I love shopping! There I’ve said it. I like nothing more than trying on a beautiful dress or some red soled shoes and swinging a Mulberry handbag over my shoulder just because I can. The feel of the fabric, the smell of the leather all adds to that sensory shopping experience. Now if you saw me on most days especially in a drafty hall with jeans and twenty layers of clothes on, you may question what I have just said!
I have spent most of my career in shops, small and large, as well as being a shopper, so I think that qualifies me to share my thoughts on customer service.
Store Layout Matters!
Many stores, especially department stores lay the store out with the ‘Beauty Hall’ at the front doors, so customers are met with the full onslaught of conflicting fragrance aromas or worse, the top of the consultants heads as they fill in paperwork! And this gets me to my point……at last I hear you say! These people are employed because they have a particular skill set, they are good at selling! The have had training in all the latest techniques, multi selling products to enhance the purchasers experience – layering fragrance over body care products, using the complimenting serum with a day or night cream, the list goes on. Undoubtedly they earn commission on their personal or team sales.
The Difference Between Creating and Selling
Having an idea and producing something amazing is overwhelmingly rewarding! What the aforementioned people haven’t done is spent hours creating the product – sourcing ingredients or finding the exact gem they need, researching what works for their creation, setting up an online shop to sell from or finding fairs to showcase their beautiful products! They believe in their product, yet so often crumble when it comes to selling it.
I do understand that having that creative gene, fulfilling that dream by producing a fabulous product doesn’t mean that someone is naturally good at selling! And it maybe that it takes a few attempts to bridge that gap between sitting behind a table at a fair to engaging with the people that are showing an interest in your product(s)
It frustrates me when I look round and see traders sat behind their tables and displays like the public are to be avoided at all costs, reading the paper or playing candy crush on their tablet. Or someone that is ‘playing’ with their stock, standing in front of their table, totally ignoring the people that are trying to see what it is they are selling! In some cases it can almost be called apathy, it’s not their fault that they haven’t had a good day.
Why Engaging with Your Customers Matters
As a trader, I know how it feels to not have a good sales day. I ask myself what I could do differently? The event organiser has planned and promoted the event, I have set up my display, told my customers where I am and I’m ready to sell. Did I speak to everyone that passed my stand? Did I make the most of every opportunity to listen to what the customer was looking for? Did I talk too much? What else could I have done? I know I have a fabulous product at a great price. Have I featured the right products from the range at a particular venue and aimed at a particular demographic? Is everything clearly priced? What else can I offer, have I been clear about the possibility to order through my website, have I given them my contact details – all of this can be done, without being pushy!
In this day and age, there is no need to leave the comfort of your home to shop. The click of a button and your shopping can be with you the next day. What you don’t get is the engagement with a real person. People have choices and they can choose to walk passed your table and not buy anything or, they can walk passed your table having been smiled at and think that maybe they will stop after all!
Get out there, talk to the people, tell them where you source your products, talk about the weather or at the very least, smile!!!
I am planning some customer focused workshops – please contact us to register your interest.