It’s Christmas time and you are off to buy a perfume for your loved one. Arriving at the department store you head to the perfume section and start looking. Once you have settled on one you like you try a little bit of it out, spraying it into the air or onto the back of your hand.
A rather nonchalant assistant comes across, shirt unironed and chewing gum. She has her phone in her hand and she says to you, “Can I assist you?”, while hardly looking up.
You ask if there is anything similar to the particular fragrance you are holding and she shrugs, and makes a slurping sound with her gum. She then makes a feeble attempt to pick the next closest fragrance from the shelf and hand it to you – It’s completely wrong!
Having had this experience and ready to move past it, you say that you don’t need any help and you will continue to look yourself. She shrugs and wanders back to the till where she starts a rather loud conversation on the phone.
After a few minutes you decide on two perfumes that you are going to buy, one for yourself and one for your partner and head to the till. One perfume doesn’t have a box and you ask the assistant if they have any new boxes in the back?
She barely looks up and says that if I couldn’t see it on the shelf, there aren’t any more! You explain that you want that perfume and ask if she could check if there is stock. She says there isn’t any available and her computer isn’t working.
Still determined, you press on and say you will at least take one of the items and try to find the other item elsewhere. She says its £45.99 and you pass your card over. She says she cannot process card payment there and I should go over to the till on the other side of the store. She goes back to looking at her phone.
I am sure by now, like you, I would have left. I will probably never return either. The same as I will not return to a corner shop or mini supermarket if I am served by someone who cannot put their phone to talk to me. Is that too much to ask? I am passing my hard-earned money over to a shop keeper who doesn’t have the aptitude to talk to their customers?
The same is true of the market stall. Your customers came for the experience as much as they came for necessary supplies and exciting new tastes. They will very quickly vote with their feet at your poor service by not returning to your stall if the experience is anything but good or excellent.
There are so many ways to make the experience great. There is the brief discussion about the item they are looking at, the ways it can be used, and of course complementary products. Then you could offer wrapping, packaging and further information from websites, YouTube videos and more.
Experience matters! The customer came to visit your stall. They stopped to ask questions. They at the very least deserve a good experience!
Here are some things you can do to improve the your customer experience:
1. Dress Appropriately
It seems such a simple thing to do! Look tidy and well dressed and you will be more approachable. Obviously wearing an Armani Suit in a Market place may look out-of-place a little, but that doesn’t mean you need to wear your old gardening clothes either.
If you are selling any food products wear clean white clothes or at the very least a clean white apron. It shows you take pride in your products and your hygiene.
Buying is very visual, and you are part of what constitutes the “just looking” statement. Dress like you care about yourself and your stall!
2. Organise your stall
A simple trick of any stall owner is to ensure your layout of your items are easily seen and that it looks uncluttered. There should be order to the way you layout your items. Group similar items together. Show how items may complement each other. If descriptions need to be written, make sure they are clear and concise.
You have a few seconds to catch a potential customers attention, if they can see what you have and understand what you are doing, then you are more than likely going to attract them into your stall too.
Dust items, remove dirt as best as possible, if you have plenty of stock, don’t show it all at once, store some under the table and take it out as you sell.
3. Your customer is Special
I know the customer isn’t always right and I am very much aware that there are some obnoxious customers that you would rather not deal with, but you may find that they are also your greatest spokespersons too!
Your customers keep you fed. They cloth you and they will take you to the high heady heights of bigger ventures if you so choose. Make them feel special!
If they leave feeling like you couldn’t care, they will not care about you.
Talk to your customer who is “just looking“. Ask what they may be interested in. Show your interest by talking about video, experiences and things you have seen or done, or used the items you are selling with.
4. Be the expert
When talking about your product, be the expert. You know about it, you know its limitations, its uses and you should know of interesting ways it can be used.
If you are selling food, suggest some recipes that can be made with your product. Point the customer to YouTube videos where they can see you product being used, or websites and blogs that can help them.
Don’t be afraid of the upsell. If someone is looking for one item, offer a complementary product or even a higher ticket item that may be of more use to their requirements. They will appreciate the time you are giving them and the advice that you are offering.
Selling scarfs, why not offer a scarf hanger, or some scarf jewellery that will compliment the colour or improve the look. Have images or model the image with the jewellery with the scarf.
That way you are not only selling a scarf but also a little jewellery too.
Tasteful packaging can really set your item apart. When starting out you may only be able to purchase none branded packaging. Place your contact details on a card and pop it in the bag with the customers items. When you begin to sell more confidently consider a paper bag with your logo on it, or a bag that has your brand name on. The customer will walk around the market with your logo and brand for everyone to see.
When they get home, their items have been protected and they know where to find you again if they want to purchase more items or pass your details on to a friend.
Your stall is an extension of yourself. Treat your customers to a wonderful experience and they will return again and again. Treat them poorly and they will tell everyone about you, and avoid you!
Remember to dress appropriately, organise your stall and make your customer feel special. Be the expert and upsell other items you have on your stall. Never forget, you are a solo marketing machine, from clothing to packaging now and you want everyone to know you have a great product.
There are many ways to sell your products and make your customers feel special, it would be great for you to join the Market Nosh Coster Facebook page and share some of the great techniques you are using to have customers returning again and again.