As a follow-up to the first part of our monthly suggestive selling series, we’re looking at what you can do to put a suggestive selling strategy in place today. Now that we have a firm understanding of the revenue boosts possible with suggestive selling, it’s time to explore the best ways to go about executing inside the store.
By no means new to retail marketers, suggestive selling has expanded and grown along with the rest of the retail world––especially as new mobile tools are giving customers a way to unite the digital world with physical stores. In addition, developments in point-of-sale displays and personalized shopper profiles have given retailers the ability to predict what a customer will likely be interested in as they walk inside.
Here are four best practice tips to keep in mind when putting together your own suggestive selling plan:
1. Train Employees To Customize Suggestions For The Customer
One of the biggest issues retailers run into when implementing a suggestive selling strategy is employee apprehension when it comes to upselling based on strict rules.
Although guidelines are necessary to keep the experience consistent every time a customer comes to shop, it’s best to introduce a number of different suggestive selling techniques to your employees who can then tailor the experience to the individual.
2. Keep The Strategy Consistent At All Times
Particularly with in-store retail, creating a consistent customer experience is very important given that shoppers will likely interact with different employees each time they enter the store.
If a customer visits the store and is given a product suggestion they appreciate, they’ll likely return later expecting the same experience. Be sure a system is in place to ensure everyone is given the opportunity to receive the same level of service when they come to make a purchase.
3. Be Sure Product Suggestions Are Relevant To The Customer
We’ve all been on the receiving end of a poor upsell. Commonly found in convenience stores or gas stations, employees will frequently stick to a defined script that has nothing to do with what you’re buying or why you’ve come to the store.
Someone refueling their vehicle in a hurry to get to a meeting is most likely not going to be interested in a two-for-one 12-pack of soft drinks, for instance. In fact, taking the extra time to get through the transaction will probably only annoy the customer whose only goal is to get what they need and get where they need to be.
Train in-store employees to make good judgment calls and base their suggestions directly from what the customer intends to buy. In the scenario above, even though the customer fueling his car was in a hurry, he might still appreciate a suggestion discounting his next tank of gas if it will save him money the next time he stops in.
4. Evaluate And Adapt Your Strategy By Discovering What Works Best
While there will always be a period of experimentation when you first execute your suggestive selling plan in the store, it’s important to begin tracking what techniques and products are working better than others so you can adjust and adapt accordingly.
Sometimes more can be learned from what fails than what succeeds, so be sure to pay attention and shift your promotions away from those that aren’t bringing in any revenue. Customer experience evaluations like mystery shopping are a great way to measure the success of a suggestive selling program from the customer’s perspective.
In addition to being a relatively simple way to boost revenue, it’s also measurable. By stepping up your suggestive selling strategy, you’ll be able to calculate revenue gains into the future as more customers leave the store with more items in hand.