Increasing Sales Per Costumer

[gravata]It’s possible to increase business with your existing customers.[/gravata]

For best results, the retailer needs to assess what he currently offers and what could be added to his inventory.

One of the secrets to improving the store’s results is to increase the average amount spent by each customer. This is what experts refer to as increasing the average ticket. If the average purchase is 30 reais per person, raising it to R$33, for example, means having 10% higher revenues without the need to acquire new customers.

Some sales consultants even say that if the customer enters the store and takes home a product, it wasn’t the company that actually sold it, but the customer who bought it. The challenge, according to them, is to sell a second or third product, taking advantage of the fact that the customer is already inside the establishment and so it’s not necessary to attract him.

It’s important to be prepared to use appropriate strategies so that each customer buys more. Getting the attention of anyone who enters the store is necessary so that he sees products that he wasn’t even considering before heading to the store.

Studies show that a large portion of purchases is determined at the point of sale. These are called impulse purchases, which can be stimulated by applying certain techniques.

This happens in various establishments such as supermarkets, where people usually take home many items that weren’t on their shopping list.

To make the customer’s visit more productive, one of the important guidelines for the retailer is to see what can be done regarding the organization of space. Some simple ideas to help the customer feel good in the store and see products he hadn’t yet thought of and that can be very useful:

  • Keep the door as free as possible. There’s no use putting a great deal of things there, since the person will be looking in.
  • Remember that people tend to move looking to the right, keeping their field of vision at an average height, which is where the hands are. Featured products should be exhibited at that height.
  • Place high turnover products in the back of the store, so that customers have to move through the aisles.
  • Do all of this without making the act of purchasing boring. Customers stay longer if they consider the atmosphere cozy. Therefore, don’t force them to go through a maze.

Consultant’s tips

The specialist Renato Romeo, director of SaleSolution – Developing Sales, makes some very important recommendations. The first is to pay particular attention to the assortment, for example, the set of products offered in the store. “It’s necessary to maintain an adequate stock for the customer’s needs and supply diversity”, he affirms.

“The merchant needs to assess what else he can offer the customer: things he normally wouldn’t buy there, but are necessary. A classic example is the butcher who sells charcoal. It’s a product that’s associated with meats and which, when purchased at the same location, facilitates the consumer’s life”, he explains.

In this process, the role of the salespeople and counter sales is essential. They should be motivated and well trained to understand the public’s needs and find the best solutions for each client. Their role should be to guide, showing the usefulness, differentials and relevance of the products. “The sales professional must know the reason why the customer is looking for a particular product. He can’t just give what was asked for or say that he doesn’t have it. The right way is to ask questions, discover needs and explore the possibility of offering complementary products”, suggests Renato Romeo, who is also the author of the book B2B Sales how to negotiate and sell in complex and competitive markets.

To have good performance when using this technique, the attendant needs to remember that all sales contact has 3 phases, which take into account how the customer thinks:

  • Understand, that means understanding the customer’s problem by asking questions;
  • Provide information to the customer (which depends upon the previous phase so that it’s suitable);
  • Encourage the customer’s decision.

One technique that works well is to start by offering products with the best margins or that are more expensive. “In this case, the secret is to observe the customer’s reactions. Depending on the reaction, start showing lower value products. But it’s important to be careful not to judge people by appearances, undervaluing potential customers who are dressed simply or who are ill at ease in the store”, warns Romeo.

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Another interesting technique is called cross selling: selling to the customer something that might complement the product they came to purchase. This is what McDonald’s restaurant attendants always try to do, by offering a sundae or another dessert right after the customer has finished ordering. A variation of this technique is called up selling, which is to sell a product that’s above what the customer initially wanted (in terms of features, benefits and price). It’s the case, for example, of someone who enters a building materials store to buy the cheapest paint and is convinced by the salesperson to purchase a superior product that will provide them with a better result.

The power of communication can’t be forgotten. The customer needs to be stimulated and informed about the good things your store has for them. Use email, social networks and other resources to show news and highlight some products. Inside the store, banners and posters in strategic locations also help the customer notice additional items.

Necessary cautions

Renato Romeo alerts retailers to beware of actions that can increase the average ticket, but represent additional cost or margin reduction. This is the case of discounts or offering free shipping depending on a certain purchase amount. “Before taking such measures, it’s necessary to make the calculations well and assess whether it’s worthwhile”, he says.

Another practice to be avoided is “pushing” products. Insisting too much, trying to make the customer take home something he doesn’t want, this brings bad results in terms of store image and future sales. Whoever does this runs the risk of annoying the customer and, worse than that, makes them choose a competitor for their purchases.

“It’s not necessary to resort to such actions. Customers will buy more in your store if they visualize complementary products or services and, especially, if their needs are understood and they feel that you’re trying to help them and not just trying to close a deal”, says the consultant Romeo.

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