are critical in continuing sales and building your brand. Provide these customers with exclusive offers and send out personalized emails segmented based on previous purchases or demographic information so that your associates can make better recommendations.

2. Long Waits for Service

Recent TimeTrade surveys across various industries—including retail—revealed that the average person is not going to wait more than ten minutes for service. Anything longer than ten minutes translates into a poor customer experience and a loss of revenue for your brand.

Retailers often acknowledge that there are long wait times for change rooms or for customers to receive help from sales associates. The problem is that companies simply do not have the budget to afford having an extra person or two during a shift.

One way to improve wait times is to take advantage of what today’s retail technologies have to offer. By using the right technologies for your business, such as a queue management system or self-service tools, you can ease those lengthy customer wait times and improve your bottom line.

3. Failure to Efficiently Service Customers in Fitting Rooms

A customer who is already willing to try on a piece of clothing from your store is one who is fairly committed to buying something from your shop. The more customers you have entering your fitting rooms, the more likely you’ll have customers leaving the store with a purchase.

But the problem retailers face with regard to the fitting room is often twofold:

  1. Associates are usually not doing enough to make sure that the customer gets into a fitting room.
    Associates should be trained to start chatting with customers about trying clothing on in the fitting room as soon as possible while also encouraging customers to ask them for help. Once a customer is in a room, it’s important that the associate continues his or her relationship with the customer by finding them additionally requested sizes, colors, or styles.
  2. The fitting room is not suitable for your customer.
    The fitting room is where your customers are making most of their purchasing decisions. Because it is a small enclosed space and because the customer may be partially undressed, it is difficult for him or her to leave to find new products if the ones they came in to try on were not the right fit.

When properly designed, however, the fitting room itself can increase conversions and customer loyalty. Make it easy for customers and associates to contact one another through a “help” or “call” button so that both parties can check in and ask questions throughout the “trying on” process.

Make Data-Driven Decisions for Your Business

Uncovering opportunities to capitalize on what you already have is easier said than done. Without knowing where improvements can and should be made, you may be wasting your time and hard earned business capital.

A retail strategy should only be changed if you have the data to back those changes up. With the right metrics, you will know exactly why you are suffering from poor customer service, extended wait times, and sub-par conversions, and can truly do something about it.