In a world before showroom technology, often the efforts spent on customers went out the showroom doors with them. Today, retailers leveraging in-store technology to track customers and build shopping carts generate valuable data. Research shows that with follow-up or targeted marketing, approximately 20% of initially unsold customers can become converting customers. Likewise, the goal of retailers today shouldn’t be a singular sale but rather customer loyalty.
In this article, we’ll review how retailers can leverage technology during each of the five selling process steps. To close sales and earn customer loyalty, the goal is to capture contact data and product interest for every customer your team engages with.
When training your sales team, it is essential to incorporate how to leverage technology at each of the vital stages of the selling process. We’ll use the popular framework Greet, Discover, Demonstrate, Close, and Follow-up.
- The first step is to Greet your guests and set the tone for their experience. To connect personally, start with open-ended questions on current news, local events, sports, or movies to establish a rapport. Building a personal relationship with your guests can result in the first sale and long-term success.PRO TECHNOLOGY TIP – During the Greet, introduce the technology you are using and its benefit to the guest. Here’s an example: “I have this application I will use to take some notes as we shop today. I can use it to look up more detailed information about products you are interested in, tag any items of interest, and even show you options we may not have on display in this store. Would that be okay?”
- After making introductions, Discover why your guest is here today. Identify not only what the guest wants but the motivations driving their decision. Motivation is key to properly demonstrating the features of a product and overcoming objections. Put on your reporter hat and ask open-ended Who, What, Where, When, Why & How questions. An excellent example of a discovery question and answer could be: Q. Tell me how the space will be used. Their response might be: Our goal in redoing the living room is to host large family movie nights.
PRO TECHNOLOGY TIP – Ensure you build a guest’s profile with the name and contact information you’ve learned and start a shopping cart for them. If they are a returning guest, review a snapshot of their history to personalize the conversation. First-party data is increasingly important. Record what you learn about your guest during the Discover stage, including their project goals, style preferences, personality, and interests. If they mention any future projects they aren’t shopping for today, create an opportunity you can follow up with later. Detailed notes are pivotal in closing sales today or at a later point in time.
- Now it’s time to use the information you learned to create a personalized product Demonstration focused on benefits. The Demonstration allows you to establish value and create a desire to buy. Encourage your guests to experience the sensory elements of the products as you demonstrate. After all, this is a key reason they visited your showroom.
PRO TECHNOLOGY TIP – Pull up product pages on your tablet during the demonstration. Pulling up these pages will ensure you are accurately answering questions that may have variable answers, such as “When will this item be available based on the guest’s zip code” or “how does the current promotion alter the product’s current selling price.” Without real-time technology, your answers might be inaccurate, which can be why the guest backs out of a sale at the last minute. Also, at this stage, every potential selection should be added to a Shopping Cart. If the guest likes a piece in the showroom but wants a related item or variation not on display, you can use your technology to support an endless aisle inventory strategy.
- There comes a time in every shopping experience to go for the Close. Look out for buying signals such as “When can I get this delivered” to know when. During the Close, associates should handle any objections and aim to increase the order value with relevant upsells.
- PRO TECHNOLOGY TIP – There are two immediate outcomes that benefit from your use of technology.
PURCHASING CUSTOMER: If the guest is ready to buy now, narrow their final selections in the Shopping Cart, add any related items or protection plans, finalize fulfillment preferences, and checkout. You wouldn’t be starting from scratch to collect their information, as would have been the case if you hadn’t used technology throughout the process. You did all that work organically while shopping and significantly reduced the checkout time, a positive your new customer will surely remember.
NON-PURCHASING GUEST: Many guests will need more time to commit. Now is where your work earlier adds tremendous value. Always send the guest home with a shopping cart they can check out online. Based on your expert service, ensure they know they can give you credit for the sale from home. Technology is an asset, not your competitor! Email the cart home with the guest with any viable options. If you negotiated pricing, you could lock that in too. You want it to be as convenient as possible for the guest to go home, measure, and submit the order.
- The final stage is Follow-up which can be summarized as continuing the relationship you built. Follow-up is where sales professionals can turn a great shopping experience into an exceptional one. It’s how top salespeople earn repeat business and referrals.
PRO TECHNOLOGY TIP – By creating reminders, next steps, and active opportunities in your technology tools, you ensure you follow through on these Follow-up items, and nothing falls through the cracks.
PURCHASING CUSTOMER: Send a thank you note. Then, use your technology to set a reminder to connect on any other items of interest or future projects they may have mentioned. Now’s a great time to refer back to the notes you took to personalize this next touchpoint. You could add this customer to marketing campaigns based on their purchase history if they didn’t directly mention their next opportunity.
NON-PURCHASING GUEST: Send their open cart to your marketing platform for an abandoned cart campaign. Make a note to check in personally if they still need to convert online. Use your notes to reference their objections and inform your strategy. Consider inviting the guest to your store for a private sales event to seal the deal.
As you can see, when you leverage technology from the beginning of the sales process and throughout the customer’s lifecycle, it has tremendous value. Leveraging technology gives your guest an exceptional experience and will enable your sales team to close more sales and build customer loyalty and that is your competitive advantage.
STORIS, is an HFA industry partner and modern retail software solutions provider. Their innovative, web-based, mobile STORIS NextGen platform is thriving in retail showrooms today, empowering industry peers to enact a sophisticated selling process as outlined above.