The world of retail is a highly competitive environment. Business owners and managers face competition from area stores, big box stores, and internet giants. Promoting respect for the environment could create a significant competitive advantage for physical stores. But marketing tactics have their pitfalls.
When many companies try to promote environmentally friendly practices or products, they are sometimes accused of "greenwashing" or claiming to follow environmentally friendly practices when in reality they are only making claims for the marketing appeal. . However, there are genuine ways for businesses to embrace eco-friendliness and sustainability. Explore the following five ideas for developing an authentic green message for your retail brand. A little ingenuity and commitment to the green movement can help your retail business stand out from the competition.
1. Add awareness to the products and services you sell
Consumption is sometimes seen as a necessary evil. If your retail business can promote conscious capitalism To add a real feel or feel to the products you sell, customers may be less averse to shopping more regularly.
TOMS shoes is a prime example. The company donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes purchased. TOMS experienced explosive growth during the brand's early years, matching sales of donation of 88 million pairs of shoes.
2. Promote the Local Shopping movement
Local physical stores cannot compete with big box retailers or Amazon on price. But one SmallBusiness.com survey found that 93% of shoppers prefer small, local retailers. The reasons include:
- 61%: local stores offer a unique product
- 49%: I did not find what I needed from traditional sources
- 40%: I want to support the community or small businesses
- 29%: I like to try new retailers
- 26%: they have a larger assortment
- 24%: They offer an innovative shopping experience
You can take advantage of these numbers by reminding customers to “shop locally”. Add an ecological aspect by promoting your local products. Customers who buy local produce from local retailers help reduce landfill waste due to a lack of shipping packaging and reduced carbon emissions from transportation.
3. Rethink your store packaging
Consider moving your retail operations towards a zero waste business. The practice of reducing the amount of trash and materials that could end up in landfills can save your store money and gain loyal customers. We found that 73 percent of consumers would rebrand if there was something similar on the market that supported a good cause.
If you can't change the product you're selling, reconsider the packaging. Work with suppliers to minimize plastic packaging. Consider selling products in bulk so that customers can bring their own containers or bags to purchase. Choose eco-friendly bag alternatives made from recycled or reusable materials. Brand reusable bags boldly and beautifully with your retail store logo. Your customer may love your store's bag so much that they'll use it regularly, serving as a traveling billboard for others to see.
Designer Anya Hindmarch's sale of "I am not a plastic bag”Tote. Hindmarch created the shopper for charity as an alternative to plastic bags. The bag, on sale for around $ 6, has gone viral. Thousands of people lined up to buy one.
4. Offer customers a recycling program
Depending on what your store is selling, a recycling program can send a message of conscious capitalism to customers. Think beyond production and lifespan to the afterlife. Physical stores can offer or access recycling options for everyday products, like electronics, packaging and other items that should not be sent to landfills.
Nespresso, a subsidiary of Nestlé, produces and sells coffee capsules for its high-end espresso machines. The capsules are controversial due to their single-use nature. To combat consumer concerns, the company launched a free recycling program for customers aluminum capsules in Nespresso and partner stores. The recycling program offers the company many advantages. Customers visit stores more frequently to recycle old pods - and end up buying more coffee. Nespresso recycles and reuses the capsules, thereby reducing the cost of materials to produce the capsules. And customers who care about sustainability continue to faithfully support the brand.
5. Team up with other eco-friendly retailers to get your message across
Once your retail business makes internal changes to stand out as an environmentally conscious business, getting the message out to existing customers - and new ones is essential. One of the most effective ways to market your store to the customer you are looking for is to partner with other complementary retailers in the Green Marketplace.
Some examples include health food stores and restaurants, yoga studios, health spas, organic beauty stores, and local farmers markets. Share your best decorating tips inspired by designers with the retailer next to you. Exchange information on sustainable suppliers with the men's clothing store across the street. Reach out to other retailers and talk about creating an event or partnership. Some ideas include:
- If you are a food or kitchen utensil retailer, host an organic cooking demonstration with a well-known health food restaurant chef.
- If you are a clothing retailer, consider hosting a sustainable fashion and beauty show with other retailers in your area.
- Talk to your local health food store about selling one of your eco-friendly products at their consignment store and include signage about your business and location.
- Offer to furnish or partially decorate a busy yoga studio with home accessories from your store with signage indicating that the products are available for sale in your business.
Eco-friendly marketing tactics can come from a genuine place with just a few actions. The changes can differentiate you from national retailers and attract new and loyal customers to your retail business.
About the writer: Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer from the Northwestern United States. Coming from a background in marketing, Jori quickly took an interest in media and blogs. She covers a wide range of topics, but finds particular interest in covering topics related to business, marketing, and technology. You can follow Jori on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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 action, 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. 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 active 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 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 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 sérieux 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 forme 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 forme 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 locutions you customer is making. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to pay close attention to your customer’s facial expressions. 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 super 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 exact 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 esprit state that may well indicate readiness to buy. ” For example, if the shopper suddenly styles 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 variétés 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 variétés 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 hard at work at Capterra, she can be found horse-back riding, reading and just generally having a good time at life.