The way we do business is changing because the customer is inarguably different and the detail retailers seem most intimidated by lately is the cell phone. Shoppers everywhere are glued to their mobiles; walking down the street, driving in the car, even texting while carrying a conversation with a live person.
Our own columnist, Warren Tyler, shared his beef with this issue in a recent column:
Jump ahead to 2011, where customers use their electronic devices as defense mechanisms by walking into the showroom talking on their cell phones. Moreover, they use the devices to check pricing as they peruse your merchandise. It’s enough to make one wish that the theory of radio waves causing brain cancer was proven. These are major complaints when speaking with retailers and salespeople.
It takes guts to be a good salesperson. My favorite (always with a smile) is to interrupt the conversation and tell the customer I am working on a cure for her addiction. Her response is to tell the enabler on the other end she’ll call back. Then I explain I am working on a patch that will shock her every time the device rings or she tries to make a call, and in a few weeks she should be cured.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but people aren’t going to get rid of their phones because some people find it offensive. You can teach an old dog new tricks, but what do you do with a new dog (Generation Y) with a brand new toy?
Instead of hating the smartphone, what would happen if you embraced the technology to which your customers are so connected? A recent conversation with Christine Whittemore of Simple Marketing Now, generated some really positive ideas about the possibilities that social media and technology hold for the flooring industry. Is your website comprehensive enough to give a potential end user the confidence to navigate your brick and mortar store? What about an app that helps shoppers go through your store, as sort of a digital salesperson? In her article, “Dealing with disruptive technologies,” Sarah Rand suggests a scanable barcode on each product that, when scanned by a smart phone, brings up detailed product information, reviews and even a loyalty program price.
Has your store done anything to incorporate the habits of today’s consumer?