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How to Nix the Glitches in Your Store’s Buying Experience

The holidays are a great time to try to get an outside perspective of your store.

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YEARS AGO, NETFLIX did a study of their viewership and found that people would often watch one episode or movie and then stop watching. When a show was over, viewers got caught in a loop of decision making: Do I watch another episode? Should I find something else to watch? Do I switch to live TV? Should I turn off the tube and go to bed or read a book? Where’s the remote?

So viewers got stuck in this mode, and this caused them more often than not to discontinue watching. Then, Netflix inserted the algorithm where the next episode would automatically start after just a few seconds. Or in the case of a movie, it would show another similar movie trailer at the end, and if no action was taken, start playing the new movie. Viewership went up dramatically. No more decision making, it was made for you AND you didn’t now have to pick up the remote to complete your thought process. My wife and I stayed up WAYYY past our bedtime watching Breaking Bad this way.

So what are the glitches in our businesses that are causing customers to hesitate, not pull into our parking lots, or finally make the decision to buy? If you’ve ever hired a secret shopper, they can help you with these activities. Even a local college business class could tackle this problem for you. How interesting would it be to have an outsider give their perspective of your signage, your doorway, your cases, your carpet, the smells in your store, the presentation of your employees, the ease or difficulty in purchasing from you? You might even learn a lot from having an honest, straightforward discussion with your team.

I walked into a jewelry store in Michigan, and the carpet, while clean, was rose-colored and smelled musty, the kind of musty like when you walk into an old wet basement. My immediate impression of this store was that it was outdated and the merchandise was likely estate jewelry. It didn’t help that there was a huge grandfather clock against the back wall. (No, I’m NOT against grandfather clocks, but it’s presence along with the carpet smell and color gave me visions of an old antique store Grandma would take me to when I was a kid.) This was not the place I was going to buy my engagement ring.

When American Food companies introduced cake mixes in the 1930s, sales were flat for the first 10 years. Women just weren’t buying them. Then they hired a psychologist to learn what the problem was and found out that the act of baking a cake showed CARE and pride of preparing something homemade. People just didn’t feel that care and pride making a birthday cake from a box.

Then General Mills announced that instead of powdered eggs in the batter, that YOU add two fresh eggs. That was enough to allow folks to feel like they were actually baking their cakes with CARE. Now it was truly homemade and sales skyrocketed. They overcame that psychological glitch.

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I know sales are very good right now, but let’s not rest on our laurels and accept good enough. Let’s always be striving to up our game. Over the next holiday shopping weeks, take some time to view your business model from the outside in, or have someone come in and scope out these business stops or glitches. See if you can nix the glitches in your system or presentation and increase that closing ratio by double digit percentages.

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