With home prices falling in many areas, demand for various items sought after at stores is slowing.
While there are many ways to improve your sales performance, running a sale isn’t the best. It can often be the worst as your best-sellers run out, and you must return to the vendor and pay more to restock.
It is easy to associate increasing sales performance with pushing more products on customers or being overly aggressive with sales tactics. Retail ManagementI is usually fearful of such things and often avoids any hint of being pushy. I never recommend it because that old-school approach turns off customers.
Here are ten ways how to improve sales performance in your retail store
1. Add-Ons are a Great Way to Boost Sales
Many retailers find success by offering additional services or add-ons to their customers. For instance, if you own a clothing store, you can offer free alterations on purchased items, gift wrapping, or personal styling services. If you have a home decor store, you could offer in-home consultations, gift registries, or interior design services. These services provide value to your customers while giving them a reason to return to your store.
One great tip I learned long ago when judging the best jewelry stores in the US was the novel approach by some retailers to invite key customers to bring in their outfits to accessorize. Once you see what the customer has at home, you can add value and suggest additional pieces. This is also a great way to nurture relationships, not just sales.
2. Make the Fitting Room the Focus to Reduce Returns
One of the biggest reasons for returns when buying apparel or footwear is that the item didn't fit well. You can reduce the number of returns by training your staff that the goal is to get them to try on the item, not just hold it up or look in a digital mirror.
3. Be Generous with Your Return Policy
A generous return policy can create customer goodwill and build trust in your brand. Not only does this increase loyalty, but can also encourage more sales, even while some questionable items might be returned. Notice that many shoppers ask, “What is your return policy?” They simply won't purchase if it is narrow or store credit only. Customers buy when they feel confident that they can return the merchandise.
4. Add QR Codes to Your Front Windows
A great way to attract customers to your store is by adding QR codes to your front windows. These codes can lead the customers to your website or social media, where you can showcase the merchandise displayed. It's also an excellent way to attract customers who prefer to shop online.
5. Hold Weekly Sales Meetings to Go Over Sales Team Performance
Holding weekly sales meetings can help you track your sales team's performance, identify areas for improvement, and share best practices. We used to have these on Saturday mornings, but that can be tough with many part-timers. Enter Zoom or Microsoft Teams. These meetings can be used to set goals for the week or month and strategize for upcoming events or promotions. It's also an opportunity for team members to share successes and lessons learned. I like to end these with a 5-minute timed contest between pairs of employees to build the biggest add-on sale. After they collect their products, they must explain how they got there and the relationships to the products.
6. Do Role Play with Your Employees
Role-playing can help your employees master their sales techniques. No one hears or sees something once and then does it. You need to practice whatever you've taught to build confidence. These activities can simulate real-life scenarios your team might encounter in the store or just a piece of the sale, like greeting a customer or comparing and contrasting. The key to effective role-play with team members is to be clear on what you are practicing and not just say, “I’m the customer, and you’re the salesperson. Go!” to help them overcome objections, learn new selling techniques, and improve their communication skills.
7. Display Signage Promoting Special Offers
A well-designed and strategically placed sign promoting a weekly special offer can grab customers' attention and drive sales. A weekly product line or brand sale also gives your employees something new to speak about on the sales floor. If they don’t know much about the merchandise, it gives your trainers something new to train. Display signs that showcase your specials and show the amount they are saving. This can encourage customers to make impulse purchases for lower-priced items and encourage them to return in hopes of discovering future promotions.
8. Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
Encouraging customers to leave positive Google reviews can help drive more foot traffic to your store. But you must be proactive and send that link via text or email. Don’t just ask; make it easy for them: Go here (link,) select five stars, and give us one line about why you enjoyed shopping with us. Positive reviews from happy customers can be a powerful way to attract new customers and build customer loyalty while minimizing the occasional one-star review. Encourage customers to leave a review and add your link to the receipt or shopping bag. The key is to make it easy for them.
9. Train Your Employees to Provide Excellent Customer Service
Training your employees to provide excellent customer service can make all the difference in improving sales performance. Notice I said excellent, not the shopper asked, and we took them to the aisle. Ensure your retail team is well-versed in your merchandise, knowledgeable about your return policies, and knows how to handle customer complaints without contacting the manager. Ensure your team feels empowered, supported, and invested in the success of your store.
10. Offering Additional Services
Another way to improve sales performance is to offer additional services that customers may find useful. This could include alterations, personal shopping services, consulting, or in-home setup.
By offering these additional services, you're not only providing added value to your customers, but you're also differentiating yourself from competitors. Customers in 2023 who can afford the “just do it for me” service are willing to pay if they know you offer it. Consider the frame store that, for $75, will come to your house and hang the picture perfectly or the computer techs who will come to your house and set everything up. Customers are more likely to return to your store if they know you can make things easier.
Improving sales performance in stores doesn't have to be complicated. By focusing on add-on sales, offering additional services, reducing returns, embracing online shopping, and investing in your team's training and development, you can help drive sales and keep your customers happy.