Digital age, long tail, streetwear, social media, pure players, business platforms, influencers, cash design… These are some of the ingredients for cooking this item…
Global volatility, from geopolitics to social instability, is the new normal. Businesses across industries need to adapt the way they run their businesses in an ever-changing landscape. Agility and speed are some of the success factors in the race for the evolution of retail.
Today, retail is more dynamic than ever due to the impact of technology and new forms of communication on the Internet. The marketing funnel has changed, and the customer journey is impacted by a new brand-consumer relationship that multiplies points of contact and puts the customer and the experience at the center. Companies are redefining their business models, some B2B players are turning to B2C (or B2B2C) while the competition landscape comes from outside a vertical sector. Retail companies are impacted by niche players in the long tail but also by other companies selling experiences.
The image above is about the long tail economy, the new competition landscape, and the experience economy. Companies should not focus their strategy on competing with their A Pareto competitors, their twins or brothers, but understand the whole ecosystem. If you are a luxury brand, for example, pay attention not only to conglomerates or niche players but also to non-traditional competition.
Retailers should adapt their value proposition (market approach) in the new experience economy, facing other sectors like electronics, media and entertainment companies like Apple, Sonar Music Festival or Netfllix. Today, analyzing the opportunity cost of a purchase is very complex. It's time to take a deeper look at the niche players, many of whom are digital born who cover what customers want today: feeling like part of a tribe, looking for sustainable and local products, etc. . You are not in competition on the product but also on the experience.
I took this example of "niche players" but there are thousands of them ... Goop is a wellness and lifestyle brand including e-commerce, collaborating with fashion brands, launching pop-up stores, hosting a “wellness summit”, launching podcasts, as well as docuseries for Netflix . Tracksmith, originally from New England (USA), is a running brand, lifestyle brand, running center, club. If you know Rapha, the cycling-lifestyle brand, they have some things in common. Then, The Tote: A San Francisco clothing rental subscription box focused on women's clothing in the everyday wear segment. The Tote uses AI to improve recommendations and has acquired Lord & Taylor, the luxury department store in New York City.
Finally, Martiderm, specialist in Dermocosmetics founded in Barcelona with a turnover of 38M €. This represents 0.001% of L´Oréal's turnover. Martiderm sold 8 million euros on Chinese Singles Day (in one day), being the 8th cosmetics brand in terms of sales on Tmall, an Alibaba company. Thus, in 24 hours, he sold about 20% of his total annual turnover. How? 'Or' What? An organized product for Asian clients and excellent operations, allowing them to compete with L´Oréal.
Then, Covid-19 changes buying habits and preferences. Comfort is more important than style when it comes to shopping for clothes during the Corona period, and so classic brands are struggling. Casual and sportswear categories and brands see sales increase due to Covid-19, while gyms and offices remain closed or people are afraid to step in. Are we living the suit and tie apocalypse? Sportspeople discover outdoor exercise and invest in new materials or update their wardrobe, as commented cycling (bikes are new toilet paper).
Streetwear brands and collaborations are booming, and luxury companies are adopting limited editions, while ceremonies and events are mostly canceled. Freshness is the holy grail in luxury today. Many brands adopt this counter-culture attitude through capsule collaborations, by recruiting talent or by acquiring "street wear"players. T-shirts kill shirts and sneakers kill" high heels. "So design and creativity are big assets in boosting sales.
What if influencers could create their own fashion brands? A good product and millions of followers are the perfect combination for success. An influencer is able to sell more items (eg: t-shirt, shoes, perfume, etc.) in 24 hours than many flagship products in a month. Influencers have millions of loyal followers who would be happy for you to buy their idol's merchandising that makes them feel closer and identify as part of an “exclusive” tribe.
James Charles is an American influencer with a Youtube channel specializing in Beauty and 23 million followers on Instagram. Chiara Ferragni is an Italian influencer with 21.6 million Instagram followers. Ferragni has collaborated with different fashion brands, as a model but also as a designer. Then influencer marketing platforms (eg Heepsy, Markerly) provide access to millions of celebrities and influencers across the world. The influencer marketing industry is expected to be worth up to $ 15 billion by 2022, up from $ 8 billion in 2019, according to Business Insider Intelligence estimates, based on data from Mediakix.
