By Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media & SmallBizDaily.com
You know your retail salespeople are an important part of your store’s success, but did you know they can actually boost sales? Shoppers who interact with salespeople in-store are 43 percent more likely to make a purchase, according to a shopper survey by Mindtree. They also spend 81 percent more than the average shopper. In other words, salespeople are key to increasing sales in retail.
Unfortunately, your salespeople can also cause your retail sales to plummet. Nearly 40 percent of shoppers surveyed have walked out of a store and purchase from a competitor because salespeople either didn’t help them at all or didn’t have the information they needed.
The following tactics will ensure your salespeople are growing — not slowing — your sales.
Step 1: Speed it up.
Quick service is a top priority for shoppers, so it needs to be a priority for your salespeople, too. Let them know that helping customers is more important than duties such as straightening shelves or completing paperwork and that it’s okay to drop everything to help a customer. Cross-train employees so everyone can ring up sales. That way, you don’t end up with one overworked salesperson on the register and two others standing around folding sweaters.
Step 2: Make contact.
Over 70 percent of shoppers surveyed like interacting with salespeople. Even if your salespeople encounter a few grumps, train them to greet customers as soon as they enter the store. Acknowledging customers who are waiting for service goes a long way, too. If the line at the checkout is getting longer, thanking the customers for waiting will ease their frustration.
Step 3: Have enough salespeople on the floor.
Use employee scheduling software to eliminate the confusion and misunderstandings that result from using whiteboards, clipboards, or spreadsheets to create the weekly schedule. Look for an employee scheduling app that makes it easy for you to create and manage schedules on your computer or mobile device and allows employees to check their schedules on the go. That way, there’s no excuse for being short-staffed.
Bonus: Scheduling tools that incorporate employee time tracking apps will simplify your life even more.
Step 4: Watch for signals.
Shoppers usually show plenty of signs when they need assistance, like looking around the store or appearing confused. Train your salespeople to be observant and alert to these signs. You can also help ensure that everyone gets assistance by designing your store’s layout to minimize blind spots. This makes it easier for salespeople to see shoppers throughout the store. Finally, have salespeople circulate around the store so they don’t miss any struggling shoppers.
Step 5: Give salespeople the training they need to provide the information customers want.
Sure, shoppers rely on online product reviews when making a purchase, but according to the study, in-store salespeople are the No. 2 source of product information, right behind websites and reviews. Regularly educate your employees on new merchandise and product lines as you add them to your stock. Equip salespeople with mobile devices so they can look up information on the floor or check inventory without having to run into the stockroom. The more your salespeople know about your products, the more helpful they can be — and the better they can recommend additional products to buy.
Treat your salespeople with the respect they deserve, arm them with the right training and tools, and model how you want them to treat customers, and you’ll soon have a store full of selling machines.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.