As a retail salesperson you work very hard to satisfy your customers. This is an important part of establishing them as long term customers who choose to shop at your store rather than at your competitors.
To learn how to steer your success as retailer, the ARA Retail Institute runs multiple workshops on analysing and evaluating ecommerce trends to develop an effective ecommerce strategy for the online sale of products or services.
Ongoing after sales support
Your relationship with the customer should not end once they have made their purchase. In order to stand out from the competition and create a strong lasting impression for the customer, many retail stores will offer different types of after sales services. The main aim is to turn them into repeat customers and ensure they are satisfied with the purchase. For example, most supermarket chains offer a home delivery service which customers can use for a small fee.
To ensure good after sales service, it is essential to take extra care when completing documentation to record customer details. All paperwork must be completed accurately.
After sales service
As the sale concludes this is an excellent time to either introduce, or reinforce the ongoing support that the store provides for the purchase that has just been made. Items that are substantial in nature and expensive merit the mentioning of after sales support that the item has attached to it, or which the store can provide. This is all part of building up and maintaining the relationship that will raise the store’s credibility and maximise the possibility of repeat and referral business. It is after sales involvement that retailers can positively use to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Some common after sales services include:
- Delivery options – Once the customer has purchased their item(s) from you, they may require that the purchase be delivered. The customer may wish the item(s) to be delivered to a number of places. It is vital that you get the delivery specifications right and in place with your customer in order to complete the sale and leave the customer with an excellent last impression.
- Installation and technical support – You may need to organise installation and testing of the product in the customer’s home. This applies mainly to white goods, electrical items, and some furniture. Some items may also require ongoing technical support, either from your company or an external organisation.
- Customer Returns – It is important to advise customers of your store’s policy regarding customer returns. All retail stores must follow Australian laws if an item is faulty. Some retail stores also offer a conditional or even unconditional returns policy.
- Alterations – Some products may require alterations; especially clothing products. Ensure you understand the customer requirements and inform them of any additional cost, who will be carrying out the alterations and how long they will take.
- Gift wrapping – Some retail stores may offer gift wrapping for the customer. This is seen by many customers as a positive because it saves them time and adds to the presentation standards of the product.
- Warranties and guarantees – Many products that you sell may be covered by warranties or guarantees. A warranty or guarantee may become a powerful advertising and marketing tool because it shows that you believe in the products that you sell. It is important that you make your customer fully aware of the fact that a Warranty or Guarantee covers the product that they may be interested in.
Establish and maintain customer records
The more you know about a customer, the easier it is to sell to them. So, it makes sense then that many retail stores will have an established customer database which holds relevant information about their loyal customers.
A customer database is collection of records which is stored in your company’s computer system and used mainly for the purposes of advertising. Some stores may use a manual system for recording their customer details.
The database may include details of the customer’s:
Customer databases are an excellent promotional tool for any business. Databases can be used for a number of reasons such as:
- Advising customers of promotions, sales and special offers
- Sending out product catalogues
- Inviting customers to special events
- Conducting market research
- Letting customers know that new product has arrived.
Stores that have established a customer database need to ensure that all customer details are kept private and confidential. There are laws within Australia that are designed to protect all personal information that is collected. This is called Privacy legislation.
It is in the interests of the store to maintain customer trust; if customers cannot be sure that their information will be confidential, they will be reluctant to provide details for the database.
Maintain contact with loyal customers
The key to running a successful retail store is the ability of the team to establish and maintain a steady base of loyal customers.
It is estimated that some retail stores can make up to 80% of their sales from only 20% of their customers. These customers are very important to your business. Not only can they give great word-of-mouth advertising to their friends, family, and colleagues, they have also proven that they are keen to keep shopping with you.
You can build customer loyalty by keeping in touch with your customers on a regular basis. Ways to maintain contact include:
- Follow them up with regular information or special offers to keep them coming back to the store
- Invite them to ‘special events’
- Offer them better discounts
- Identify their buying patterns in order to target new release and special offer information more effectively
- Send out birthday or Christmas cards
- Contact them after a purchase to check on their satisfaction
- Send out catalogues, price lists and flyers
- Enter them into competitions
There are a variety of different types of customer loyalty schemes used by retail stores. They basically all have the same goal, to reward loyal customers for their repeat business. Rewards may include:
- Free gifts or offers
- Special discounts
- Bonus points
- Exclusive offers
- Store gift voucher
The success of these schemes rest with your efforts to keep your loyal customers informed and interested.
About ARA Retail Institute
ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. For more information, please visit: www.retailinstitute.org.au