What is the most typical greeting when a customer enters a store? 60% of retail stores use “Can I help you?” most often. The reality is that the majority of customers won’t engage with this type of communication and you will lose a sale.
Remember that the customer came to your store for a reason – they have perceived a need and want to act on it. People very rarely go to a store to ‘Just look’. Okay, they’re not 100% sure they’re going to buy, but if they’re given a good opportunity to do so they will. Think about the reasons you go in to a store? There is generally something in the back of your mind about purchasing the product you’re looking at and if someone gives you a good reason to act you will.
Greeting Walk In Customers: The Basics
In retail, it’s important to deal with customers almost as if they’re your friends. Think about when a friend visits your home, you will do everything possible to ensure they enjoy their time there – imagine what your friend would think if you treated them with indifference? Check out this article for a more in depth discussion on putting yourself in the shoes of the customer.Recognize them
If a customer has visited your store before, try to address them by name. Think about it from your perspective. How impressed would you be if an employee remembered your name? With hundreds of people passing through a store every day it can be difficult to remember all of them of course, but if you do, be sure to use the information to your advantage.
Remembering a name is a real bonus but simply recognizing a customer will also help. A simple “Hey, nice to see you again” will go a long way to converting a walk in customer to a sale and will also encourage repeat custom.Complement appropriately
You need to tread carefully here. You don’t just want to throw out disingenuous compliments and you must be careful not to go over the top. For example, if you worked in a clothing store you could say “That scarf is great; perfect for winter as well!” – It does the job without being too overbearing.Use conversation pieces
If there are any interesting pieces of artwork or photos in your store, why not break out of sales mode and have a chat about them with the customer? This is great at making the customer feel like they’re not being forced in to anything.How’s the weather?
This may seem obvious but it is a good way of getting the customer to talk about something where they are the expert. Be sure that you are fully engaged during this conversation and respond appropriately to what they’re saying.Smile
Smiling puts people at ease. Try to keep smiling during your interaction with the customer, but don’t force it too much as it will come across as insincere.If a customer doesn’t want to engage – don’t worry
No matter what approach you take you are always going to get customers who simply don’t want to be bothered. Don’t worry too much – just stick with the same strategy for the next customer and you will likely get a more positive response.
Dealing With Difficult Retail Scenarios
|“Can I help you?”
|“I’m just browsing.”
|“Do you need any assistance?”
|“Are you okay there?”
- The customer actually is browsing.
- The customer doesn’t want to be bothered and wants to shop on their own.
- The customer doesn’t want to be sold to and thinks it is safer browsing on their own rather than being pushed in to a sale.
- Your name + a helpful fact = a door to approach a customer later
|How To Respond
|How Not To Respond
|“I love browsing too. Just in case you need anything, my name’s Ken. We have these cool new inventory scanners if you want to check any item in the store. Enjoy your browse.”
|“Sure. My name is Ken. If you need anything I’ll be right over there.”
|“I understand. My name is Ken if you need anything. I’ll check back with you a little bit later if you have any questions.”
Retail Sales: Re-engaging with browsersThis situation often requires you and your staff to read basic body language. For instance, you should think about things like:
- How long has the customer been walking around?
- Are they glancing over at you every so often?
What do you say when you Reapproach?Don’t come across as pushy. You still need to tread carefully. Indicate that you are just “checking in” with them. Examples
- “Were you shopping for someone in particular?”
- “Are you looking for something for yourself or someone else?”
- “I see that you have your eye on the dresses, would you like to see our winter specials?”
- I’m Just Browsing ≠ ‘No’
- I’m Just Browsing = ‘Not right now’