Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Contrarian, the blog of the Dynamic Experiences Group.
Unless a shopper has already visited your store, a barrier often exists between you and your customer. It's not about you, it's about perceptions and beliefs based upon a combination of the customer's past shopping experiences at other stores.
That's why it's essential to take certain actions that bust those barriers and demonstrate to your customer the value you add. Here are some of biggest barrier busters a specialty store can execute:
1. Warmly welcome your customer with a smile. A huge barrier buster, a smile demonstrates to each customer that he/she is the staff's priority, the staff is happy to see each customer, and that the staff enjoys working at the store. That last point is key. Who enjoys a party when the host or hostess isn't having fun?
2. Get out from behind the counter. Counters are not only physical barriers, they're personal barriers to connecting with your customer.
3. Avoid using retail clichés. When customers are asked over and over "How may I help you" or "Do you have any questions?," these barriers actually become even higher.
4. Acknowledge and move past the first barrier. Don't take "I'm just looking" personally. If it's clear they want to experience the store alone, by all means let them. Typically, however, "I'm just looking" is a natural barrier built on past bad experiences. Acknowledge it with something like, "Great, you're going to find some wonderful things." Further telling them you'll check back in a bit gives the customer space to take in the store, and gives you permission to reengage in a few minutes.
5. Proactively show your customer your newest products. Can shoppers easily tell what the newest products are? Nope. That's how you add value, and at the same time bust a barrier.
6. Hand your customer a product whenever possible. Our work with boutiques, jewelry and other stores shows that when you get the product either in a customer's hands or on their person, the likelihood to purchase increases substantially. This is also true at a hardware store, pet store, toy store, camera store, and so on.
7. Tell your customer about the product they're looking at. It's a great way to reengage. But don't ask a customer if he or she has any questions or needs help! The answer will most likely be no.
8. Make it personal. Exchanging names with the customer is challenging for many people, but can make all the difference when your goal is to deliver the best possible experience.
Which of the following suggestions mentioned in the article is most important to breaking down barriers between shoppers and a store's staff?