Is your retail store turning customers off? According to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index, consumer satisfaction within the retail industry as a whole is declining.
While consumers’ expectations are rising, retailers are cutting budgets, doing less maintenance and laying off staff. But what drives shoppers the craziest (and might be driving them out of your store)?
Here are the 5 deadly sins of retailing.
1. Not enough salespeople: While no one likes to be hounded by sales associates, shoppers do want knowledgeable help when needed. However, in a survey by MindTree, 40 percent of shoppers say they can’t find a sales associate when needed during the typical shopping trip. Staffing adequately is well worth the cost.
- Customers who interact with a sales associate are 43 percent more likely to buy something, 12 percent more likely to become repeat customers, and make purchases with 81 percent more value than those of shoppers who don’t interact with a salesperson.
2. Poor online reviews: Most shoppers (64 percent) check with two or more sources before deciding whether to patronize a business – and at least one of them is likely to be a review site.
If your store has negative online reviews or ratings, 52 percent of shoppers won’t consider visiting, a survey by YP.com reports.
- Make sure your business has a critical mass of reviews (most customers don’t read more than 5 or 6) and that they are primarily positive.
- If you receive a negative review, act quickly to respond and resolve the customer’s concerns.
3. Not providing personalized service: A TimeTrade study estimates failing to provide personalized customer service costs brick-and-mortar retailers $150 billion in potential revenues last year.
As a small retailer, you probably know many of your regular customers by sight. But with the variety of digital loyalty programs available today, why not go one step further?
- Create a frequent shopper program and collect data on what your regular customers buy, how they prefer to pay and what types of promotions get their attention.
- Use this information not only to target your marketing messages, but also to streamline their checkout process.
4. Return hassles: The growth of online shopping has made consumers more comfortable with returning merchandise. In some categories, such as clothing, it’s common for customers to buy items in store, take them home to try on and then return those they don’t want.
- If your return process is complicated or limiting, or salespeople aren’t familiar with how it works, you’ll have problems.
- A smooth return process is especially important if you also sell products online: in a study by Omnico Group, 40 percent of consumers want to be able to return products bought online in a physical store.
5. Inconvenience: Online shopping is on the rise because it’s fast and convenient, and shoppers expect the same from physical retailers.
In a survey from Deloitte, eight of the top 10 factors that keep customers from shopping at a physical store relate to convenience—including “long lines,” “slow checkout” and “inconvenient store hours.”
Anything that slows the shopping process, whether it’s a long checkout line, confusing signage or a struggle to find a salesperson, contributes to customer frustration. All of the previous factors contribute to inconvenience, making it the overwhelming sin your store can commit.
About Rieva Lesonsky:
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.
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