The ability to consistently attract shoppers into your retail establishment and then convert them into buying consumers is the lifeblood of any retailer. Hopefully, along the way they’ll also end up buying more than initially planned. But as a rough economy and the internet continues to decrease the amount of visits a consumer makes to brick and mortar stores, conversion rates become even more imperative.
The advent of online retail and smart phones, while enabling the consumer, has created more challenges for traditional retailers already facing difficult economic times. And the small and medium sized retailer is even more sensitive to this issue.
The term “mission shoppers” has been coined to describe Web-savvy shoppers that enter a store with a purpose – they head directly to their intended purchase and leave without browsing. They’ve already used the web to investigate and analyze the goods. This is especially impactful for retailers dealing in name brand commodities like electronics, luggage, and appliances, but it will have an effect on every business.
Another potentially damaging effect of online commerce is the ability for a consumer to research the desired item in a brick and mortar store and then make their purchase online for the best deal. Many shoppers still desire that kinesthetic aspect of touching, seeing, and trying on merchandise before they purchase it. They’ve essentially used the store as an investigative tool but let price be the deciding factor in where they make their purchase.
Fortunately, many consumers still appreciate the individualized service one gets from an independent retailer, as evidenced by the success of American Express’ 2nd annual Small Business Saturday. The following strategies, when implemented consistently, allow your retail business to integrate the technological practices of large chain retailers with the personalized service of a small business.
Help your “mission shopper” find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. What if your customer wants a certain brand of luggage in a color that you don’t currently have in stock? In the time it would take your staff to call around to other stores, your savvy shopper has likely found the item on the internet, using their smart phone, in the color and style they desire. With the iVend retail management solution, your staff can locate inventory available at any of your locations quickly from their POS terminal, thus saving the sale and impressing your customer with their fast and efficient service.
You can offer flexible payment plans such as layaways to your customer. While they may save some money by buying the desired item online, they need to pay for it immediately and then wait several days to receive this item. Your staff can use iVend’s layaway feature to entice consumers to purchase without having to part with their cash immediately. Layaway terms can be arranged to fit the customer’s needs, allowing your staff to upsell items and increase sales. Many large retailers are bringing back layaways for the holiday shopping season.
Your staff can recognize and reward frequent and loyal customers easily. Our iVend Loyalty solution allows you to track your customer’s buying behavior and assign loyalty points, etc. Staff can use this to reward the frequent customer with discounts, gift cards, and more. Consumers who shop at small to medium sized stores generally appreciate the recognition and relationship they establish with the retailer. Why not reward them for their loyal behavior?
Make real time pricing decisions if needed. A friend of mine recently was in the market for a new television. He was the true mission shopper – after researching various brands and finding the best price online, he then asked two local retailers if they’d match Amazon’s price, which was $30 less. One savvy retailer quickly matched it and then threw in free shipping and removal of their old tv. It’s no wonder that this independent brick and mortar retailer has consistently done well, even though their prices are higher than most chain stores.
iVend is a complete end to end retail management solution that allows you to analyze and react in real time. Together with your personalized service and business savvy, the small and medium sized retailer can easily turn browsers into loyal buyers.