There are many important things to consider when it comes to running a retail store. But one of these can sometimes be overlooked – how to greet customers coming into the shop. This may seem like a secondary concern beside the major problems of sourcing products, displaying them in the most effective way, hiring the right staff, and, of course, making a profit. But the truth is, the way you welcome your customers can actually have a significant impact on the success – or lack thereof – of your retail store.
Let’s pause for a moment and reflect. How would you greet a customer, in a way that gives them the best possible impression of your store? If this is something you haven’t given much thought to until now, never fear. We’ve come up with some helpful tips on how to greet customers, so they’ll want to stick around and, hopefully, become loyal patrons of your store.
How to greet customers: examples of what NOT to do
Before we talk about the best way to welcome your customers, let’s take a look at some common mistakes first, so you know what to avoid when it comes to training your staff in the finer points of retail hospitality.
No eye contact
When a customer walks into a store, particularly if it’s for the first time, they will be hoping for a positive, welcoming experience. A simple greeting isn’t enough – if you are not making eye contact with the person as you speak to them, you can seem disengaged, and even indifferent or rude.
A customer doesn’t like to feel as if they are unimportant or overlooked. Eye contact is crucial when it comes to making someone feel noticed and engaged with. This is important in all social situations, but particularly in a shop environment, where off-putting interactions can make the difference between a sale or a customer walking out in a huff. Your customers need to be given confidence that you are on hand to help, and that their presence is appreciated.
As we’ve just mentioned, simply uttering a few words of greeting isn’t enough to make someone feel welcome. Your tone as you speak should be warm and inviting, not merely polite. Genuine warmth goes a long way when it comes to putting people at ease and making a good impression.
When it comes to training your staff how to interact with customers, the key is consistency. If one member of staff is smiley and inviting, and another member of staff ignores your customers when they walk in, it creates an inconsistent impression. All members of staff should interact with customers in the same way, offering a warm and genuine greeting, so that anyone entering your store is made to feel at ease in their interactions with every member of your team.
Asking ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions
Making a sale is a process, not a single action, and this process can easily be derailed by using the wrong technique. Asking your customers ‘Yes’ or ‘no’ questions – such as ‘Can I help you?’ – can lead to a customer promptly replying ‘No’, and closing the door on deeper engagement and interaction.
Asking open-ended questions helps to create a dialogue between you and the customer, and helps you to seem more helpful and engaged. It can also help prompt the customer to make a purchase. Consider ‘how can I help you today?’, for example.
How to greet customers in retail: making a great impression
Now that you know what not to do, it’s time to focus on what you should do. Here are some of the best ways to welcome your customers to ensure they have a positive experience in your store, and hopefully return again and again. Remember, a warm welcome can make all the difference between a customer walking out, and a customer staying and making a purchase.
Be warm and helpful
As we have mentioned, the crucial thing to remember when greeting new people is to be genuine and engaged. Treat them like a new friend, rather than a potential business opportunity. Shopping is a holistic experience for your customers, not just a transaction. It’s your job, not just to provide the products they may want to purchase, but also to give them an enjoyable time.
Exuding natural warmth and friendliness will put a smile on their faces and help them feel at ease and valued. It’s a surefire way of winning people over and hopefully turning them into repeat customers.
A smile goes a long way
Smiling is one of the best ways to add warmth and positivity to any social interaction. Not only will it make your customers feel welcomed and engaged with, it will also help you feel better too, as the physical act of smiling has been proven to boost feelings of happiness.
Be present but not imposing
While being present and attentive is always a good thing in retail, sometimes you can make the mistake of going a little too far. Hovering over someone or being too aggressive or pushy with your welcome can be just as off-putting as appearing indifferent. You need to give the customer space to look around and make decisions. Be there if you need them, but don’t force your presence on them or they could feel intimidated and uncomfortable – they may even walk out and go to another store.
Offer specific greetings for that personal touch
A wonderful way to enhance a customer’s shopping experience is by personalising it. When they walk in, give a big smile and introduce yourself. Perhaps ask them their name too, so if they become a repeat customer, you can greet them by name whenever they walk in. This will help them feel valued, and will encourage them to give you a good word-of-mouth review to their friends and family, which could bring you even more business!
Provide a 5-star all-round service with the finest soft furnishings
Once you have given your customers that warm and friendly welcome, it’s time to introduce them to your amazing products! At Homefords, we pride ourselves on providing high-quality wholesale soft furnishings to a wide range of businesses, both across the UK and overseas.
If you’re looking for a trustworthy soft furnishings supplier to buy from in bulk, we have a diverse range of branded products available for easy re-sale. From cushions and curtains to towels, bedding and so much more, we have every kind of soft furnishing to meet your store’s requirements.
It’s our goal to help make running your soft furnishings business as easy and hassle-free as possible, so you can focus on providing that unbeatable customer experience that will guarantee you repeat business and booming profits.