The Web and Mobile Marketing Challenge – Use the GREAT Method to Close More Sales In Store

According to recently published results on an ongoing study by Retrevo Pulse, retailers are becoming a “showroom for Amazon.”

The study found nearly two-thirds (66%) of respondents have looked at a product in a store and then made the purchase online from somewhere else.  The number of people who make purchases through the web increases to more than 78% for customers who own smartphones!

While the electronics category is impacted most by this trend with 58% of customers telling surveyors   that they have made purchases in this fashion, other retailers are not immune.  This includes shoe retailers (41%) and apparel retailers (39%) and the trend is growing.

This growing trend means that retailers have to respond in a number of ways.  Retrovo advocates having a strong web and mobile sales strategy, but that is not enough.   Retailers need to make sure that they are training retail sales associates to close sales when the customer is in the store.  This includes customer service training that motivates the customer to be loyal to the store and retail sales training that is focused on presentation and selling skills.  One simple way to begin is by training your retail sales representatives to be GREAT. 

GREAT is an acronym that is designed to remind you and your retail customer service team of the core activities needed to create a positive shopping experience that encourages a customer to buy you’re your store…today.  Let’s look at it in more detail:

GREET – Your customers within 15-30 seconds of entering your store or department.  It is a proven fact that people feel like they are being ignored if they are not acknowledged within that time frame.  And if you felt you were not valued as a customer, why wouldn’t you buy from an on-line competitor?  All it takes is a quick “Hi” or “Thanks for coming in today” to get a retail customer engaged with your people and not just your products.

RESPECT and RESPOND– One of the things the web does better than traditional retail is to give everyone a consistently good experience.  There are never any lows…but then again there are never any truly great experiences either.  Teach your retail associates that they need to show their customers respect at every turn and to be responsive to their specific needs.  All it takes is a serving attitude and a few questions to allow you to provide a one-of-a-kind retail customer experience.

EDUCATE – The other day I encountered what seemed like a minor issue with my new home theater system (which I purchased on-line after looking at it in a retail store).  I  Googled my questions and spent what seemed like hours trying to find the right answer.  Wouldn’t it have been better if the retail sales representative had spent a few minutes with me showing me how to use the product?  I would have been a happier customer and probably would have rewarded him with a sale in the store.  In fact I likely would have invested in an installation service which I clearly could have used!

ADVOCATE – I was working with 100-plus store a retail client a couple of weeks ago and while visiting some of their locations was shocked to find out that their retail store managers and sales representatives are hesitant to upsell and add-on for fear of offending their customers.  This company is in a competitive business and the majority of their foot traffic comes from a commoditized item where they have a low-price guarantee.   Their team members are highly educated with regard to their products, but fail to capitalize on that knowledge and the low-price guarantee in order to earn more sales.  If they were to make sure that their customers knew that they will always match a price and that they add-value through their education programs they would earn the right to suggestive sell!

THANK – In the retail business, the only thing more important than a good first impression is making a positive and lasting final impression.  It is often the little things that make a difference in terms of creating retail customer loyalty and repeat business.  That begins with an honest and heartfelt “Thank You” to them for coming into your stores and continues through simple things like carry out service, thank you cards, and follow-up phone calls or emails.

The GREAT method is a simple way to get your retail team members focused on providing a top-notch retail customer experience so that you can win more customers when they are in your stores and prevent them from running to the web.

If you would like to learn more about the GREAT service concept or are interested in retail management training courses, feel free to Contact usfor a free one hour consultation so we can help you improve your retail customer experience.

–          David Goodwin is the Principal of the Retail Advocacy Group.  As a 30 year veteran of the retail industry he has hired, trained, and performance managed thousands of retail sales representatives and retail managers.  You can learn more about instructor-led, e-learning, and other training solutions for retailers at