Understanding consumer behavior is essential when you are preparing your store for the new year. Marketing and merchandising are centered around how you will make consumers feel, think, and act. The main goal of marketing is to influence the way that consumers think. Motivating them to decide to buy what you want them to buy is what must be accomplished to ensure a profitable selling season.
Customers are as influenced by experience as they are by product positioning and presentation. Training your employees to offer customer service above and beyond what the customer expected can go a long way in influencing consumer behavior. When an escalated situation is handled professionally, nicely, and effectively, an aggravated customer is likely to make a purchase and return in the future. One reason is that they now have a connection with your store and your staff.
In real life, going through an ordeal that ends with a favorable outcome draws people closer together and strengthens their relationship. The same applies for customers who have a problem. Try not to dread dealing with irate customers. Look at difficult situations as ways to bond and turn problems into favorable relationships than you could not have originally obtained.
Make sure that customers feel as if you understand and acknowledge their problem. Listen more than you speak. Solve their problem in a way that exceeds their expectation and you've struck gold. Not only does the customer have a stronger bond with you, but they have an incident to talk about with their friends. If they walk away feeling like you handled the situation in a professional and personal manner, then they are going to spread the word.
Product positioning is also important when your intention is to influence consumer behavior. First you must understand what type of customer you are trying to influence. Are your customers looking for deals? Are they looking for quality? Are they shopping for others? Determine which sets of customers you would like each display to appeal to and go from there. For example, a table set up with sweaters that would make great gifts may be tied with ribbon to resemble a present. You could place a sign here that informs customers about your free gift wrap services.
Position your displays in areas where customers are likely to decide to make purchases. Your big attractors should be in the front of the store to draw customers in. However, you do not want all of your best finds to be right in the door, or customers will get more disappointed as they move through and leave with a bad impression. Use mannequins and signage to draw customers back further and further into the store. Impulse buys along the aisles that receive the most traffic will help to lure the customers in. Using a mannequin, like a female mannequin or male mannequin, can help you to position your product where it can be easily seen. For example, someone standing twenty feet away may notice your dress mannequin wearing a coat that they really like and move back to that area. If the coat was simply hanging, the customer would have never gone back there.
Use mannequins, spread out your merchandise, and always treat your customers with respect. You will keep the sales going through busy and slow seasons year round.