So, what makes a potential customer become a paying customer?
There are a number of aspects that push a potential customer into committing to the purchase, to pressing that ENTER key online or swiping their card in-store.
This is such a tentative phase of the Customer Journey, that one daren’t breathe, in case you startle and scare off the shy buyer-to-be.
But there are a few pointers that could change all of that and here are some:
Engage, talk to your customers, discuss, ask for their input and feedback. Learn to understand what the key triggers are that motivate your potentials to become purchasers.
It could be something as easy as assuring them of a low price, personalised service, or a no-hassle returns policy. Funnily enough, even signage plays its role. Is your store easy to navigate, is your online shopfront user-friendly? When you get this right, it’s more likely that you will be able to convert the Browser to a Buyer.
Make sure you have enough stock available and ready to ship. There is little more irritating than seeing some product advertised, only to find it’s now out of stock. That is the fastest way to send your potential purchasers flooding to the competition.
Be diligent about displaying your product accurately, from price to availability. Based on studies by the University of Florida, ‘a three-percentage point improvement in in-stock percentage yields a one percentage point increase in sales.’ Make sure your merchandise is on the floor and not in the stockroom or warehouse…
Be on door duty for the customer. Doing a stock take during office/business hours or upgrading your software is very off-putting to potential customers when they want to make a purchase. It’s best to plan price changes, stock-taking, IT issues, goods receiving etc when there is reduced customer traffic, such as after trading hours in a brick and mortar store and in an online store, a staggered or incremental approach works best. Either way, ensure sufficient staff (or online personnel) is available to not impact service and the customer experience in a negative way.
Good training always sets an establishment above the competition. In the ideal world, your employers are your ambassadors, representing your brand, service, and product, whether or not they are in-store or online. Make staff training a priority, teach best-of-practise customer service and selling solutions, not just products. Ensure they willingly go the extra mile to enhance the customer journey, leaving customers with a positive impression of your brand.
Adapt to your customers habits and needs. As seasons change, so do customers’ habits and therefore, so should your offerings. Plan for the peak season, and schedule for varying customer traffic – regardless of time of day. Implement a staff/personnel schedule that caters for those peak times, including nights and weekends.
Peak season is the time to appoint key personnel. During a peak season, appoint a floor leader whose sole duty during the holiday period is to ensure customer care is maximised and that all sales-fronting personnel are performing their duties to premium capacity. (This should be the case normally, but hey, it’s holiday season…)
An omni-channel strategy will cover all bases. Nowadays, the shopping experience is omni-channel, namely, customers can shop in store, online, and on their smart phones. Through offering a variety of processes and tools, you will enable customers to shop in ways that best suit their needs, in the way they choose.
There are many other ways to improve the purchaser’s experience and prod them in to making the buy, but top of the list always, is customer relationships built on trust, and the rest will follow naturally.