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How To Increase Units Per Transaction (UPT)

raise UPTYour success as a retailer depends on increasing your units per transaction (UPT)  and conversion rates. The only way to do that is creating customer relationships.

Those customer relationships turn browsers into buyers, and buyers into repeat customers. You know that, right?

Well as important as they are, many retailers entrust their customer relations to a sales staff without any training.

I hope that’s not you…

Your sales force is the first point of contact a customer will have with your retail business.

It used to be you could hire people with selling skills.

It used to be being a salesperson wasn’t a bad thing.

It used to be retailers had extensive training departments that drilled UPT.

That’s not now.

No matter your size, are you giving your employees the tools they need to build real relationships that can increase units out the door?

More than mediocrity

Let’s be honest, regardless of their past experience or on-the-job training, few salespeople will provide your customers with a bad experience. Sure, they might not be the most engaged, but most can ring someone up and not be offensive.

The problem is that, without the proper retail training, few of them will provide customers with an exceptional experience.

And in a world of mediocrity, only exceptional will pay the bills.

In my experience, it’s not that the employees want to be mediocre; they just don’t have the skills or training to know what is important.  They clean when they should be helping customers.

A customer who is enjoying their experience in your brick and mortar store is easier to upsell and more likely to buy add-ons. That’s what raises your UPT – not promotions and discounts that might increase UPT but destroy profitability or average check.

Once customers have had a positive experience, they’re also more likely to return to your store for future purchases. Again, these positive sales experiences all hinge on your salespeople being able to build solid customer relationships built on authenticity. Your goal is for them to be a trusted advisor in the selling process.

That doesn’t come naturally. If it did, retail across the board from the dingiest mom and pop to the cutting edge fashion brand would all be rockin’ right now and clearly that’s not happening.

Putting the Person back in salesperson

If you ask the average customer what they think of salespeople, you’re likely to get one of two answers: too pushy or totally absent. This isn’t because salespeople are bad people; it’s because they haven’t been properly trained. Their hit-or-miss results are from them following their instincts; relying on their guts when dealing with your customers.

And frankly, if their instincts and guts were that reliable, they’d probably have their own business.

Retail sales training can teach salespeople every step of the sales process-beginning with approaching and engaging the customer in a genuine, human manner. Once the salesperson connects with the customer, they can use the rapport they built to start selling your merchandise. And a customer who is having an exceptional experience is less likely to try and haggle over price.

A New Threat

Recently Best Buy announced they would be shipping online orders directly from their stores making each a mini-distribution area.  As I said on RetailWire, one more distraction to place on the employees supposedly there to help the customers who put down their iPad, drove past a host of competitors, through traffic, in the heat, cold or rain and walked in their doors.

It’s all about focus. Continue to look away from the people in your organization, the more customers will look away from your brick and mortar stores.

Continue to pile chore after chore on your employees and their people skills will continue to atrophy.

But there is hope…

Learning to do it right

Sales isn’t an art, it’s a science. A salesperson learns the basics, tries their new skills in a positive environment and continually works to tweak and develop their own authentic style.

That involves psychology and a host of other skills that can’t be learned from a book or three-ring binder full of faded and messy training materials. Online retail sales training gives your entire sales crew the skills they need to turn boring shopping trips into great ones.

Retail sales training doesn’t happen in a vacuum and can’t be accomplished overnight. It takes time and effort to absorb, implement and properly execute the information. My interactive online retail sales training offers a convenient way for you to provide the necessary retail sales training for your employees, without disrupting your day-to-day operations.

Get your retail sales training right and you won’t be asking, “How can we raise UPT?” but rather, “How high is up?”






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Posted by Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor on July 11, 2013.

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4 Responses to “How To Increase Units Per Transaction (UPT)”

  1. Jamie says:

    Great article. As a new brand, we have found acceptance nationwide and now even globally, mostly pertaining to our sales skills. We are fond believers that you buy the person first, and then the product. No one will waste their time if they don’t like the person selling. It could be the best product in the world, but if the wrong person is selling it, they won’t even bother. As you mentioned, there must be a connection first.

  2. Amber says:

    Great insight! I recently had a terrible after-sale experience with ikea. Thru this incident, I spoke to more than a dozen employees of ikea in hoping to achieve the satisfaction of a very simple mistake that was created entirely on their part. Unfortunately, I discovered it’s not them, it’s ikea, they have serious flaws in their after-sales and customer service training programs. Their behaviors mirror what you described as “chore”,vs “enthusiasm”,you can sense their constant discontent and frustration in their line of work being placed in many roles and pulled in many directions, but lack of organization and real focus, which is – the customer, retention or new business generation. I would suggest you to approach them and put some real “customer- oriented” sense into their corporate mind.

    • Thanks Amber! And yes, customers are noticing your lack of training retailers. Why are the billions being spent on more “omnichannel” and technological shiny objects while the customer experience is left to languish?