5 Employee Behaviors Stunting Your Ability To Increase Conversion Rates In Your Retail Store

By Bob Phibbs

bad employee behaviorsWhile a lot of people moan about fewer people going to the mall, what really matters is your conversion rate of those who just enter your shop compared to those who enter and actually buy.

You can’t control the tariffs, the news, or the weather. but you can control your four walls.

Recently a friend of mine shared this story about walking into a Starbucks in Houston. “After not being greeted in any way, I ordered a cappuccino. The Barista looked at me and in a condescending tone said, "You know that's the one with lots of foam, right?”

I said, "Uhm, yeah. A cappuccino has foam."

The barista replied, "Yeah, but like 50% foam. I can't tell you how many times I have to remake this drink because people don't know that. So, do you actually want a latte? That's what everyone wants."

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I said. "No. I want a cappuccino. I know what a cappuccino is. It was the absolute worst. The first thing he said to me was a snarky accusation that I had no idea what I just ordered.”

That would be the first employee behavior that puts shoppers on guard and limits your conversion rates: a feeling of superiority over the consumer.

Here are four more that might be affecting your conversions of lookers into buyers:

Body odor. While it can be great to bike to work, in the summer especially, that can lead to sweating and, well stinking. Whether it comes from under their armpits, off of their clothing, or out of their mouths, being unaware of personal hygiene is one that can be hard to deal with if you haven’t told them prior about your standards. That’s why every job description I’ve ever crafted covers dress code and contains the words: “Maintain personal hygiene so as not to be offensive to shoppers or other employees.”

Snark or Sarcasm. When you’re around friends, it can be fun to poke fun at each other or roll your eyes. They get you and know it doesn’t mean anything. At work though, between employees on the floor, it can make a shopper feel on guard. If they talk that way about each other, how will they treat me? Much like the body odor, the best time to nip this in the bud is during onboarding. After that, the first time you hear snark on the floor, remind them their job is a performance for the shoppers and converted shoppers are the ones who pay their wages.

Desperate followups. When I was purchasing a new car, the dealer didn’t have the model I wanted. I had to give a deposit and wait for three months. A week later, I received five phone messages urging me to come in that day to pick it up. Nowadays you can still annoy people by leaving too many voicemails, texts, or emails. The urgency and repeated outreach gives a sense you need the sale – not the shopper needs the product.

Body language. When I do sales coaching with clients, one of the most common challenges is getting people to notice where their arms are. When your arms are crossed across the body, it says I do not trust you or I’m lying to you. When arms are thrust behind the back, it is a stance of waiting and being unapproachable. The best way to fix this is to look in the mirror throughout the day and check yourself. Arms should be at your sides, back straight but not at attention. And your face should be at least welcoming if not happy.

See also, Retail Shoppers' 50 Pet Peeves About Retail Employees

In Sum

Yes, there are fewer shoppers coming into stores because the browsers are online. That should mean you automatically have higher conversion rates.

When someone does show up to your store, they are motivated to buy. Use these tips to make sure your associates put their best behavior on display so you can convert more lookers to buyers.
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