Monday, February 21, 2011

Make Your Shoppers Feel Special

Every one of your shoppers likes to feel special. Increasingly, they’re yearning for a sense of prestige. This is the argument of a recent Retail Customer Experience posting titled “The Enduring Allure of the Secret Handshake.” The evidence is that with our ecommerce world, where anybody can go anywhere in virtual space, consumers will pay for a feeling of exclusivity.
  • Whatever line of merchandise your store carries, develop for each major product category a vocabulary that describes the products. Then help each customer learn this vocabulary. Consumer researchers talk about helping customers develop a consumption vocabulary so they can better describe to the salesperson what they’re looking for. This can speed up the purchase of the item. But the research also finds that shoppers with consumption vocabularies spend more time in the store on average and they end up buying more items than the customer who lacks the vocabulary. One reason is that the shopper who knows your store’s lexicon feels a sense of pride when there.
  • Use prestige to restore the lost momentum that retailing experts find frequent shopper programs are suffering. Do the enrollment materials, the enrollment procedures, and the participant card all clearly refer to the customer as a “member”? Do you have multistep programs, in which a member can move from green to gold status, for example, by increasing the total amount and/or the frequency of purchases? When the customer shows the card to the cashier at the time of checkout, does the cashier give extra acknowledgement, such as by looking at the customer, smiling, and saying, “Thanks for being a green step member”?
  • Make prestige signals available. Create prestige for items you sell by displaying to your shoppers the contextual cues for the values your shoppers hold. Show the clothing worn, the other products used, and the sorts of physical locations that consumers associate with the people your shoppers want to be like. Do this in advertising, store displays, e-commerce pages, and to the extent you can, even in what your salespeople wear and the type of language they use.
     Do be careful, though. For example, if you give an exclusive price discount to certain customers, your announcement might make the rewarded customers uncomfortable. Be ready to explain the reason for the discount. Otherwise, the rewarded customers might get angry, thinking that your store pricing is highly arbitrary or even discriminatory.

Click below for more:
Offer Exclusive Price Discounts Cautiously
Tailor Loyalty Programs to Customer Culture
Give Loyalty Program Members Prestige
Cultivate Store Prestige with Context
Give a Vocabulary for Richer Shopping

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