Buyers – Get Them to Come Back More Often
In this second article in the series on growing your hardware store I will look at one of the simplest ways of increasing sales. Getting your existing customers to come back more often. I say the simplest, I’m not saying that it is always easy. It can be quite challenging.
The first criteria is that consumers want to come back; this will not be achieved by simply providing financial incentives. It must firstly be achieved by developing a customer relation policy where the sales team are aware of their role in the process. Consumers will come back if they firstly like your team members, after liking them, they then start to trust them. The traditional corner store is a classic example of where the store owner and their team built such a strong relationship that customers would often just drop in for a chat.
The key to getting consumers in more often is to build relationships; getting to know their names, their hobbies and what their favourite products are, is a skill required to build the like/trust relationship with the consumer. The challenge for a hardware store operator is how do you maintain a consistent standard to ensure that relationship building skills are ongoing. This is where a mystery shop audit can become a valuable tool to ensure standards are maintained. There are numerous professional mystery shop professionals in the market place and if you do not employ one to regularly check standards, then I suggest this could become a valuable tool in your business. Apart from your customer relationship skills, how else can you get customers in more often? These are my ten tips to build sales with existing customers.
We have all been exposed to loyalty clubs, they work. Many hardware store operators think they are only feasible for large hardware stores. I disagree, any hardware store operator can set up a loyalty scheme. It can be as simple as a card and stamp where once the card has been stamped, for example, ten times, the customer gets a reward.
S.M.S. or Text offers to your customers
Ask your customers if they would like an S.M.S. on special deals. If the answer is yes, send specific S.M.S. messages to encourage them to drop in.
If the members of Facebook belonged to one country, it would be the fourth largest nation in the world. Ask your customers if they are on Facebook and would they like to join your Facebook. This is a cheap, easy and effective way to get a message across.
Don’t send them a Christmas card.
But do celebrate with them on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, their birthday or another special event they will relate to on a more personal level. It will have more impact.
Invite them to special occasions.
Special previews of new stock or pre season events will make them feel special as well as get them talking to the friends. Create a special occasion for special people.
Treat them with delights.
Delight strategies always work. Delight equals expectation, plus one. It is a gift that is low cost to you and perceived high value to the receiver. It could be as simple as a cup of coffee or paying for a parking metre. It has a huge follow on to grow your business.
This will not work for all hardware store operators, but if you can introduce a series of collectible items over a period of time, this will encourage customers to visit more often. Collectibles are especially valuable if they can be linked to the home or garden.
Belong to clubs they belong to that relate to what you sell.
Again, this will not work for all hardware store operators, it will depend on what you sell. But, if there are clubs related to what you sell, join the club and be seen at the club.
Promote coming events verbally.
Tell your customers what new products or events are happening next month. Create the excitement for them and tell them you’re looking forward to seeing them at the launch.
Finally, just make sure you welcome them back at the end of a transaction.
Don’t close the sale. Tell them you look forward to seeing them on their next visit.
John Stanley is one of the top ten percent of speakers in the world today. He is an acclaimed retail consultant and Western Australian Entrepreneur of the Year 2009. John is author of several marketing, customer service and retail books including the best seller “Just About Everything a Retail Manager Needs to Know”, his company is Western Australian Small Business Champion 2009 – Education and Training. For more information on how John Stanley can help you visit his website www.johnstanley.com.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org