A view of the industry through the
eyes of independent and chain retailers.
50 Ideas To Increase Store Sales!
Basic, simple, and effective.
by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender (August 2, 2010)
(Editor's Note: Meetings & Conventions
magazine took a survey of meeting planners asking them to name their
favorite speakers/keynote presenters – and Kizer & Bender make the
list, along with such luminaries as Dr. Stephen R. Covey, Mike Ditka,
Bill Gates, Rudy Giuliani, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jay Leno, Colin
Powell, and others.)
It’s a busy retail world out
there – every competitor wishes they had more customers. Actually,
they wish they had YOUR customers. Keep competitors at bay and
thrilling your customers with these easy-to-implement,
customer-pleasing, traffic-building, sales-increasing ideas!
On the Sales Floor …
The customer’s first 10 seconds inside the store sets the tone for
their entire shopping trip. What kind of first impression does yours
give? Check it daily.
Hang a bulletin board near your Decompression Zone (the first 5-15’
inside your front door). Post a store map, a list of this week’s
sale items, Bag Stuffers, class calendar, special events, and other
important information. In time, customers will stop at the bulletin
board first to see what’s going on in the store.
Place Speed Bumps – small tabletop displays of product just beyond
your Decompression Zone. Make these displays irresistible and easy
to shop: customers are far more likely to buy if they are encouraged
to pick up the product.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires store aisles to be a
minimum of 3.6’. Could a wheelchair bound customer easily maneuver
your aisles? Can two customers comfortably shop in the same aisle?
Set your end features to sell! End features are meant to display
promotional items; not to house everyday, basic merchandise. You
need to plan what will go on your end features, so assign each one a
number, and make a list of product each end feature will house each
month. Take this calendar with you to trade shows and look for
merchandise specials specifically for your end features.
Studies show that customers will spend 25% more in dollars, and up
to 15 minutes longer in the store when they shop with a cart. Even
if your store is tiny you can still offer customers a shopping cart.
Visit BigBasketCo.com and check out their Basket Carts – they’re no
wider that a typical shopping basket, but they sure help sell
Do not house shopping carts and/or baskets in the Decompression Zone
because customers will walk right by them. Instead, place them just
past the DZ and in key locations throughout the store. Instruct
associates to get a cart or basket for customers carrying product –
once their hands are full they tend to stop shopping.
Implement a signing program. Signs serve a purpose – they act as
silent sales people, helping customers until a real person is
available to help. And unless handwritten signing is part of your
store décor, don’t do it. Professional sign making software is
available from a variety of suppliers, including Insignia Systems,
Check Out the Checkouts
The wall directly behind your checkout counter is major selling
space! Use it to display new items, hot buys, and impulse product.
Policy signing must be professionally done. Nuke the “No! No! No’s!”
Write your policy signing in a positive voice: “We gladly accept
returns and exchanges within _________ days. Your receipt guarantees
Increase sales at the checkout with impulse item displays – your
female customers can’t resist them!
Instruct associates not to hang out behind the checkout counter
unless they are helping a customer. And when they are assigned the
job of cashier, have them work on a project in-between customers.
Save the sale! Keep a stash of items that customers frequently
forget at each checkout counter. Then when a shopper says, “I forgot
to get __________. I’ll get it next time.”, the cashier can reach
under the counter and hand the customer that item. Cashiers can be
your best add-on sales associates!
Make sure that your store is open when your customers need to shop.
This means before and after work, nights, and Sundays.
Decide how you want the telephone to be answered, and then let every
associate know that’s the plan. The phone must be answered within
three rings; customers are “connected,” not “transferred”; customers
are asked before being placed on-hold; and no one stays on-hold
longer than 45 seconds.
Cross merchandise whenever and wherever possible. Visit
SouthernImperial.com for J-hooks, clip strips, power panels, and
other inexpensive fixtures designed to help you sell more product.
Assign Category Captains. Their job includes making sure the shelves
are full, the shelf space is optimized to avoid out of stocks, and
that top sellers have been given enough facings.
Control your back stock. Make sure the product you are about to
order is not already in your back room.
Create a “Never Out” Item List. Category Captains can check this
list daily, and re-order product as necessary.
Every item on your sales floor must be assigned a “home” that is
identified with a bin ticket. If you do not use bin tickets your
stock will not be organized and product could end up in several
Ditch the dogs! Add a “sell by” date to price tags and bin tickets
and markdown as necessary. Move product with special sales, grab
bags, store-created kits, and “Last Chance” clearance dump displays.
Your “Things to Do” List
Do our 360 Degree Pass-By every, single day. Begin at the front door
and walk the entire store – every aisle, nook, cranny, restroom, and
service area. Note things that need to be attended to before the
store opens for the day.
Are your windows set to sell? Window displays need to be refreshed
as necessary and set to a new theme on a monthly basis.
