9 PROVEN WAYS TO SELL MORE RETAIL
BY Nina Zoukelman
Retail sales are the holy grail of service-based businesses. Why? Because it’s a great way to get more revenue from the same customer. And in times of uncertainty about your brick and mortar, when you're looking to add more revenue channels, you can always switch to selling products online. This holds more stability and gives you another revenue channel outside of services. So, here are 9 proven ways to sell more retail at your brick and mortar:
1. Try the Product before Selling It and Learn Everything about It
One of the basic rules of sales is believing in what you’re selling. If you don’t believe that the product is going to work, neither will the client. So make sure to try all the products you’re selling before pitching them to customers. Learn about each product so you can answer questions about it.
You will also be able to give a personal recommendation and sell from your own experience. This will make for a much more convincing and reliable sales pitch.
2. Listen to Your Clients and Build Trust
Selling doesn’t just happen. You need to reach a point with your customer when they trust you and understand the value of the product for them. This journey begins at the consultation.
Make sure to ask your clients about their needs, their lifestyle, their likes and dislikes. Once they’ve answered your questions, you’ll be able to offer them the products that best fit those needs.
Don’t just push the products you need to sell to your customer. 91% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when provided with relevant offers and recommendations.
In addition to getting the information you need, listening to your clients forms trust. Forming a personal relationship will make it easier for you to get your client’s attention when you decide to pitch your product.
3. Don’t Sell, Educate
This might surprise you, but the client isn’t there to buy a product. They’re there to improve their life and everyday experience. So rather than just talk about your product, make it about them. Once you’ve learned what their needs are, it’s time to help them get there.
Educate them and give them advice. Then explain how your products can help them. However, the process isn’t over when the customer buys the product. Make sure you also explain how to use it to reach the desired results -- even if those instructions are stated on the packaging.
If they go home without understanding those instructions and don’t use the product correctly, you will lose their trust.
4. When Possible, Service the Customer Using The Products You’re Selling
There is no better way to sell more retail that by creating a personal experience with the product. This is why, before you even pitch the product, try and use it on the customer. If you're a personal trainer, use the weights you're selling during the session. If you own a hair salon, wash the customer's hair with the shampoo you're selling. This is true for most service-based businesses.
This is the moment to combine your knowledge of the product with your knowledge of the customer’s needs. Use the product, explain how it works and show how it can serve the customer’s needs.
Once they experience the product and understand how you, the professional, use it, they will be more confident in their ability to repeat that result at home.
5. Invest in an Attractive Display
Your display is very important. You can take some inspiration from popular brands in your industry that you would like to emulate. Go into their stores and look at how they display their products. Describe it to yourself using various adjectives, such as “colorful”, “clean”, “luxurious”, "authentic", etc., and try to recreate the same feeling.
Here are some basic tips for your display:
a. Display products in a prominent place in the business, where clients can’t miss them. Ideally, products should be surrounding customers, so try having them on multiple walls. But if you only have one wall for retail, highlight it by adding a bit more light there or painting it a different color.
b. Optimize the lighting of your product display. Lighting your products right is super important for your sales. Here is a guide to retail lighting designs to encourage sales.
c. Keep a clean and tidy display. You can arrange your products by category, brand or even color -- just make sure to arrange each morning before the day starts.
d. Design your product display with your brand in mind. Your display should use the same colors and fonts as your brand.
e. Make it accessible. Your retail area should be in a place that customers can easily access. Don’t block access to your products or place them too high.
f. Use shelf talkers to add information. Shelf talkers are small text tags attached to a retail shelf. They are designed to add more information about the products, their ingredients and their benefits. If you’re having a sale or a promotion, add a distinctive shelf talker to highlight relevant products.
g. Demonstrate the products. If it’s a scented candle you’re selling, light it in the display area. If it’s perfume, you can spray some around the shelves. Allow customers to experience the products passively, even without asking.
h. If you sell the kind of products that have free samples, place them next to each product.
