Monday, July 16, 2012

Make it More Fun

At a recent conference I attended, a statistic was thrown out from the National Retail Federation that 78% of customers say they would shop somewhere else that is more fun.  I couldn't find the source for that stat.  But let's just assume it is true that a large percentage of people will choose fun over loyalty.

Are you surprised?

For many customers, shopping is an event.  Shopping is a happening, something to which you invite your friends to join you.  On the other hand, for many customers shopping is a chore.  Shopping is drudgery, a time-consuming event that sucks all the energy out of your life.

Let me ask... Which of those two groups would be attracted to a more fun shopping option?

If you said both, move to the head of the class.  Now that statistic doesn't seem so far-fetched.  Now your mission is much more clear.  Make your store the most fun option in your category.

Some of you think I have an unfair advantage of being fun because I sell toys.  But remember that because I am a toy store, the bar of expectations is quite high.  We're supposed to be a fun place to shop.  Here are some things to remember about fun in retail...

  • It has to be inclusive.  Make sure your customers are part of the fun.  No one does this better than the famous Pike Place Fish Market that regularly includes the audience customers in their skits and routines.
  • It has to be family-friendly.  If there is the slightest chance children will be in the store, keep it PG or milder. (Note: tobacco shops and adult video stores can disregard that last statement.)
  • It has to be all the time.  Even if you or a member of your staff is having an off day, you have to be on for the customers.  They will notice when you don't have the same level of energy.  Fake it if you have to.  

Fun could include...

  • Displays for customers to try before they buy.  
  • Acting a little goofy and silly.
  • Making a big deal over each and every customer, showing them appreciation and special attention.  (The same presentation said 70% of your customers who leave, do so because of lack of appreciation.)
  • Constantly re-merchandising your store to come up with cool new displays and excitingly creative windows.
  • Contests such as paint a poster of your favorite experience at our store, write our new radio ad, design our next t-shirt.
  • Smiling all the time and being friendly no matter what the circumstances

If the NRF is right, 78% of the customers out there are hoping you will be more fun!  Don't disappoint them.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS  The number one thing you can do is appreciate your customers.  Smile at them.  Greet them like family.  Treat them like royalty.  Thank them profusely.  Rick Segel says the best opening line - even better than "Hello" - is to say "Thanks for coming in."  Your customers have so many other options, yet they chose you.  Create a culture of appreciation and your customers will think your store is the most fun place to shop.

PPS  If your current staff cannot make your store fun, you need to get a new staff.  Now!

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