Influencers inspire Millennials and GenZ, who spend more time on video and social media. Brands are adapting to this new era of marketing and advertising, but what if influencers developed their own products?
What would be the challenges for influencers when starting their own collections?
One option would be to “license” their brands and let a company take care of all operations, from product development, supply chain and retail. This is the standard business model of global beauty companies (eg Coty and Gucci or L'Oréal and Giorgio Armani).
An interesting platform that I recently discovered is Urbancoolab and its robodesigners. Urbancoolab is a AI streetwear design platform that works with creative minds to design, produce and sell original streetwear collections on their behalf. Their robo-designer, STiCH, will follow the influencer's creative contribution in art, photos, music and text to transform their creative direction into a complete streetwear capsule collection. Urbancoolab manages the entire value chain, from end to end. From production to the online store, from customer service to realization. Second, influencers stay focused on the marketing side, their greatest asset.
FoW - Urbancoolab
Technology is not only pushing brands to market faster, but also individuals, artists, musicians, niche players or influencers. Influencers have the marketing power while technology platforms manage supply chain management. The internet economy has fueled the success of niche players and today, social media and technology platforms are redefining “business as usual” through influencer brands.
Are you a retailer ( or retail sales associate ) who’s struggling with how to approach shoppers ? Worried that you lack the magic touch, or that you’ll come off as an annoying salesperson ? Would you rather be awkwardly staring at your store’s point of sale software screen than actually talking to the customer in front of you ?
You should keep reading because, after years of being one of the strongest sellers at my store, I can assure you : anyone can sell. That’s not to say it’s not going to take a lot of practice. But over the years, I’ve found that a customer will tell you verbally and/or physically how to sell to them. If you’re listening properly and looking for the right cues, you can always tell if a customer is interested in what you have to say, what approach to take with them, and what exactly they’re looking for.
Check out the tips below, put them into activation, and you should find yourself successfully closing sales : Practice Active ListeningActive listening isn’t just about standing in front a customer silently. There are a few important things you should be doing to engage in this practice :
The most important part of active listening is to not form a response while the customer is speaking. This is really hard to do, and is going to take a lot of practice. It’s very natural to latch on to one part of a comment and form a response to it, and then shut out the rest of the comment. to become a good listener, a sales person must resist doing this. Active listening should engage your whole body. Things like nodding and having an open stance show the customer that you are listening to what they have to say. Once it’s time for you to speak, give the customer a quick summary of what they said. This has a few purposes. First, it allows you to come up with a response post-comment without things being awkwardly silent. Second, showing the customer that you heard everything they had to say will often open them up to providing you with more information than they initially supplied.
Practicing réactive listening means that you are fully engaged with learning what the customer wants. This engagement makes a huge difference. Not only will you understand what the customer wants in a deeper way, but you also gain their trust easier.
Next : Pay Attention to Body LanguageAlong with réactive listening, you should be practicing ‘active looking. ’ ( Yes, I just made that term up. ) People will betray a lot of what they’re thinking in the things that they do with their body. A lot of body language experts will tell you some odd things to look for, like watching if someone scratches their nose, but I don’t think that level of depth is necessary. In fact, I think that if you’re watching for a customer to scratch their nose, you’re probably not practicing active listening.
However, there is still plenty of body language you should be paying attention to while you’re actively listening. Let me give you a bermuda list of tells you can easily pick up on during a conversation with a customer. 1. Eye ContactWhere a person’s eyes are looking is one of the easiest ways to tell what they’re focusing on. If the customer is looking at you, or the products you’re working with, that’s a good sign. It means they’re engaged with you and are interested in what you have to say and sell.
If they’re looking around, at someone else, out the door… anywhere that’s not where you are – that’s not a great sign. Usually if this is the case you should say something like, “Let me know if you need anything else, ” and let them do their own thing. No eye contact doesn’t mean you won’t be able to close the sale – but it could spell trouble if you don’t pay attention.
Hands/ArmsAnother important thing to pay attention to is what people do with their hands and arms. Typically, if someone’s arms are crossed, they are uncomfortable and probably not interested in what you have to say. You should tread gently : let this customer know you are there to help. If you’re talking with a customer who is clearly shy and uncomfortable with talking to you, I recommend acting in a more reserved manner and avoiding things like answering questions the customer has yet to ask. In addition, because this posture reflects a closed off mind, I mostly suggest avoiding suggestive selling. Suggestive selling does not work well on someone who is not interested.
