A view of the industry through the
eyes of independent and chain retailers.
42 Great Ideas To "Wow" Your
for your store and staff.
by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender (May 21, 2012)
We live in an
instant gratification world -- we all want it now. We're all
time-starved, with too many things on our "to do" lists. You want to
improve your store, you need to improve your store, it's just that
you're so busy. We understand. That's why we're going to help you
keep it simple with our 42 Great Ideas to WOW Your Customers. Why
42? Because most people expect a nice round number, so we decided to
throw you a curve ball. So, print this article and put it in a
place where you'll be sure to see it every morning, and get ready to
Begins with the Boss
Walk through the store each day before you open for business. Take a
pad of paper and a pen and note what needs to be fixed before you
Schedule yourself to work at the customer service counter, checkout
counter, stock shelves, and clean the bathrooms. Once a month is
okay, once a week is better.
Spend a day a month personally conducting exit interviews to find
out why customers leave your store empty handed.
Make sure that all associates look and act like professionals.
Write, explain, and reinforce your dress code policy. No more sloppy
jeans or visible undergarments, thank you very much.
Continue your education. Attend the business seminars offered at
each of the other trade shows you go to each year. Become a graduate
of the "In Your Car College of Business Knowledge": pick up CDs of
the classes you miss, and listen to them on your way to work.
Outside, Looking In
Check the bulbs in your exterior signage every day to make sure all
are in working order.
The store front needs to sparkle and sizzle with excitement! Windows
need to be clean. Window displays, and/or product visible through
the windows should be exciting to look at, and well merchandised.
If you have an outside entrance, considering adding a ramp to the
front of your store. Disabled customers and parents with strollers
will be eternally grateful.
Station a Greeter, ala Wal-Mart, at the front of your store on busy
days. The mere presence of the greeter will delight most customers.
The greeter can offer a cart or a basket, or tell customers about
in-store goings-on they wonít want to miss.
In America, 99% of customers enter a store and turn to the right.
This makes the area just inside the store, and to the right, an
important merchandising area. The wall at the front right is key as
well, itís called a Power Wall. Use this highly visible space to
showcase new items; tell product stories; and to display
high-demand, high-profit items.
Place Merchandise Outposts -- displays of product near the aisles --
to entice customers to pick up product on impulse. Use Outposts
throughout your store to cross merchandise; to introduce new
merchandise; and to feature highly profitable merchandise.
Create a monthly End Feature Planning Calendar. End features are
high impulse areas that need to be merchandised with current items
that are related to adjacent merchandise. They must also be
well-signed. NEVER use an end feature as a miscellaneous catch-all.
Even if your sales floor is on the small side, consider investing in
a few shopping carts. Keep your carts clean and in good repair. When
itís raining or snowing, dry them off before allowing customers to
use them. Clean the carts in front of customers -- it reminds them
that the little things are important to you.
If you see a customer trying to shop with her hands full of
merchandise, get her a cart or a basket ASAP! Customers will spend
25% more, and stay in the store up to 15 minutes longer, when they
can shop "hands free."
Enlarge the font size on signing, and on price tickets, so customers
can easily read them.
Place a basket of reading glasses in a variety of magnifications at
your checkout and service counters so customers who forget their
glasses can shop with ease.
Offer free call-in service to answer customers' questions about your
product and services. Advertise it -- make it a big deal!
Continuously let customers know you are there to help them when they
Take your store blueprint (or create one on your computer if you
donít have one) to a copy shop and blow it up to poster size. Make
several copies, and place them in sign holders near the front door,
and in key places throughout the store.
Hang ads, coupons, circulars or catalogs on a bulletin board, or in
a sign holder, near the front of the store for customers who may
have missed them. Have extra copies on hand for customers to take
with them while they shop.
Make a list of this weeks' sale and/or "not-to-be-missed" items and
place the list in brochure holders throughout the store. Keep copies
at each checkout counter as well.
If you run a coupon sale, make sure you have extras at each checkout
for customers who donít have them. You want to lose a customer? Tell
her she can't have the coupon everyone else has.
Hold daily meetings so that associates know what's going on in the
store. If you can't do a meeting, then make a daily "Pre-Opening
Checklist" of things associates need to know and place it in the
lounge or post it near the time clock.
Answer the telephone within three rings. And have a specific store
greeting everyone must use.
