SURVIVING ‘THE AMAZON’: SERVICE THE HELL OUT OF THEM!
Amazon dominates online sales traffic, equaling all other e-commerce sites combined when measured across 11 retail categories. While retail stores still attract a significantly larger share of consumers’ purchases for many purchasing categories, there are some service-minded practices that can help retailers compete with and even out-sell ‘The Amazon’.
Practice 2: Service the HELL Out of Them!
It is well known that when tackling any type of home project, having the right tools makes for much easier work. Likewise beating e-commerce retailers with exceptional service is easy and can actually become second nature when adopting certain guidelines within the retail setting.
- Manage your inventory. Provide convenience by having the products that customers want, immediately when they want them. While inventory turns must be managed to maintain healthy cash flow, retailers should scale their inventory toward the items that move. Understand and prepare for seasonality. Good ERP software is available, many at fairly low cost, to provide trends and recommendations regarding stock levels.
- Create events/experiences. Partner with like-minded brands, experts, artists, and organizations to host events in your store or parking lot. Ask your suppliers to support your efforts. Conduct learning sessions or hold customer appreciation days. It may sound simple, but the fact of the matter is that customers are much more likely to shop with you again and become loyal customers if you offer a better experience than your competitors.
- Know your Products! Shoppers prefer to buy from people rather than faceless companies. Insure that you and your staff know your products so that a trusting relationship is built with your customer base. Try new products or have your customers try products and report back to you with their findings. Ask your suppliers to support these efforts.
- Create a loyalty program. Seventy-two percent of U.S. businesses with loyalty programs see a return on their investment (Experian), yet only half of retailers have some form of customer loyalty program in place. The simpler the loyalty program, the better. For example, create a point system for each dollar spent or desired customer action. Then set up milestones for customers to redeem their points.