How to keep customers in the store longer and what it means for your business

by Barbara Crowhurst

Attracting customers into your store and keeping them in your store longer is doable and in your hands. You increase sales when your traffic increases; these two things have a direct correlation with each other. Do you know that the longer a customer stays in your store, the more products they are exposed to, the more likely they are to buy. Studies show that a customer needs to stay in a retail store up to 7 minutes before they really start shopping and really start buying. Check this out against what is happening in your store.

Consider these points:

  • Great window displays tell customers what is going on in your store and invites them in to shop. Your window displays should showcase your promotional activities. You should have 2-3 events happening every month.
  • Check out your storefront signage. Both your store name and tagline, along with your promotional window signs, should tell potential customers exactly what’s going on in the store and invite them to come in. By the way, just by upgrading your overall store front signage you will increase traffic and sales by 20%.
  • A great staff with strong people skills is who you want working for you. Staff that make customers feel welcome and stay in your store longer. Customer service is not just telling a customer "hello." It is also about helping them to their car with their packages and making sure they had a great experience while shopping in your store. Each customer should be treated the same and given equal attention whether they buy something or not. Treat your customers with respect, and always go the extra mile for them.
  • Good traffic flow. Traffic flow does not happen by accident. Wide isles contribute to the way customers travel through your store and ultimately to the ease of their shopping experience. Take a tape measure out and make sure your minor isles are a minimum of 3 feet wide. Crowded aisles actually cost you sales. Be sure your store is designed to allow adequate space between aisles and keep walkways free of merchandise. Cramped spaces can ruin a shopping experience and turn off a customer. A good selection of products with less shelving units cluttering up your store allowing for wider isles will net you higher sales. You want customers to move deep into your store, staying longer.
  • A well-organized store. Have a look around your store, I want you to put like products together in departments. Get rid of products that have been around for more than a year and have not sold. The test is over. A store that is organized is easier to shop in and keeps customers shopping longer.
  • Feature displays in each department. You should plan for a minimum of 3 to 7 feature displays on the inside of your store. Feature displays slow down and stop shoppers by giving them great ideas about how this single item or combination of products will be a good purchase choice.
  • In-store, promotional and departmental signage is important in helping keep customers in your store. In store signage can become the silent sales person when your staff is busy with other customers. Also a well-signed store gives information to customers and again keeps them shopping longer.
  • Creating a great atmosphere can affect your customers shopping experience, having them stay in your store longer. At times even picking your store experience over the competition in your market place. Here, I would like you to focus on updating your store design. Rule of thumb, keep maintenance and design updates current. Do not wait for 5,10,15 or 20 years to make store design changes.
  • Set up a permanent clearance area at the back of your store. It is a good idea. Many customers love rummaging through clearance areas. Set this area up if you do not have one, this will keep customers in your store longer, looking for good deals. As well, placing your sales items towards the back of the store will force customers to walk by the regularly priced merchandise before coming across the sale items, thus increasing the probability for sales of regular merchandise. Clearly mark your sale prices on all your merchandise and on signs that will grab your customers' attention. Identifiying the reduced price.

It is over to you! Check over your store today and see what areas need your immediate attention. Be proactive and keep your customers shopping in your store longer.

Barbara Crowhurst is North America’s leading retail business coach. She also writes retail specific articles, blogs and e-books, and is an international speaker. Her comprehensive and detailed approach to retail comes from years of working in the industry with some of the largest corporate retail stores in North America and tens of thousands of independent retailers.

Barbara will be a Retail Solutions Seminars speaker at the Fall 2017 Toronto Gift Fair.