6. Set Up an Online Store
33% of US shoppers buy cosmetics and body care online. And this is just one example. These days in particular, everything is sold online. An online store can also be a good way to retain your clients, by getting them to your website every time they need the type of product you're offering.
Another reason to set up an online shop is that it’s a solid business model even when your brick and mortar is closed. Recent numbers have shown that e-commerce grew by 49% this April, after lockdown orders were first introduced.
Here are a few basic tips for starting your online store:
a. Invest in your visuals. Make sure your photos do your products justice. You can try to get the images from your supplier or take the photos yourself, as long as they look professional.
b. Highlight the value. Give proper details about the product and its benefits. Don’t overpromise, but rather explain how the product works. The more relevant details you give, the better the chances are to make a sale.
c. Position products strategically in your e-shop. Make sure your best-sellers are easy to find and prominently displayed. You can even start a Best Sellers category. Make use of features that help you increase your sales, such as similar items, showing product reviews, or recommending other products to buy alongside the original product.
d. Define clear delivery and return policies. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver and state clearly what your shipping times and rates are. Also, make sure to define return policies. If you’re unsure what those should be, look at businesses similar to yours and check what they’re offering.
7. Promotion is the Name of the Game
There are many ways to boost sales through promotion. Here are a few ways that will help you sell more retail:
a. Offering discounts and coupons. You can give a discount on a slow-moving product or offer discounts for members to encourage them to shop more.
b. Time your promotions. People shop more before the holidays and the wedding season. Make sure to offer promotions around the times when people are looking to make purchases.
c. Leverage your marketing channels. Email and text campaigns can be highly effective. Social media is also a great marketing channel. Another method is adding a link to your online store to every email you send to a customer.
d. Personalize your promotions. You can choose a category for promotion. For example, if you own a dance school, give a discount on tap shoes to all those taking tap dance. If you own a hair salon, give discounts on curly hair products to your curly-haired clients. Then you can segment your customers and send a campaign to customers who are relevant to the specific promotion.
Personalization will also keep your customers coming back for more. 78% of consumers are more likely to become a repeat customer if provided with targeted and personalized offers.
8. Ask for Feedback
To make sure customers trust your recommendations and keep buying your products, ask for feedback.
After a customer has bought a product from you, make it a point to ask how well it worked, whether in person or in an email asking for feedback. The main advantage of this is finding out more about your products and whether your customers are satisfied with them.
There is another reason to seek feedback. If the customer didn’t like the product, this is your chance to fix that impression. You can try and find out if they followed instructions. Or see if there was another reason why the product didn’t do what it was supposed to. If it turns out it just wasn’t the right product for them, you can offer a different one.
The main point here is not to lose the relationship you’ve forged with the customer just because one product wasn’t right for them. A bad experience with a product can prevent customers from taking your advice on future products, so it’s important to make sure that doesn’t happen.
If the customer gives your products rave reviews, this is your chance to offer more similar products or a renewed supply of the same product.
9. Train and Motivate Your Team
You might have sales down to a science but your employees don't necessarily feel the same about themselves. In fact, some professionals are often uncomfortable selling. If you have employees, it’s vital to train and motivate them to sell more retail.
You can do sales workshops, with roleplay and simulations that will help your staff get accustomed to selling products. Demonstrate how you do it and ask them what they’ve learned from watching you.
The next step would be letting them sell you something. Once workshops are over, you can have employees “shadow” you when you sell products to customers.
But training isn’t enough. It’s important to motivate your staff so they put in their best work in selling. If you don’t already have an Employee of the Month program, now is the time to start one. Make product sales one of the criteria for winning this title or choose two Employees of the Month: one who excelled at professional services and one top seller.
Celebrate your employees' achievements not only through words and ceremonies but also with tangible rewards. A competitive commission structure, where the commission is higher the more you sell, is a good idea. You can also throw in a special reward, such as a restaurant dinner for two or a stay at a nice B&B for top performers who exceed their sales quota.