Conversion rate is extremely important in the retail industry and is a metric that boosts store sales, margin, and the survival of the business as a whole. This is particularly the case of specialized stores with high unit prices. Conversion is influenced by many factors, from location to product type, visuals and your employees.
So how do you optimize the conversion? The essence is to maximize efficiency while planning employees with the right skills at the right time. In this blog, I cover the main things to consider, including optimizing schedules with data, customer service approaches, and in-store workflows.
Planning and cost analysis
A key aspect of planning is to optimize floor coverage while minimizing costs and avoiding over / under cover. To achieve this balance, tools like GaiaDigits Intelligent Scheduling can help. For example, the granularity of planning by job title, skill sets, certifications, pay rates, bundles and other aspects allows for more efficient planning. It also allows to have a holistic view of the total number of hours planned, details on coverage, business requirements and direct costs.
On top of that, it's important to optimize schedules with customer traffic, to ensure you have the right level of associates for the time frame of each day. With GaiaDigits' partnership with RetailNext, the joint solution allows you to accurately match associate hours to traffic levels, for example by scheduling more staff during the power hours of the day.
Driving with data
Data is king. Reliable source data is a key success factor for daily management tasks and workflow. How many visitors will enter the store, how long will they stay, when will they come are important points in our plan. We need very reliable data to allocate and analyze the demand for the skill matrix, only after then having programmed the right employees to handle that customer traffic. If you are managing a region with more than one store, you can also think about the store planning model based on traffic patterns. This model will increase efficiency and reduce labor costs, also increase the scope of work of employees and create better engagement.
Once the buyer is in the store, the conversion rate is influenced by their experience, especially with the seller. There are different ways to conduct a sale, from providing in-depth product knowledge to putting the customer at ease and asking the right questions. Through this process, it often helps to stay patient while maintaining a sense of urgency with proper time management.
Personalization is another experience that shoppers look for once they are in the store. Accordingly, it is worth considering a variety of ways to approach a client depending on their personality and needs. Often, “planting the seed” for a future sale is a great approach for buyers who aren't ready to make a buy now.
Workflow and customer experience
Another aspect of the customer experience to take into account is the atmosphere in the store and the prioritization between customers. First of all, multitasking with multiple clients and encouraging collaboration between clients creates a fun and relaxed atmosphere. In some cases, it may be worth prioritizing customers with higher value baskets.
From a manager's perspective, it is important to have the awareness and flexibility to change schedules across time and across departments. Similar to leading an orchestra, planning also involves managing breaks, lunches, absences, zoning, and other factors to optimize conversion, sales, and customer experience.
Retail management processes can be long and complex, but at the end of the day the key factors are people. Only when you have the right people, the right skills, and high morale can you build successful teams and drive sales. From there, data integration optimizes the structure and activities of the associated teams. With tools like the joint solution from RetailNext and GaiaDigits, retailers have more tools and visibility to optimize this process.
About the Author:
Richard Woida, Senior Solutions Consultant at GaiaDigits Inc.
After working for Apple Retail for over 10 years, I learned a lot of different management techniques. troubleshooting scenarios with recruiting, planning, HR, sales and motivation management, performance review, etc. I have worked in many parts of the United States and Canada; it helped me grow and learn how to manage various types of internal / external customer engagement. Team leadership is one of my strengths as I rely on solid data, team building, feedback and organizational tools. I am confident that I will be working with GaiaDigits to advance my career and help companies make the most of our platform. GaiaDigits is a powerful workforce management suite that businesses can use to maximize efficiency and maximize value.
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 marche, 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 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. tera 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 active 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 réactive 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 short 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 position 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 position 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 directeur wants to get rid of. )
Facial Expression—Particularly the Curve of Their MouthLastly, you should be paying attention to the locutions 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 genres of customers who walk through your doors, and you need to tailor your approach accordingly. tera help you do that, we’ve put together a quick slideshow summarizing the most common genres 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 business 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.