Retail Consultant Tip: How To Create the Joy of Shopping

By Bob Phibbs

iStock_1500647_SMALL-records.jpgOne of my favorite songs growing up was Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway's Where Is the Love? The singer was waiting for someone to leave their lover, which never happened. In essence, after you got all my affection, where's something in return?

I thought about that song as I finished another transaction in a store that made me feel worse after paying for it. The song seemed a perfect metaphor for most shopping experiences: where is the love?

Think of a time in the past and how great it felt to buy an outfit and have a salesperson tell you how good you look, or the color brought out your eyes or it made you look taller. (If you're doing it, suspend your cynicism.)

Or if when you purchased a new car, how they would compliment your choice and tell you that you would be the envy of the neighbors. Or if you purchased a gift how much joy it would bring to the recipient.

Remember the joy we had in discovering a new album or CD in a store because of an enthusiastic employee said, "You're going to love this!" And when we purchased it they went out of their way to say, "Let me know how you like it."

All of that is gone. "Next," "Credit or Debit?" and silence have become the norm.

Where is the joy of shopping?

If you run an independent toy store, hire people who genuinely enjoy and are curious about other people. It is important to hear how the toy will be used, not stock a shelf.

If you run a window coverings store, hire people who genuinely enjoy seeing the finished product and would move heaven and earth to be there at the end of the installation, not in the office drinking lukewarm lattes.

If you run a restaurant, hire people who genuinely enjoy hearing about how customers enjoyed their meal after taking their recommendation. Tips will be higher and turnover less.

Want to really standout gift stores? How about videoing your customers as they select the perfect gift in your store. Next, encourage them to video the recipient unwrapping the gift and emailing the video back to you. Then combine them to make a video for your website, email newsletter and FaceBook fan page. You will have captured the joy of finding the perfect gift and the joy of receiving the perfect gift at your store.

You could do something similar for virtually any retail store.

See also, 10 Retail Selling Tips

In Sum

Discover the ways to share in the joy of shopping and you'll have customers wanting to sign up as FaceBook fans and your email lists as you grow your retail sales.

Continue to kill the shopping experience with Bitter Betty at your register and you're going to have one of the worst holidays ever. Then you won't be singing anything but the blues.

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