By Lisbeth Calandrino—Earlier this month, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank is on track to start raising interest rates this month—likely by a quarter percentage point. This is to combat inflation, which is the highest it has been in nearly 40 years. This rate will affect everything from credit cards to home mortgages. On the other side, it will increase rates on high-yield savings accounts. The Fed obviously feels that the economy needs to slow down to stave off runaway inflation.
So, what does this mean to your business? No one has a crystal ball, but it’s safe to say it’s time to get consumers to spend the disposal income they have now before they get nervous and tighten up their belts—especially with gas prices and home heating oil expected to skyrocket in the coming weeks. Most people are out of their homes, getting back to travel are enjoying a return to some sense of normalcy.
Now is the time to take advantage of the consumer’s positive attitude. Start by cleaning up your store, parking lot and warehouse to get ready for the ever-important spring selling season. Getting everyone involved in the cleanup will not only help facilitate the task at hand but also serve as a team-building exercise.
Following are some tried-and-true ways to gain your share of the customer’s disposable income.
More cross selling. This is one of the best ways to get your customers to spend more of their income. In short, cross selling encourages your customers to add more products to their baskets. For most retailers, it can be a small purchase; in our business, it would be another room of flooring, a vacuum cleaner, cleaning supplies or a purchase of something larger like an air purifier.
Expand your offerings. Salespeople at vacuum cleaner stores always asks if you need vacuum cleaner bags. Why? Because at some point they know you will need some. There’s a reason why consumers go to the box stores—oftentimes they can check multiple items off their shopping list by making one stop. Start thinking about the items/services that you can add to your portfolio that will entice your customers to buy something extra. What about fixtures for that bathroom renovation? Artwork for the new living room makeover? Cleaning products to help the customer maintain her shiny new floors?
Dress up your showroom. With the spring selling season right around the corner, now is a good time to spruce up your sales floor. Think about some cool seasonal themes to promote in your store. How about new plants? Or maybe set up a farmer’s market right there in your parking lot. You could partner with local produce suppliers or food vendors. This has been proven to drive traffic every time.
Take that idea a step further and rotate/change decorations based on the different holidays, seasons, etc. Maybe coordinate and time it with sales promotions or in-store events.
Adopt a tiered selling system. Do your salespeople underestimate how much money a customer is will spend? Remember this: Most people will trade up if they see a reason and the product benefits meet their standards of quality and taste. How do you find out? You talk to the customer, get to know her and find out what’s important for her. Most shoppers want people to think they got a deal—but that doesn’t mean it was cheap. A deal means I got more than I paid for.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.