Thursday, March 10, 2011

Embrace Shopper Expertise

An increasing percentage of shoppers have built expertise about product categories before entering your store, and they want you to acknowledge that expertise. When shopping for bed sheets, they consider themselves to be highly knowledgeable about bed sheets.
     Here are tips on staying in the good graces of these self-proclaimed experts:
  • Respect them. Do your floor staff know where all the merchandise is located? Are they aware of the comparative features of brands in their department? Can they explain them to the customer if asked? Can they explain other things as well? Staff your store with experts who enjoy sharing their knowledge with customers in a team-oriented way. Customers want sales staff who know it all, but without acting like stuffy know-it-alls. Retired journeyman plumbers make terrible hardware store employees if they have trouble explaining the steps to replace a faucet. Teens with a wonderful sense of fashion style are bad clothing department advisors if they label some teen customers as beyond fashion rescue.
  • Surprise them. Research at University of Pittsburgh and University of South Carolina finds that experts are attracted to categorization in ways that surprise them. Sporting equipment might be categorized by the sizes of the items. Power tools might be categorized by the type of job they could be used to complete. Clothing might be categorized by color. Foods might be categorized by country of origin. How could setting up such strange divisions increase retailer profitability from selling to product experts? The answer: By surprising the expert, we get them to pay attention, and a customer who pays attention is more open to seeing the value in a higher priced option.
  • Impress them. Experts want to know technical specifications. At the same time, they often make product selections without prolonged thought. They don’t request features lists because the experts think they already know what the products can do for them. Experts are interested in technical specifications largely to justify to themselves and others that they’ve made the right choices. In fact, those University of Pittsburgh and University of South Carolina researchers say experts are notoriously complacent about using the technical information before choosing what they’ll purchase.
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Have Staff Who Show and Share Expertise
Give Experts Novel Product Categories

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