Sell More Before Customers Leave the Store

Whether customers shop in your brick-and-mortar store or in your online store, you want to hold their attention to create extended and pleasant shopping experiences that result in growing revenue.

Selling More in the Store

It takes time to sell. Follow these tips to ensure your customers stick around:

  • Set the tone. Walk inside your store. What do you see first? What is your impression? Is the entry area well-lit, clean and inviting?
  • Create intervention zones. Once a customer steps foot in your store, strategically place small displays that attract attention. Customers are more likely to buy if they pick up and handle a product. At the same time, you'll slow down otherwise busy shoppers by creating a more browser-friendly environment.
  • Make sure end caps feature key items. Ends of aisles should contain promotional items or special items. End caps get lots of attention; make sure key items are displayed and make sure those items set the tone for the rest of the store.
  • Provide carts or baskets. Numerous studies indicate customers will spend 10 to 15 minutes longer in a store and up to 25% more in total purchases when they have a cart or basket. Don't place all your carts at the entrance to the store; create other cart storage areas, so customers can grab a cart as they shop.
  • Be available. Store hours should be convenient for customers. Most retail customers want to shop in the evening or on weekends; match the hours your customers need.
  • Create complementary displays. Don't make it hard for customers to find the items they need. Don't think "departments," think "customer needs." Place scarves and hats near coats. Place hammers and screwdrivers near nails and screws. Think about other items a customer might need and make them easy to find.
  • Intervene at key points. Some items can be sold without assistance; others benefit from salesperson intervention. For example, if you run a shoe store, customers will not require help choosing shoe strings but will definitely need your help trying on shoes. Think about where your customers will most need help and where you have the greatest likelihood of creating up-sell or additional sales possibilities, and intervene.
  • Develop incremental pricing schemes. Once a customer is in the store, the cost of acquiring that customer goes down. If you can sell additional items or products to that customer even at a reduced price, you may still be able to maintain healthy profit margins. Don't always look at add-on sales as opportunities to charge premium prices; selling add-on items for lower margins can increase overall revenue while building additional customer loyalty.
  • Make it easy. Consumers are accustomed to having information at their fingertips. Make sure product information is easy to access. Don't assume a customer has done all their research ahead of time.
  • Use the checkout to increase total purchases. Impulse items and items customers frequently forget should be stocked at the checkout area (batteries, for example). Your checkout area is a customer's final impression of the store; make sure it's a good impression, so they will return.

Selling More on your Online Store

With more shopping completed online, the general principles of selling in a store apply but need to be refined for the digital shopper. Consider these tactics:

  • Easy to navigate site. Make it easy for prospects to find the goods and services they want.
  • Write engaging product and service descriptions. Engage prospects with lively and descriptive profiles of each product and service.
  • Use email campaigns. Online shoppers are prolific email users and click-through to their favorite e-retailers in response to email campaigns. Approximately 70% of email users use coupons and follow promotions that they hear about via email.
  • Create a persistent cart. Don’t automatically remove items for a shopper’s cart just because they sign off your site. Statistics show that 35% of online shoppers take more than 12 hours to complete a sale, and 21% take more than three days. Removing the shopping cart items may dissuade shoppers from doing business with you.
  • Use live chat. A pop-up chat window that enables immediate answers for shopping questions keeps prospects engaged and saves the shopper time. The likelihood is high that you will lose a prospect who must pick up the phone to get an answer to a question.
  • Incorporate buyer reviews. Allow buyers to post reviews about products or rate the products and make that information visible with the product description.
  • Cross promote products. As a product is placed in the shopping cart, show the customer a pop-up window displaying other products frequently purchased together with this item. This may increase your total sale.
  • Make it easy to receive “out of stock” items. For any item not available at time of purchase, capture information to follow-up for another prospective sale after the initial purchase.

Track and pay relevant taxes. Don’t risk closing your online store because you did not pay the appropriate taxes, including sales tax. Seek the advice of a CPA to set this up correctly.