I just read an excellent blog post entitled Selling more by seeing your store through your customer’s eyes. The author did an excellent job of describing how your employees actions affects the buying habits of customers and how the customers feels about your store.
I encourage you to read her posting. I couldn’t agree more about how your employees create the general perception of a retail location. One way to really test how well your store looks through the eyes of a customer is to use a secret shopper.
The secret shopper will report back through unbiased eyes on how well your store personnel are performing and how well your store looked.
While that secret shopper is at it have them actually look at the merchandise and how it is laid out on the sales floor. I want to know… What does the customer see in terms of your merchandise when they walk into your store?
I was talking to the owner of a small bike shop the other day. We were covering topics like using the good, better, best method of selling, selling what is in stock vs special orders, inventory turns, and a host of other topics.
Then I brought up the topic of what does the customer see when they walk into the store? Here is what I saw…
In the case of this bike shop the owner has hundreds of bikes, side by side, road bikes on the top, mountain bikes on the bottom. He had kid bikes in the corner, accessories along the wall. To the owner it was all very orderly. To me it was a mess. It was overwhelming. Plus there were so many bikes that it was difficult for the salesperson to remove one to show the customer.
Heres another example of bad merchandising. The next time you walk into a Lowes or Home Depots paint department I want you to check to see if your eyes can quickly pick up if you are in the interior or exterior paint aisle? Can you find the stain aisle? Which one of these 1,000s of paint cans would you choose if there was no help available?
My point is even companies selling billions in merchandise make this mistake. When your customer walks in, what do they see when you are not there to help? Is it overwhelming to them, are they confused? Could they steer themselves in the general direction of what they are looking for? Do they walk out without speaking to anyone – that is the real killer, they left and didn’t give you a chance.
David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting