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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Simon

Remember the Customer.

Updated: Dec 10, 2018

Hello. I’m hoping this is the first in a series of videos around potentializing your independent Retail business – So if you know any independent Retailers or Micro Retailers who would benefit from this video – please do feel free to share.

Likewise, if you feel there’s any subjects I should cover – please do let me know.

My background is big retail -for quite a long time – and I have spent the last five or six months working with Micro Retailers & independents. And it has been amazing!

The first thing I want to say, is that ‘my hat is off’ to anybody who is an independent retailer. Oh, My goodness. You guys are bloody epic!

If you think from a point of view of the sheer multi-tasking that an independent retailer does – From buying the product yourself, to merchandising & making sure your store looks beautiful, to manning the store- quite often on a skeleton staff – quite often by yourself at times. Not to mention managing all your social media to try and drive footfall traffic. As well as if you have online presence- to managing that website, and to fulfil all customer orders. I am quite exhausted just even saying some of the things you guys do. You are bloody epic. I think that’s the first thing to say.

My bit of a challenge though – is that whenever you’re in the situation where you’re doing all those tasks – Quite often as time goes by you can start to forget – particularly as the customer evolves – who that customer is and what they need.

So, a little bit of a challenge around remembering the customer, and how your store is trafficked today.

If you can – I would pick, a busy afternoon- maybe a Saturday afternoon, or even a Thursday late night- a time when you have reasonable traffic in the store- and see if you can get somebody to give you a bit of cover- and then what I recommend you do – is that you leave your store. I’m not kidding. I mean it. You leave your store and go across the street. And just stand from across the road and just watch the front of your store.

Now this might seem a bit mad. Make sure you don’t do it in a weird pervy looking way, or you might get arrested. But just stand and watch how people are approaching your store.

- What way is the traffic coming from? And by traffic, I mean pedestrian traffic.

- What direction are most customers walking from. Are they coming from the left or are they coming from the right?

- How many people are approaching your store with a sense of purpose, as in it is your store they are coming to visit?

- How many people are having their eye caught by the windows? And I will do a future video, just on windows if that helps.

- How many people are having their eye caught by something they see through the entrance of your hopefully open doors, and seeing a display inside that’s causing them to want to come in?

So – Really good exercise is to just take 15 minutes out of your business and stand across the road, and just watch...

Then once you’ve done that – What’s also good - Is to go into your store, walk about two thirds down your shop floor, turnaround- look at the entrance, and do the same thing again from the inside.

Quite often, when people are entering a retail premises, and depending on your shop fit or store design – Quite often their line of sight is to the right - diagonally. And you’ll see that a lot of people will naturally veer to the right.

You may notice potentially that a lot of people will take a good five steps, or five feet, before they start to slow down when they enter the store. So just stand back and have a look.

- When does the customer start to slow down as they’re walking through the store?

- Where are their first pause points? / What are the first things that catch their attention?

- And how do they then traffic and move around your store?

If you just spend 15 or 20 minutes doing that – I promise you - the information that you will gain as a business owner can be quite transformational to your business. From a point of view of where to place stock, how to place displays, how your equipment is placed. And, who your customer is. Because quite often that can evolve over the years.

So, I hope this has helped. Please feel free to share if it has. Please feel free to comment.

Have a great day. And Good Trading!

Miriam Simon

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Jannetje van Leeuwen
Jannetje van Leeuwen

Excellent post. Sometimes the best place to start is back to basics. Seeing yourself through your customers' eyes - priceless!

Look forward to learning more.

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