The National Shoe Retailers Association kicked off FN Platform in Las Vegas with a series of seminars focused on new strategies for success. Top themes included tips to increase sales, ways to get to know the customer and insights on buying.
Scott Deming, owner of Scott Deming’s Extraordinary Success Programs, held one of the first conferences of the day on how to convert customers into loyal shoppers.
“If you think your mission is 100 percent customer satisfaction — blow it up,” said Deming. “Because there’s no correlation, no relation at all, between the satisfied customer and the loyal customer.”
Deming described the satisfied customer as someone who will stay with you until the next best thing comes along, and what retailers need to do is shatter the expectation. “Blow people away [with exceptional service] so they don’t forget who you are,” he said.
His best piece of advice: Have empathy and put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
Retail expert Bob Phibbs’ seminar echoed similar talking points for connecting with customers. “Even if you’re doing an exceptional job, mall traffic is down [15 percent] for one simple reason: It’s a chore for me to go shopping,” he said. “A customer will never forget how you made them feel.”
To sell more product, Phibbs said, retailers need to build trust and a rapport with customers. “People buy people first. If I don’t like you. I’m not coming back,” he said.
Two ways to build a better rapport with customers are through body language and store setup. Simply by standing next to the customer instead of in front of the customer enables an associate and the shopper to figure out the process together. Phibbs also said that many major players are paring back counter sizes to make stores more approachable and user-friendly.
The last seminar on Monday night included a panel featuring retailers Brenda Baril, GM and buyer for Corn Blooms; Garrett Breton, VP of merchandising at Comfort One Shoes; and Leslie Butler, VP of merchandising at Schuler Shoes. Paul Erickson, SVP at RMSA, moderated the discussion, which homed in on best buying practices for independent footwear retailers.
NSRA President Chuck Schuyler told Footwear News the seminars were designed to tackle some of the most pressing issues that independent retailers face.