Keep the checkout counter, and the area behind it, clean and neat at
all times. If you have a sign that reads "Ring bell for service,"
add one word to make it customer-friendly: "Ring bell for quicker
The associates working the checkout counters must be the happiest,
and most eager-to-help people that you have on your team. How they
handle the transaction often determines what customers tell their
friends about your store.
Make greeting every customer a non-negotiable store policy.
Acknowledge every customer you see in the store -- if you come
within seven floor tiles (7') of a customer you'd better smile and
Always apologize if the store has made a mistake, has inconvenienced
a customer, or if a product is defective. Even if it's not your
fault. Then fix the problem. The customer will remember that her
problem -- and her feelings -- were important to you.
Personally respond to every customer who takes the time to offer a
suggestion to help the store, or to complain about something that
they didn't like.
29. Offer "Curb
Service" for those customers who cannot easily leave their cars.
Customers call in advance, you handle the transaction over the
telephone, and when the customer pulls up, you take the product out
to their car. This is a wonderful service for disabled customers,
elderly customers, and new parents.
Feature your willingness to special order items, and brag about the
speed of delivery.
Offer to check customers' packages while they shop, and offer to
check their coats in the winter.
Keep a basket of umbrellas for customers to use to load their cars
when it's raining.
Your checkout counters must provide enough space for customers to
comfortably complete their transaction. Do yours offer enough space
for merchandise and the customer's personal items?
Stock your checkouts with fun items customers will pick up on
impulse; inexpensive child-safe toys mom can buy to keep the kids
quiet; and those items customers most frequently forget.
The space behind your checkouts
is selling space. Create displays that keep customers constantly
thinking about the merchandise that you sell in your store.
Detail the regular price as well as sale price on the customerís
Turn the cash register screen around so customers can see it.
you have a cashier on duty, but no customers waiting on line, have
the cashier stand in front of the counter, waiting to welcome
customers to the checkout. This also puts the cashier in the
position to help place the customer's product on the counter before
ringing the sale.
Create a weekly Bag Stuffer that tells customers about something
important that is -- or will be -- happening in the store. In spite
of the name, do not place them in bags, instead have cashiers
personally hand one to every customer.
Create a Brag Sheet that lists every service and convenience you
offer customers. Include your product lines, specialties, and major
vendors. Add your contact information, hours, and directions to the
store. Offer one to every customer who enters the store or makes a
Create an advertising campaign that you can play over the storeís
intercom system. You can use it when customers are placed on-hold as
Collect customer testimonials for use in all of your advertising,
brochures, and newsletters, on your website, and in-store signing.
To make it even
easier for you to WOW your customers, we have a whole bunch of
templates to help you out. To get yours, simply drop us an email at
email@example.com with the word "WOW" in the subject line, and
get ready to shake things up!
Rich Kizer &
Georganne Bender are professional speakers, retail strategists,
authors and consultants whose client list reads like a ďWhoís
WhoĒ in business. Companies internationally depend upon them for
timely advice on consumers and the changing retail market place.
KIZER & BENDER
recently made Meetings & Conventions Magazine's list of
Meeting Planners Favorite Keynote Speakers; they've also
been named "Two of Retailing's Most Influential People." And with
good reason: Rich and Georganne are experts on generational
diversity, consumer trends, marketing and promotion, and everything
retail. They are widely referred to as consumer anthropologists
because they stalk and study that most elusive of mammals: today's
KIZER & BENDER
are well known for their unique and intensive consumer research. Any
speaker can talk about customers, but Georganne and Rich actually
become them. In addition to yearly focus groups, one-on-one
interviews, and intensive on-site studies, their research includes
posing as every kind of customer you can imagine. And maybe even a
few that you can't! The result of their research is literally
straight from the customersí mouth: solid ground level intelligence
you can use to better serve your own customers.
KIZER & BENDERís
observations are widely featured in the medias, including the ABC
News' special report "How Stores Hook You." Their books Jingle
Bells, Christmas Sells! and Champagne Strategies on a Beer
Budget! have helped thousands improve their bottom line, and
their bylined column, "Georganne & Rich on the Road "was twice
honored with The American Society of Business Publications Editors
Award of Excellence (ASBPE).
Where to find KIZER & BENDER:
103 North 11th Ave., Ste. 206,
St. Charles, Illinois 60174
Phone: 630-513-8020 | 24/7 Mobile: 708-347-2682 Fax: 630-513-8098
COPYRIGHT KIZER & BENDER 2009. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED