What is service in a fashion store? What are customer expectations from shopping today? And how do the quality of services provided, and, therefore, the level of sales and store revenue depend on the competence and motivation of salespeople? Answered by SR sales and purchasing expert, business consultant Elena Vinogradova.
A store today is a comfortable space where the client not only makes a purchase, but spends time with pleasure.
People come for positive emotions and an atmosphere that creates impressions and new experiences. The era of consumerism (the cult of consumption, the desire to have a lot of things, brand mania - Ed.) is passing: we are looking for meaning in shopping, we want to be involved in something more than just buying a new bag or pair of shoes.
This is especially important in premium and luxury stores, but in both the mass market and the economy segment, the client’s choice at the same price will be towards the store that provides the best level of service.
First-class service exceeds the client's expectations and leaves him feeling euphoric. And this is not a question of budget, but, above all, of attention and sincere attitude.
What are the most common service errors in fashion stores?
Several times a month I conduct store audits as a secret shopper, and I can identify four typical situations:
1. Salespeople lack quality application of basic sales skills. Elementary stages: greeting, making contact, identifying needs, presentation and others are missing or performed at the wrong time, awkwardly, and, as a result, are ineffective and do not lead to a sale.
2. The basic level of competencies is there, but the deep knowledge and level of skill required for first-class service is not yet there. Inspiration, emotions in communications, love for a brand, a company, are conveyed by a few. There is no energy in the service, the staff works uninvolved, there is a feeling of indifference and burnout.
3. Long-time consultants, confident in the strength of their experience, are wary of the idea of learning and becoming stronger. The reality is that often the “old-timers” do not do basic things.
4. I often see, especially in the luxury and premium segments, different attitudes towards “our” and new clients. This is very noticeable at all stages of work: from greeting to farewell. Of course, it’s easier to sell to “our own people.” But in this case, you deliberately cut off the possibility of growing your customer base.
All this, as a rule, is associated with a lack of work standards, a weak motivation system, an ineffective or absent system of training and personnel control, and outdated approaches to service in general.
What you should pay attention to when recruiting staff for a store
A love of sales and a sincere desire to be useful.
The main thing is that the store is staffed by passionate professionals. I recommend that during the interview, you invite the candidate to sell you a model from the collection and solve a service case from your store’s practice. Much will become clear immediately.
General recommendations for store managers
If you are faced with a drop in sales, analyze the store’s performance indicators and do an independent audit. Very often the reason lies within the company and within the team.
If you are in a growth stage, don't rest on your laurels. Plan and monitor employee KPIs, constantly learn, develop and educate your team.
What you should pay attention to in staff training:
1. A systematic approach to training, and not a one-time approach at the entrance to the company or once a year.
2. Regular training of not only linear, but also management personnel.
3. Material and non-material motivation in a mandatory combination.
4. Not only classic trainings on sales standards, but also programs that reflect the characteristics of the brand and the company’s values, special programs to support the psychological balance, health and energy of employees, which international companies pay special attention to.
5. Conscious and continuous formation and support of corporate culture.
It is important to develop the habit of continuous learning and development among employees: the market is changing, and successful companies change with it.
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