Retailing Tip #2 – The only reason to collect names and emails

Mark Davies

Mark Davies

In today’s instalment, Mark illustrates the hidden value in all those details you collect on your customers.

An expert and trainer in all things retail, business coach Mark Davis divides his time between Australia and Europe, traversing the globe to share his retail, sales, business and Internet marketing insights.

When you go into a restaurant, you’ll often see a fishbowl or platter to throw your business card in, and once a month the establishment draws a lucky winner who gets a free dinner or lunch for two.

It’s a simple and highly effective way of collecting names and addresses and emails.

Once businesses have gathered these details most forget to keep in contact with the relevant customers however; those business cards often become useless by the time the company eventually gets around to promoting a special offer.

Email marketing can be the cheapest form of promotion in a store, to both customers and prospects. But to make it work, you have to do two things well.

1. Collect names and email addresses.

The simplest way to do this in a retail environment is to have staff ask for them.

A monthly prize for a lucky customer, promoted at the point of sale, is often the best “way in”. Sales people simply encourage customers to enter their name and email address. You’re not asking for a blood sample, or their personal home address for junk mail, you’re giving them a chance to win something.

If people aren’t buying, this is the perfect way for a salesperson to start a conversation, with something like, “Have you entered our monthly competition to win a free wardrobe/makeover?” This is a great icebreaker; the conversation is started.

It’s been proven by psychologists, that the fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain. So when customers realise there is a prize at stake, no matter the value, the chance of missing out is a greater motivator than the chance of winning. You can use this to your advantage and let them sell themselves on entering the competition.

2. Follow up. (This requires a bit more work.)

Mark_D_Retail_Tip__2_pic_w250No-one wants to be the data entry person… least of all a salesperson. But with incentives, bonuses and commissions, it makes sense for sales people to have a constant stream of prospects and happy customers re-ordering. Email marketing is the simplest way to achieve this.

First, send an email to customers, thanking them for visiting your store, with a personal note, addressed to them, together with a pdf version of the latest special or catalogue. However, make sure it’s not too big; a large attachment will be caught by spam filters and stop your email getting through.

Second, they should be in an automated system where they get regular updates, newsletters, industry news, and store events and specials, by email, at least monthly.

If you know your buying cycle – for example three times a year, then communicate with customers at least three times a year. In stores where stock changes rapidly, monthly or even weekly can work.

Remember, no-one crosses the street for a 10 per cent discount on full price shoes, but people will drive 20km for a special members only offer that gives them the chance to be first, save the most, or be rewarded for being a good customer. Just keep in contact, and if you have something they want, the frequency of your communication will pay off.

The only reason you collect names and emails is to market to them. Remember this, put it into action, and you will see 20 per cent growth in the next six months. Simple, but powerful, like all great ideas.


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