Open arms and palms facing towards you, however, are an excellent sign. If your customer has taken this sort of positionnement in your conversation, you’re doing well. In fact, I would definitely recommend going for it with suggestive selling. ( Of course, make sure you’re showing them items that are actually related to what they want, not just some pre-placed item that your manager wants to get rid of. )
Facial Expression—Particularly the Curve of Their MouthLastly, you should be paying attention to the termes you customer is making. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to pay close attention to your customer’s facial locutions. Even if a customer is pulling a straight face at you, most people’s mouths are fairly expressive in small ways. Often, the corners of the mouth will be curving slightly up or slightly down. Down is not good for you – it indicates frustration or annoyance. Curving up, though, is an génial sign. Additionally, you should pay attention to how tightly the lips are held. If they’re pressed tightly together, it can mean the same thing as crossed arms.
That’s the three major areas of body language you should be paying attention to while actively listening to your customer. Keep in mind that while the customer’s body can give you an indication about how they feel towards you and your product, it’s the listening that is going to yield you the important information about what they want. Now that we’ve established good customer reading techniques, let’s talk about what to do with the information you pick up :
Respond With Similar Body LanguageOne of the easiest ways to set someone at ease is to “mirror” their body language. You don’t want to go overboard on this – that can seem creepy or just mean. But little things are really important. Start with pace and timing. Is the customer in a hurry ? Or do they want to take things slow and steady ? Speak and act at the same pace as the customer. If she’s in a hurry, speaking quickly and speed walking across the store, then you should speak quickly and speed walk across the store as well. If she’s speaking slowly and moves slowly, your speed talking and walking will only come across as aggressive to her.
In addition, you can do subtle things like adopt a similar position, or use similar hand gestures. With the hand gestures, be careful. You don’t want to come across as mocking your customer. Don’t make juste replicas of hand gestures, keep it general. Determine if someone is ready to buy ( or not ) based on non-verbal cuesHere are a few more tips to help you differentiate shoppers who are ready to buy versus those who aren’t interested.
According to SCORE contributor Lee Perlitz, signals that shoppers are interested in a product include : Spending time looking at or discussing one product type – When a customer spends time focusing on just one product, there’s a good chance they’ve already set their sights on that one and are interested in purchasing it. Looking around for somebody to help them – Catch the shopper’s gaze when you see them looking around. According to Perlitz, you can approach them “if they sustain the glance or raise their eyebrows. ”Body language – A shift in body language signals “a change in mental state that may well indicate readiness to buy. ” For example, if the shopper suddenly looks relaxed after you’ve answered their questions, that could be an indication that they’re ready to buy.
Be sure to approach customers once you see them exhibiting these signals. Failing to spot these signs or not acting in time could result in you missing out on the sale. On the flip side, here are the non-verbal signals indicating that someone isn’t ready to buy. Avoiding eye contact – If a customer doesn’t hold your gaze when you look at them, it likely means they’re not ready to make a purchase yet. Making ‘not now’ excuses – Statements like “just looking” or “not now” are clear signals that they aren’t ready to buy. Perlitz recommends that retailers “make an encouraging remark to keep them looking and back off. ”Looking at many different products – Not being focused on just one product is another indication that shoppers should be given space.
When you see or hear people exhibiting the signals above, then it’s best to hold off on the sell. Figure out the type of customer that you’re dealing with and respond accordinglyAs you know, there are several types of customers who walk through your doors, and you need to tailor your approach accordingly. to help you do that, we’ve put together a quick slideshow summarizing the most common types of customers in retail. Check it out below :
More tips ? Those are our tips and tricks to help anyone become a good sales person. It’s important to remember that truly good sales people work on creating trusting relationships with their clients before they sell them anything. If you are capable of creating a trusting relationship, you are capable of selling. These tips are intended to help you create that relationship.
What tricks to reading customers do you employ ? Let us know in the comments below ! Author Bio : Cara Wood is a marketing administrative assistant at Capterra, a company that puts software buyers in touch with business software vendors ! When she’s not at work at Capterra, she can be found horse-back riding, reading and just generally having a good time at life.