Shopper Conversion. Is it important and how do we do it – easily?
The trick to most of the retail concepts that we hear in the retail trade today, that are repeated continually and so casually, is the breaking down of the concept so that the front line staff can also try and understand what is meant by these terms and catch phrases that just get tossed around so nonchalantly
An example that I wanted to go through today was this notion of “shopper conversion”, which is soooooo over used in the retail environment of today and typically not understood.
Now, I may have written the above so that it sounds trivial, but it’s not. In fact it may be the single most important strategy for retailers to use if they choose to survive in retail today. It is also a key strategy that the front line must understand and practice if they want continued employment in retail. That is how important shopper conversion is.
The way that I try and explain shopper conversion to stores is as follows; quite simply, people come in to your (our) stores for Item A and B, and by us being a little creative, and by us just thinking a little bit, we get them to leave with C,D,E,F,G…
Now, let me clarify. That does not mean that I enjoy the excesses of our society nor do I want to make anyone leave the stores with useless C,D,E,F,G’s…. Rather, I really want to try to do my best and to have consumers (you) leave with items that you should be thinking about at time of the purchase of A and B, but just didn’t. This way I can save you a trip, thereby allowing you to use your time more effectively elsewhere, since most find shopping a chore (believe me, that hurts to write as a retailer…).
To me, conversion is assisting consumers to save time and save money , by not forcing them to leave the location they are in, and then to have to run around town fulfilling their shopping needs in various locations. Very simple; spend more me with me. Quite the concept…
So, how do we do it at store level? What kind of approach could stores take?
Sometimes, the best examples are from retail locations that you would least suspect. The ones that practice the concept and I am sure that they have never heard anything about shopper conversion.
We have a small ethnic grocer up the street here in East Van that really does a good job with this.
They are not a tidy retailer. They have no freaking parking to speak of – terrible parking in fact. They are on a busy intersection that is actually quite dangerous (surprised there have not been a tonne of accidents there). They offer nothing extraordinary in terms of product selection vs any of the larger retailers. They are ridiculously small as they are crammed into no more that 2000 square feet. They are not even price competitive on the “greater shopping basket”. They are one location. They do not have 12 to 20 page flyers every week. They do not have a marketing budget that rivals any other retailer for sure. Sounds great so far eh?
And yet they are extremely busy, have an extremely loyal consumer base, and they have a nice average ring – trust me – I sometimes stand back and just watch! People fill their baskets with a variety of categories in a store that should really be just a convenience shop. No-one should be shopping here and filling the basket with more than 5 or 6 items when there is a Wal Mart, Real Canadian Superstore, Safeway and PriceSmart within 1 ½ kilometers of this store; and yet…
So what do they do well, and maybe even better than any of these others that gives them this amazing ability to convert; and believe me, they convert!
They do a lot of little things really well.
The store is small and packed with people and product, and yet you can maneuver. Pretty key if you want patrons to buy more – don’t make it hard for them to shop. Now that is not to say they are not jammed with stuff all over the place, floor stacks everywhere. What they do well is putting things close to other things that you may need. Floorstack of tomatoes, by a floorstack of tomato paste, by the bins stacked with dry pasta. The stack of jarred artichokes, next to the stack of the jarred eggplant, next to the stack of breadsticks right in the front of the deli. And on and on it goes. Want to convert people easily, make it easy to find stuff that works together. Adjacencies are important.
The store is well signed and I swear I have never had to ask anyone what the price of an item is. They have signs on everything, and/or in this environment, everything is ticketed. Either way, I know what I am paying on every item before I get the front. Want to convert people, make it easy for them to know how much each item is worth; never let them guess as to what they might pay as most will put items down if they don’t know how much it is. Make someone work at trying to give you money, and guess what, they wont!
Finally, they are really nice people. They are friendly and approachable throughout the store, right up to and including the checkouts. And even at the front checkouts, as you wait in line, there is still last minute stuff for you to buy at great deals – and I mean great deals at the front checkouts – because, no matter how big the basket, you can always find room for a great deal. Always!
This is how a little corner grocer who should grab probably no more than $500 of my yearly food budget ($10 a week), seems to grab probably 5 times that! What they do very well and is probably the most crucial thing to understand in retail conversion, they don’t try and spend a tonne of dollars in getting new customers, they spend a lot of time and effort making sure they hang on to the loyal bunch they have. And they have a loyal bunch.
You want to make more money as a retailer without breaking the bank tying to get a whole bunch of new customers into your stores? Work on converting more of the customers that you have in your stores now. Display, signage, adjacencies, friendly staff and making sure you make it easy for her to move in and out of your store and get you what she wants.
Customers spending more money in your stores and telling more people about it.
Not rocket science – just good retailing.
Ciao for now @kootenayborn