As it appeared in the Daily Nation of December 9th 2014
December is a unique month in retail. For many in Kenya, it is a time to make the annual grocery shopping for the holiday celebrations, for others it is a time to shop for gift items, for a few, shopping is the best way to make use of the 13th salary. Numerous retail customer interactions happen in December. Year in year out, the holiday shopping and spending has increased; December is almost always a shopping frenzy. A majority of the shopping still happens in physical stores with the shopping in online stores growing steadily. What is it that retailers can do differently to amaze their customers this December? Today I share 4 of my top retail tips that would help retailers amaze their customers and win them for life.
First is that every retailer whether running a physical or online store needs to prepare well in advance. December is not the month to run out of stock or to have unmanned tills. Many smart retails not only open longer hours to cater for the increased volume of shoppers but also ensure that they have enough stock, change and adequate staff. If you are in retail business, have you prepared well enough or will your customer experience have a dip because of the many shoppers?
If a celebrity walked into your retail store, would you treat her/him in a special way and give your undivided attention? A celebrity may not notice but your regular customer will. December brings with it the festive mood. It is a perfect time for all retail staff to treat customers in a special way and to spread the holiday cheer during every customer interaction. This December consider treating each customer like they were the most important customer and give them your undivided attention.
During the holiday season, customers’ emotions may run very high in case of a service failure. Every smart retailer must take good care of any unhappy customers. December is not the time for retail managers to go on leave or to stay in the back office. It is time for the managers to lead from the front and deal with any service failures on the spot. For example any customers waiting too long on line need not only to be acknowledged but to be informed of what is being done to fast track the check-out. How many store managers would be willing to check-out customers on an extra till to ease the queues?
The end of the year is a great time to appreciate your customers so that they can think of you in coming days. Many malls run a holiday shopping campaign. As a retailer plan to surprise the customers with random gifts or have special offers to say thank you.
Holding on to the holiday shoppers for a lifetime takes effort. If you are a smart retailer, aim to not only meet but exceed your customers’ expectations, work harder, care more and show a genuine interest to make your customers happy and they will reward your effort. They will not only say something positive about their experience but they will most likely come back.
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org/old or via twitter @kiruthulucy