The retail sector is the most complained about industry in the UK, according to research by the Ombudsman Services. In fact, in the last 12 months alone, approximately 18.5 million complaints have been filed against the industry. If you’re a retailer, you might find this statistic worrying, but at least complaints give you the opportunity to right your wrongs. Perhaps a greater cause for concern is the number of people that do not complain when they’re unhappy. Have you ever asked yourself how many of your customers are voting with their feet by failing to return to your store when they’ve been unsatisfied with some aspect of your offering? Although this figure may be difficult to gauge, weeding out simple mistakes can help you to minimise it, improving your chances of attaining loyal customers and increasing profits.
To help you to avoid retail disaster, let’s take a look at two of the most common mistakes made by retail brands.
Neglecting merchandising maintenance
To attract interest and encourage sales, goods must be displayed in a way that allows shoppers to engage with and better understand them. Whether it’s trialling a smartphone, testing a lipstick or trying on a shirt, giving customers the opportunity to interact with the products in your store can make a significant difference to your conversion rates. While many retail brands invest heavily in highly functional and aesthetically appealing merchandising displays, all too often their efforts turn out to be fruitless because they do not pay enough attention to their upkeep.
Maintaining displays may seem like a logistical headache, especially if you stock goods in multiple outlets. In this case, it may be worth engaging a retail display specialist such as CJ Retail Solutions to coordinate the maintenance of your displays. These companies ensure that testers and demonstration products are always in stock, are in good working order and are easily accessible to people on the shop floor. While these tasks may seem small in the overall scheme of your business, neglecting them can have a significant and detrimental impact on your brand’s reputation and your sales figures.
Underestimating the value of customer service
The customer is the foundation upon which your business is built. Neglecting to consider this most vital asset could see your company collapsing around you. Whether you’re choosing products, sourcing suppliers or deciding how to display goods on the shop floor, the customer should be at the forefront of your mind at all times. It’s only right, then, that this prized commodity is treated with considered care when he or she sets foot in your store.
While your heart might be in the right place, you need to ask yourself whether your ethos is being fed down to the people on the shop floor who are responsible for interacting with your customers on a daily basis. The untrained, low-skilled salesperson is a relic of the retail past; the future lies in nurturing employees to become brand ambassadors who are highly knowledgeable and passionate about the products you offer. These individuals must also be equipped with first-rate communication skills to enable them to engage and enthuse customers and resolve conflicts and complaints in a way that will protect the reputation of your business.
While there are many other mistakes that retailers make, it’s important to get these basics right if your business is to grow and succeed.