Have retail store associates fallen into a hypnotic state?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail Doctor’s blog.
Like long, boring drives, the monotony of tasks can lead to hypnosis for store associates.
Basically, the more familiar a store becomes, the less information your brain has to process. Your brain essentially shuts off much like when you’re driving home after a long day. It knows exactly how it will handle the traffic, where the off ramps are, etc.
The reason so many employees say the same things over and over again is because their minds aren’t really engaged.
On the converse, it is always fun to open a new store because there is so much to learn. New procedures. New people. New merchandise. At 90 days, it’s a job.
While it might be easy to say they are just bored, what I’m talking about is the lack of opportunity to learn something new to engage them each day, to make new connections between one concept and another, or to be surprised by something another person says.
Every day they have to make new connections. They have to be trained that collecting stories of shoppers is more important than just asking if you’ve been helped.
Here are six ways to cure retail hypnosis:
- Have a morning huddle and set the expectation of learning one new thing from each shopper. Have different associates share stories they learned about their clients the next morning.
- Cross-train associates between departments. Assign them different sections of your sales floor on different days.
- When the store is empty, creatively role-play. Have one employee select three random items. Another has to create a story that connects those three random items with an imagined customer scenario.
- Focus on comparing and contrasting merchandise groups, both similar types of socks — say wool and cotton — and dissimilar — a scuba mask and a pair of sunglasses. Remind associates such pairings can lead to add-on sales.
- Move your store around. Nothing engages a mind more than discovering something in a new place.
- Teach them to avoid repeating the hackneyed phrases that turn off their minds: “Can I help you?” “Looking for something special?” “Do you have a budget?”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What common practices on selling floors lead associates towards hypnotic-like states? What suggestions would you add for keeping the job fresh for store associates?