Each morning create a Store Opening Checklist that outlines tasks
that must be completed by the day crew.
Each afternoon create out a Store Closing Checklist. These are the
things the closing team must accomplish before they leave for the
Set a daily sales quota for each person working that day. If it’s
not written down, it’s not a goal. Your people will perform better
if they know what’s expected of them.
Make time each day to quietly observe your customers. This daily
exercise will help you come up with new ways to amp up the customer
Host one MAJOR in-store event and two or three MINOR in-store events
each month. Major events fill the store with shoppers; minor events
limit the amount of participants. Think demos and classes.
Hold a New Hire Orientation for each new associate. Let them know
what’s expected and give them an assignment they can easily
accomplish on the first day – this will boost their on the job
Implement our “7-Tile Rule™": Each time an associate comes within
seven floor tiles – that’s seven feet – of a customer they must
acknowledge that customer.
Don’t react to customer questions. Respond. When you react you tend
to give a short, unfocused answer. But when you respond to a
customer, you look them in the eye and really engage them in
Associates must also do a daily 360 Degree Pass-By. They need to
know the products they sell, and where they are located in the
store. Associates must also memorize the prices and locations of key
Unless the customer looks like they need help ASAP, never ask, “May
I help you?” Talk about the customer’s kids, the weather, or local
news – the best opening lines have nothing to do with the store.
Schmooze a little before you talk about product.
Have associates carry product you don’t want customers to miss (or
that you just can’t seem to move). After a little schmoose time, the
associate can talk with the customer about the item.
Encourage every associate to practice add-on selling; the goal is to
sell the primary item, plus
Ethically adding on to the sale actually strengthens customer
relationships because it saves them time and money. If they forget a
key item, and have to come back, they aren’t going to be very happy
Do a monthly add-on selling exercise. Hold up an item and ask
associates to shout out complementary items they could add on to the
original item. If they can’t come up with a complementary add-on,
they can always suggest a sale or value-priced item.
Each month ask associates to write three things they could do to
exceed customer expectations. Implement their suggestions.
Reward associates when they do a good job. Programs like “Associate
of the Month” and “Super Star of the Week” are great motivators IF
they are well run. Have associates nominate one another and vote for
Be flexible with scheduling. According to a recent survey, 61% of
working women would leave their current jobs if they were offered
more flexible hours elsewhere.
Offer on-going education. Hold monthly in-store training classes,
keep a library of books and DVDS, and ask vendors what they have
available to help train your team.
Two words: Dress code. Every associate should be properly dressed to
meet your customers. Even when you provide garments, you still must
be very specific about what is acceptable to wear to work and what
Build a buzz about town
Pick an email marketing company and send out monthly email blasts.
Send your blasts on the same day each month and customers will look
forward to receiving them. We like EmailContact.com because it
offers lots of templates, it’s easy to use, and live help is always
available. Add a “Forward to Your Friend” link to every promotional
and marketing email message you send to customers.
Use free social medias, like Facebook and Twitter, to your
advantage. Remember it’s SOCIAL media, a conversation, so answer as
many friend/fan/follower comments as you can. If all you do is sell,
sell, sell you won’t have friends, fans, or followers for very long.
And don’t abandon your account – once you sign up commit at least 30
minutes a day to updates.
Create a weekly Bag Stuffer and hand one to every single shopper. DO
NOT pre-stuff them in your bags – they never get read if you do
that! Some weeks use your Bag Stuffers to advertise specific product
or events; other times create a monthly calendar that’s loaded with
Make a list of all the services and conveniences you provide and
build a “Brag Sheet.” Print it on the back of your weekly Bag
Stuffer and add it to your website and e-mail blasts. You can also
turn it into a big sign to hang near the checkout counter. Soon
you’ll begin to hear, “I didn’t know you did that!”
Watch QVC and HSN and the infomercials on television. Each time they
feature a product that you sell, hang "Same As Seen on TV!" signs
over that product in your store.
Make your own “radio” advertising campaign. Play it over the
intercom system and it use it as your telephone on-hold message.
Contact local media and pitch stories about your store, product
lines, services, in-store events and promotions, charity events,
your people, trips to trade shows, and more. Eighty percent of the
stories in local media come from a press release, so send one for
each legitimately newsworthy thing you do in your store.
Contact your trade associations and ask to be put on their Reporter
Referral List. Who knows? You just might end up on national TV!
Collect customer testimonials and add them to your e-mail blasts,
newsletters, website, and other marketing materials. Customer quotes
are also great additions to your in-store signing program. A
customer testimonial is 10–20 times more powerful than what you have
to say about yourself!
Send an e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org and put “50 Things” in the subject line,
and we’ll send you the forms mentioned in this article, plus
additional customizable templates and employee motivational tools to
help you stimulate store sales!
To read previous columns, click on the titles in the right-hand
KIZER & BENDER Speaking!
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