While there are seasonal trends in retail – bank holidays, Christmas and regular sales – the weather can also play a large part in sales and even pricing.
From hot summers to wet winters, the conditions can determine how consumers buy, what they buy, when retailers introduce new lines and when sales periods start.
It’s a fine balancing act for many retailers, with those managing to take advantage of shifts in the weather getting the best results. Running the right promotions at the right time can lead to a considerable increase in sales and profits.
On 23 June 2016, the UK popped the question that had rumbled under the surface of British politics for a generation: should the country remain within the European Union or end its 40-year membership and go it alone? 52% of voters opted for Brexit. Since that point, despite two and half years of negotiation, the situation seems to have reached a stalemate that is causing tremendous uncertainty in the UK.
We have seen a lot of discussion in the press recently over the roles of various shopping channels and the future of the entire shopping experience. It’s a fact that there seems to have been a real gear shift in terms of online shopping. The headline ‘the death of the high-street’ has been bandied about with the growth of online shopping being cited as signalling the end of shopping as we traditionally know it. Here at Retail Maxim we thought it would be interesting to understand the motivations of UK shoppers who still shop in-store, such as how frequently they are shopping and what motivates them to shop in-store. Our aim is to get a bit more perspective on the situation.
It’s clear to all retail professionals that online shopping is showing huge growth. The convenience, competitive pricing and speed which online shopping offers appeals to lots of us.We have previously discussed how this affects stand alone retailers but it also begs the question of whether it affects shopping centres.
There have been many reports in the news lately about the High Street and how various retailers, such as House of Fraser, Poundworld, Toys R Us and Maplin (to name a few), are suffering from high street woes. But how has this news affected consumers?
Retailers have made it really easy to buy products online, as well as instore. However, how has this affected how consumers shop? Does it mean that shoppers are more likely to shop online? Read on to find out.
As we all know, mystery shopping is process of going into a physical store and evaluating the overall performance of the employees. The mystery shopper goes in pretending to be a simple shopper, visiting the store for the purpose of purchasing an item. This shopper is either employed by the store or an external company, assessing the employee performance and submitting a report.
There’s no specific requirements essential to become a mystery shopper, as you don’t need to hold a certain appearance, qualification or manner, you’re simply blending in with all of the other shoppers. Those who hold a massive flair and passion for the field will enhance the levels of customer service in the store and these people are requested highly in the service.
Although being a mystery shopper is incredibly fun, it’s good to remember that mystery shopping is still a serious business, one that’s clearly structured to aid the service of stores around the world. It’s important to hold a few traits in order to deal with the mystery shopping process, like reliability, professionalism and levels of trust you can offer a company. Apart from these traits, you should remember that shoppers should have a way of transportation, literate skills and good memory.
The stores that use mystery shopping are using this to massively boost their sales by improving their levels of customer satisfaction through improved customer service. Mystery shoppers are hired in order to increase the sales of the store by giving employees pointers on how to improve their performance. The service is not only useful for evaluating the performance of the staff, it’s also vital for checking the service available to customers from their business rivals. You can compare the two levels of customer service to find areas that need improvement or changing. This allows the problems to be rectified faster than usual, increasing the number of customers visiting the store through word of mouth recommendations, boosting the sales massively for businesses nationwide.
Before considering hiring a mystery shopping service, you should take a look at the existing level of service that’s already in place at the business. This will give you an insight into what needs boosting in your business, so doing your own research is good preparation for the shopping service. If you conduct an audit of the employees, you’ll be sure to receive a look into their work performance, but don’t tell them about the incoming mystery shopper service. Doing so will affect the results, as they’ll be extra alert in their service, causing inaccuracies in the findings.
So, what do you think? Would you be interested in a mystery shopping service?
I get asked all the time by clients, how can we ensure that a higher percentage of our customers make purchases? My answer is always the same: you must first ask your customers why they are not purchasing, understand what wants and needs you are not fulfilling, and act.
Reports indicate that anywhere from 50 – 82% of customers leave retail stores without purchasing. For most retailers, increasing the percentage of purchasing customers by a very attainable 5% could make a tremendous difference to the bottom line. The example I always site runs as follows: if 50% of a store’s 200 daily customers typically make purchases, and this store’s average sale per customer is £40, raising the store’s purchase rate to 55% (only 10 more purchasers per day) would equate to an additional £400/day and £146,000 annually. If that store was part of a 100-store chain, and they all raised their purchase rates from 50% to 55%, the additional annual sales would equate to almost £15 million!
I truly believe that in an age where customers willingly share their experiences with family, friends and the social media world it’s not surprising that they may be just as willing to share their thoughts, experiences and preferences , if asked, with retailers.
This is where Retail Maxim’s ‘Real Customer Surveys’ can help. Both Exit Surveys as well as ‘Online’ based surveys consult ‘real’ customers who have either bought or not, with a focused questionnaire to discover their views.
Retail Maxim’s surveys are an effective form of gauging Real Customers’ honest thoughts and opinions. We also charge a fraction of the price compared to other Market Research companies who often create lengthy, complex surveys which can aggravate customers. So, are you reading this and need to know the answers to the following sorts of questions?
What are your customers’ unfulfilled needs?
Why are customers leaving your locations without purchasing?
Are your promotional materials bringing customers in and making an impact?
Where else are your customers shopping and why?
What do customers think about your new concept store?