Get to know your customers and how they behave

In retail, most of us want to spend our time primping up our stores hoping to bring in new customers to increase our business. We use attractive advertising displays, sales, coupons, television and direct  campaigns, however statistically our best revenue is realized from our current customers. It is our loyal customers who often bring in 80% of our sales even though they may only represent 20% of our customer base.

It is most important to treat our loyal customers with the best service possible, and that includes the personal touch. Starbucks does it with baristas who most often remember what their loyal customers drink, even though the customer might not have been in the store for months. Loyal customers can be rewarded with emails, special discounts not available to the general public, and special private sales inviting loyal customers in to participate a day earlier than the  general sales to the public.

The next segment of customers includes those who shop at your store only when there are sales offered. These customers do shop a lot and quite often, and help to keep inventory fresh because they keep it moving. Chances are that people who shop exclusively for sales may not become loyal customers, but if something catches their eye, they may be coming into your store regularly to check when that merchandise may go on sale and bring a friend; hence another possible customer.

People who are specifically out to purchase something in particular can become loyal customers. For instance, back to school means selecting fashionable and possibly budget minded apparel for children. Catch the attention of the child or teenager and gain a new loyal customer, but those  same people who are shopping for something specific will walk out if they don’t see what they want. It’s also a challenge appealing to the people who have a particular need because they are apt to shop on the internet. It becomes even more important to provide exceptional in store personal service to ensure their return the next time they are in need of school clothes. Using the same example, a large selection of sizes, colors, styles and a staff to provide personal shopping comforts can make the difference.

Shoppers who buy on impulse are among the favorite kind of customers because they usually don’t pay attention to budgets and buy what interests them. That could be influenced by   flashy displays and trendy stock. With impulse buyers it’s very much about the presentation.

And finally, there are the general mall customers who have no specific need in mind, but like to window shop and rarely buy anything, however they might bring a friend along the next time, and a friendly greeting and remembering a name just might bring in a new customer as well as recommendations.

photo credit: alancleaver_2000