Retail Marketing Tip: Care About The Customer Pass-Off

By Bob Phibbs

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Where do you think retail marketing starts? No, not a coupon or your website. It's by showing how much care you give at the end of a sale.

In my work with window fashions dealers, I always suggested they leave a bouquet of flowers on the table after they had thoroughly cleaned up their work areas and cleaned the window glass. [Not an $85 bouquet of roses mind you, a $9.99 bunch from the local florist or even grocery store.]

Why?

It was unexpected and a nice touch to make their purchase a wow. It helped cement the manner the dealer went out of their way for the customer. That led to many more referrals - the best type of marketing you can do.

As a customer, have you noticed that when you purchase most anything anymore, the care given it is one step up from something you'd find at some discounter?

Disheveled. Discarded. Damaged.

The last impression customers have from your brick and mortar business isn't your fancy fixtures, trendy threads or fabulous flooring - its their purchase.

Case in point...

I purchased a couple shirts at Zara a few weeks back. They were nearly $75 each - for flannel.

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The care this young woman put into folding made them look like rags, not riches.

Contrast that to my purchase at a store next door where they buttoned each button of the shirt, folded it, then covered all three in tissue paper before carefully placing in their generous-sized bag.

Which store would you feel better about having spent your hard earned money with?

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Exactly.

Why is that?

It's because when customers get your products home its like they become a child again unwrapping a gift.

So why is it that the pass-off of the merchandise to the customer is the least important thing for most stores while their cashiers can judiciously make you show your license and verify signature on the back of a credit card? Because they don't see the value.

But I assure you your customers do... here are my suggestions how to show you care about your merchandise before it leaves your store:

  • shoe store selling tipsIf you are a shoe store, train the employee to re-stuff the shoes, place the first shoe arch side down, recover with the tissue, then the divider, then the other shoe.
  • If you are an apparel store, re-button the top button and at least the middle button, using your ring ringers grab the shirt fully open and fold the sleeves in as you fold it back onto itself - you don't need a folding board.
  • If you are a dress or suit store, hang the garment in your stores' logo'd garment bag and place your business card in the see-thru pocket.
  • If you are a lumber yard, building supply or other business where customers - even if they are contractors - have something loaded on their truck. Have a dress code of some type, a hygiene code and a script: "Thanks for shopping with us today. If you have any questions, here is our card, just call and thanks for your business."
  • If you are a toy store, loosely place a small piece of your gift wrap over the box or item in the bag so the child - or adult - still has a sense of anticipation.
  • If you are a hotel, ask the customer where they are off to and hand them a free bottle of water for the journey with an invitation to return.
  • If you are a restaurant, give them a tip how to heat up the leftovers, not just stick 'em in the styrofoam box.

In Sum

It's a competitive world out there. You need a careful employee during the pass off to the customer - one who give an "I care" attitude, instead of a "Who cares?"

The pass-off or delivery are the forgotten details in retail that help people rave and help do your marketing for your store or service.  Use these tips to finish the sale properly.

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