Yes! I admit it. I love to shop online. But there are a lot of things that online shopping can’t do for me. When clothes shopping, I can’t touch the material first or even try it on. I can’t really get a good idea of the size of something like furniture or how it will fit into my house. And we’ve all seen that hilarious online shopping fail where the picture of the item and the actual item don’t look anything alike. But still, I shop online and here’s why I prefer shopping online and not in your store and some tips on how you can get me back.
Why I Shop Online
I shop online for convenience.
Let’s face it, I can buy from my laptop, from my phone and even from my work computer. I can buy at 3 pm in the afternoon or 3 am when I can’t sleep. I can buy on a whim at any time of day or night. No brick and mortar store can compete with that type of availability and convenience.
I don’t have to speak to pushy or rude salespeople.
The computer doesn’t have a quota to meet. Either I buy an item, or I don’t, the computer’s feelings don’t get hurt. I hate dealing with most salespeople. Either they jump on me the moment I walk into a store or they keep coming back. Worse is the salesperson who works on commission and drops me as soon as they realize I’m just there to buy one low-cost item.Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing. And don’t think that I won’t remember who you are. Either I won’t ever come back to the store (and tell at least 15 or more people about how poorly I was treated.) Or if I do come back, the next time I’m in the store, I’ll tell you I’m there for a bobby pin. But, when you hand me off the lowest person on the store totem pole, I’ll then buy a tiara from her. And when I’m checking out, I’ll be sure to gush about her.But let’s face it. I probably won’t be back.
Clueless Sales Reps are just as bad as rude ones.
I don’t often need the help of a salesperson because I’m the kind of person who walks into a store with a mission. I know exactly what I want, and I usually know where I’m going to find it. But sometimes, I don’t know and need the help of a salesperson. If that person I ask for help doesn’t know what I’m talking about or doesn’t know where it is and doesn’t know enough to try and help me…I’m out of there. Likely to never return. Possibly will tell those 15 people about the clueless staff that works at your store.
If you’re not conveniently located to the other stores that I go to or conveniently located on my drive home, then you won’t see me in your store. I’ve got a lot to do and I very rarely go out of my way to shop.
How to Get Me Back into Your Store
We can agree that it’s difficult to fight against the online convenience but there are some things that you can do that will help to get me back into your store. And it all relies on your people.
A different pay scale other than commission.
I get it that paying a commission on sales gets people to work a little harder. But what if you paid more per hour and then created bonuses based on positive customer feedback? At checkout, I usually get asked what salesperson worked with me so that they’ll get credit for the commission. It would be simple to add an NPS (Net Promoter Score) question. Just a simple “On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, how would you rate “name”?
I dislike clueless salespeople as much as I hate sleazy or rude salespeople. Get them the right training. And no, I don’t expect anyone who is new to know everything about the store, but they should be taught the right way to help a customer. The right way would be for the salesperson to say, “I’m sorry, I’m new so I don’t know the answer to your question. But let me get my manager so we can both find out the answer.” It doesn’t have to be that exact response, but something similar. Knowing that the salesperson is not only being honest with me but is going to extend themselves by searching for their manager, will make me a satisfied customer. (And I’d give a 5 on that NPS question.)
Stop rushing me.
By that, I mean asking if I want help before I’ve even stepped three feet into the store. If I didn’t look at you with a question or an expectation on my face, then I don’t need or want you in my space yet. Give me a few minutes to look around. Yes, if I look confused, please come over right away. I realize that in a commission environment, salespeople are attempting to establish themselves with a customer but it’s also a sure-fire way to turn me off.
Don’t Ignore me.
I know I just told you to stop rushing me but on that exact opposite end of the scale is ignoring me. I hate being in a store in which all the salespeople are lingering around talking to each other and ignoring customers. Who wants to walk up to a group of people and interrupt their funny story about their stupid customers?
Teach your salespeople that all customers are important.
Sure, today I might be buying that 20.00 scarf because I need it now and have an appointment. But I might be back tomorrow because I spotted several items that I’m interested in. If you pushed me off today, don’t ever expect that I’ll work with you tomorrow. And I’ll be loud and clear at the register about how you didn’t help me. Trust me on that.
Allow your salespeople to small talk with customers.
Many customers want a friendly sales rep who is not all business. They want someone who is going to connect with them, share short anecdotes about similar experiences and laugh with them. It helps a customer feel that they can rely on that salesperson to steer them in the right direction. If we’re not getting that human interaction, we might as well be shopping online.
Those are my suggestions for making your employees more responsive and friendlier with their customers. But let’s talk about location. If you haven’t signed a lease to open your store yet, then stop and think hard about location. Do some research. Find out what works best for similar stores. But if it’s too late for that, let’s look at some the number one way you can overcome a poor location choice.
Don’t try to compete against an online store with something they excel at like free shipping or 24-hour convenience. Instead, beat them in that one area that they can’t compete with you. Beat them with your people.
It’s all about your employees, how you treat them and how they treat me. (Look to items 1 through 6 on how to get me back into your store.) I will go out of my way for salespeople who are pleasant and who in turn go out of their way to make my experience the best. And I will be sure to tell ALL of my friends about your store.