If you own a retail business, Michele Miller at WonderBranding offers 5 things you can do to improve your customers’ experience at check out. As usual, she has terrific insight into how little things can have a big impact on how women feel about shopping. Shopping with you, to be specific.
Say you don’t but own a retail store but head up an online venture or deliver a service to women?
Take note! Every tip except the first can be applied to your relationship with customers.
5 free or low-cost things to improve her experience at the cash register:
1. Clean off your counter and give her room to maneuver.
Amen to this, Michele! Nothing’s worse than a counter jam-packed with trinkets (AKA point-of-sale purchases). If a customer can’t dig through her purse or find room to write a check, she is cramped and uncomfortable. On the other hand, open, spacious counters are inviting and say you care about her.
2. Tell her what a great choice she’s made.
I love this point from Michele, too; it’s one I experienced myself recently as I browsed a rack of clothes at Nordstrom.
I chose to try on a knit merlot-hued blazer with a chiffon ruffle. Sounds weird, does it? But the salesgirl told me she’d bought the same thing and absolutely loved it. When I got to the dressing room, I discovered I did, too — although I’m hardly a “frilly” dresser. Any qualms I had had been calmed by Becky, my ever-helpful salesgirl.
Says Michele, “We’ve all gone to nice eating establishments where the waiter remarks on our “excellent choice” of meal from the menu. Why not do the same? I’ve had the checkout person at Lucy comment on the cuteness of my choice of yoga top, had someone at Sports Authority tell me how happy I’d be with my new heart rate monitor, and a cashier at Trader Joe’s rave about the peppermint soap I was trying for the first time. Take a cue from these leaders and give it a try. In the female customer’s mind, it reinforces that she is a smart consumer and makes her feel that in your eyes, she really IS an important customer.”
3. Let your packaging be a walking billboard.
Oh yah, baby. Do it.
Michele writes, “This is the most costly of the 5 things, but the best investment as well. If you’re still using generic plastic bags for her purchases, stop it. RIGHT. NOW. Invest in bold, colorful, or elegant bags (and liners like tissue paper, etc.) that are unique to your retail store and make a statement that she’ll love to carry around for the next hour.”
“Better yet,” she writes, “make it highly functional as well. For example: when you leave an Apple store, your purchase is placed inside vinyl drawstring bag that can be carried as a backpack or sling. It’s brilliant design and great function for women who are trying to balance multiple bags and children.”
4. Give her a little lagniappe.
I’ve never heard of the word “lagniappe”; Michele says it’s something extra you give your customer for doing business with her. I love it!
I’ve given several clients handcrafted wood pens as a thank you for working with me (my husband’s crazy about making them). With this advice from Michele, I’ve decided to make this small gift my standard. After all, I truly appreciate my clients and adore helping them; why not have a signature “thank you” to express my gratitude?
Michele writes, “(A lagniappe isn’t) throwing in a coupon for a future discount; it IS something that has meaning at the moment of checkout. It’s the butcher who weighs the lunchmeat, prints out the price tag, and then throws an extra few slices into the bag. It’s the bank teller at the drive-thru who notices the puppy in the car and sends a dog treat back with the deposit slip. It’s the clothing store manager who notices a customer looking through a basket of clearance earrings and lets her pick a pair for free. It’s a small investment that brands your store directly into the reward behavior area of her brain.”
5. Invite her to join the club.
I can relate to this tip from Michele, too, since I’m all about Internet exposure. I believe it’s the grandest equalizer ever and gives small companies as much online “oomph” as big companies.
She says, “Sign up for Facebook – it’s free. Visit the pages of businesses like Grossman’s Country Nursery and Wise Grass to see how they’ve built pages for their and created community with their customers. Follow their model of offering special events and discounts for their Facebook friends. Start making the page about your customers, not you. And as your customer checks out at the register, hand her a special invitation to join the Facebook group. It shows that you’re “in the know” with technology and social media, and is the perfect reminder that as a brand you continue to do business even after she leaves your store. Used correctly, a Facebook page builds a steady, loyal fan base that is both trackable and measurable in terms of revenue.”
There you have it. Five tips on how you can make your customer feel great at the cash register. Give them a try and send me the results! I’d love to hear what you’re up to.