Every retailer on the planet wants to sell more products or services to every customer that walks into their store or makes a purchase online. However so many times I see the action (or inaction) of retailers preventing the customer from buying.
In the stores, it can sometimes be the store layout that’s not conducive to shopping, product in the wrong place, complementary products not grouped together, poor merchandising, out of stocks etc. Then it could be lack of service that kills the sale, staff that don’t approach to help out, don’t find out why you are there and offer suggestions, or rely on signage to make the extra sale. In fact there are many more reasons why customers walk out with only one product or worst still nothing.
When it comes to the online world, one of the biggest reasons for abandonment is it’s too hard to navigate and find something. We know how time poor our customers are so we have to make the shopping experience simple without roadblocks otherwise it’s just too easy for them not to buy.
To ensure we stay focussed on making the customer buying process simple, we have to see and feel what the customer experiences. In a recent article in the Australian Financial Review, CarAdvice CEO Andrew Beecher, says the answer is that everyone has to live the brand. “We all access the content and functionality daily as if we are the final consumer”. Beecher allocates 90 minutes a week to use CarAdvice as if he were a consumer. If only every business would do that!
At the next level, another area that some retailers focus on is,- what does the customer actually want to buy in the future and let’s make that product for them. This is the ultimate in identifying customer’s needs and catering for them, not just expecting them to buy what they have always bought. Two companies that have excelled at this are of course Apple and Amazon.
Amazon, traditionally sells all its products via online but interestingly, is now exploring opening physical stores. In the same AFR article mentioned above, Rodney Haywood, Amazon’s head of architecture was quizzed on their “customer obsession”, one of their 14 guiding principles. He said “customer obsession plays out in so many ways, from which products are built, what features they have and even down to how the customer pays for them.” He added “More than 95% of our road map is driven by what our customers tell us matters, not what we think matters.” What a great customer first focus, so many more retailers need to adopt this process.
The old saying is still so critical – We need to walk in the customer shoes. If we don’t, we run the risk of frustrating them and they can easily head off to your competitor who will happily look after them!
Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service and selling skills.