This story originally appeared in the SuperZoo Daily Showpublished by Pet Product News.
The retail experience continues to change, but that doesn’t mean the shoppers have changed; they always want what they want, when they want it, how they want it, every time they visit your store. Keep customers coming back with these relentless strategies that drive traffic, drive profits, grab attention, drive sales, challenge competition, and win customers every retailer should adopt.
Windows that Wow
1. Choose a theme for your windows. There are lots of national and fun holidays to choose from each month, or create your own. Carry this theme throughout the store.
2. Keep it simple. People need to be able to see your windows in eight seconds or less.
3. Choose a backdrop that makes the merchandise stand out. A vertical backdrop will draw the eye up and down as well as forward, allowing shoppers to see more of your storefront.
4. Add your phone number and web address in 12-14 inch reflective white vinyl letters in the center bottom of your main windows. Now potential customers can easily contact you or check your website, even when your store is not open. Add a QR code for even easier access.
5. Light up your windows at night. This is especially important if your store is in an area that is walkable or populated by restaurants and bars. Lighting keeps people coming back when your store is open.
6. Create an instant display with window graphics using photos enlarged to fit your window space. Perforated window graphics arrest shoppers with eye-popping photos on the outside while allowing shoppers to see out the windows from the inside. Any sign shop can make these window graphics for you.
On the sales floor
7. Offer carts or baskets to increase sales. Customers stop shopping once their hands are full, so make sure to offer a cart or basket as your greeting. If you don’t have carts, offer to hold items at checkout until the customer is ready to pay.
8. Position the speed bump displays front and center. These prominent displays are the first impression customers have of the store when they enter. Use small fixtures or stackable tables to group irresistible products.
9. Cross Merchandise. Think of additional products you could add to displays that will save customers time and increase sales. Look around the store for places to add J-hooks, clip strips, and inexpensive power panel fixtures designed to help you sell more.
10. Sign your postings. Signed screens outperform unsigned screens by 20%. The message should be simple, indicating the main features and the price. Use upper and lower case letters and don’t use fonts smaller than 30 point so customers who wear reading glasses can easily read your signs without them.
11. Take a 360 degree walk every day before you open your doors. Start at the front door and walk through each aisle of the store, and finish by taking a look at the checkout packing, service counter, restrooms, and other areas needing attention before unlocking the door . Require all associates to perform a 360 degree walkthrough before each shift.
12. Set a daily sales target and post it on the cashwrap. Associates will perform better when they know what is expected of them.
13. Hold a 10 minute meeting every morning or at the start of every shift. Discuss products, policies, promotions – everything associates need to know that day.
14. Post the signature of the policy in a prominent place on the cashwrap. Your return/exchange policy should be comparable to other retailers in your area that sell what you sell. Try to eliminate the word “no” by writing your policies in a friendly voice. “No refunds or exchanges without a receipt!” becomes friendly when changed to “We gladly accept returns and exchanges within X days. Your receipt guarantees it.
15. Place impulse items at checkout. High-margin, low-cost items work best, so choose irresistible items like toys and treats. Rotate the selection often so repeat customers always see something new.
16. Display gift cards at checkout all year round. Most gift card buyers need more than one trip to your store to spend the card amount and will spend more than the face value of the card. This is good news for you every month of the year!
17. Keep a supply of frequently forgotten items at checkout. Now when a customer says, “I forgot to buy X, I’ll buy it next time”, you can reach under the counter, grab that item, and record the sale.
18. Answer the phone within three rings. Choose a simple greeting and share it with all associates. Long automated messages or requiring associates to tell callers about sales, hours, or whatever is going on that day before asking how they can help drives customers crazy.
19. Manage your customer response times. Best practices say you should return phone calls and respond to emails within 24 hours and respond to text messages within an hour. Not being responsive gives a bad impression of your business.
20. Check your return stock. Before ordering again, check that there are no additional quantities of this product already in your warehouse. If you need a physical reminder, place a green dot sticker on the shelf or bin ticket indicating that there is more of that merchandise in stock. When there is no more item in the back, replace the green dot with a red dot, indicating that this item needs to be reordered. Add a black dot if the item should not be reordered, or mark it and move it to the sales aisle.
21. Perform physical cycle counts. Even if you have a point-of-sale (POS) system, it’s still important to perform periodic physical counts at the shelf level to compare the actual inventory against what’s on the POS report. If they don’t match, you need to find out why.
22. Don’t wait too long to take markdowns. Goods that don’t sell need to free up money to buy fresh, salable goods. Add a “sale by” date to price tags and bin tickets, and note items as soon as sales start to slow.
23. Create a weekly stash bag and give one to each buyer. Use your storage bags to advertise specific products, events, or anything important that week.
24. Create a bragging sheet containing the services your store provides, rewards, amenities, merchandise categories, brands, social media IDs, return policy, hours of operation, anything important to your customers. Print it on the back of your weekly pocket and add it to your website, social media and email blasts.
25. Send emails once or twice a month. Choose a professional email marketing company to create your campaigns. Companies like Constant Contact, SnapRetail, and Mailchimp all offer a free trial, so try them all out and pick your favorite.
26. Host one major event and one to two minor in-store events each month. Major events fill the store with shoppers, while minor events, like classes and demos, limit the number of attendees. Both are important for engaging and connecting with customers.
27. Toot your own horn. Contact local media and tell stories about your store. Send out a press release for every newsworthy thing you do, including awards, events, contest winners, charities, newsworthy associates, and most importantly your trip to the SuperZoo. Take photos to include in your press releases.
28. Increase your social media presence. Choose two to three social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, and commit to keeping them up to date. Posting daily is the optimal goal; three times a week is the minimum to keep followers interested.
29. Use hashtags to expand your reach. Posts with hashtags have more engagement than those without. Without a hashtag, your posts will only reach people who follow you, but posts that include hashtags can reach anyone who follows that hashtag. Google “best hashtags for pet stores” to get started, and be sure to include a hashtag with your store name.
30. Take time for yourself. The past few years have been difficult, but you have succeeded. You’ve found new ways to find products, become a social media star, and juggled a million other things. You’re probably exhausted, so give yourself a break. Set priorities; do what you can and delegate the rest. You’ve come this far, proving that there’s no limit to what you can do when you put your mind to it!
Georganne Bender and Rich Kizer are speakers, authors, and consultants who have helped thousands of businesses in the retail, creative, restaurant, healthcare, death care, hospitality, pets, college, travel, tanning, beauty, technology, automotive, sales and service. industries have been growing their sales since 1990. Kizer & Bender is listed as a Top 40 Omnichannel Retail Influencer, Top 100 Retail Influencer, and Top Retail Industry Expert to Follow on the social media. They have been named one of Meetings & Conventions magazine’s list of favorite meeting planners’ keynote speakers, have been named two of the most influential people in retail, and their award-winning blog Retail Adventures is ranked among the top 20 blogs. and Marketing for 2022. As global retail thought leaders, Kizer and Bender are BrainTrust panelists for RetailWire, the premier online retail discussion forum. Kizer & Bender are experts in generational diversity, consumer trends, marketing and promotion, and all things retail. As consumer anthropologists, they track and study the most elusive of mammals: today’s consumer. Along with focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and intensive on-site research, their research involves impersonating every type of client you can imagine. The result of their research literally came straight out of the consumer’s mouth: solid basic intelligence that you can use to better serve your own customers.