Saturday, January 8, 2011

Love Your Role as Store Matchmaker

A while back, consumer behavior researchers from Memorial University of Newfoundland noted that customers don’t generally describe interactions with retailers as “relationships.” Still, there are people who will talk about loving to shop with you. How can you tell if your customers love to shop with you? More important, what does it take for them to fall in love and stay in love with your store?
     Based on results from in-depth interviews, researchers at Arizona State University and Texas Christian University described what they call “love-smitten consumers” as showing certain characteristics. Here’s my adaptation of the description:
  • Become more likely to buy from you when they’re feeling sad or unsure of themselves. You might facilitate the love by including some comfort products and indulgent services in the mix you offer. Staff expertise can instill confidence. Your shoppers love being served by experts. They judge the salesperson’s expertise even before the two start talking. The salesperson’s dress and body language say a lot as the prospective customer asks, “How much does this salesperson look like somebody I’d like to be?” If the store is busy, does the salesperson appear to have things under control? If so, that’s the mark of an expert.
  • Come by the store or website when they’re feeling lonely. The Arizona/Texas researchers spoke of a passion evidenced in strong urges to visit, even if only to look. Have staff greet customers and, to the degree possible, call them by name. We each love to hear others say our name as long as it’s said to support us.
  • Use nicknames for the love object. Target might be called “tar gay” with a French accent, and Johnston Fashion Emporium might be called “Johnny’s.” This is one where you’re usually best waiting for the customers to do the nicknaming. Suggesting a nickname risks cheapening true love.
  • Commit themselves to support you for better or for worse. Build store advocacy, not just customer loyalty. Store advocacy means how often and how strongly your customers praise you to potential shoppers with specifics. Beyond “I love to shop there,” to “I get an excellent price on top-quality herring,” “Almost everyone there listens to my complaints and then makes things right,” and maybe most important of all, “I don’t go out of my way to recommend stores to people, but I feel real good about recommending this one to you.”
Click below for more:
Honor Those Who Love Those Pets
Build Store Advocacy Beyond Customer Loyalty
Have Staff Who Show and Share Expertise

No comments:

Post a Comment