Convert window-shoppers into customers

An important role in customer experience is to not only observe Key Performance Indicators (KPI) but translate them into a story about how customers are responding to the business. When a potential customer enters the business, is she a looker or a buyer, how many items are purchased, and what is the average price of the units as well as  the entire transaction. If she does not buy, why and how do you positively impact the possibility of converting her into a customer.

The Big Issue Here

Honestly, sometimes I get dizzy trying to keep it all straight, but no matter where you work, you should be as concerned about these metrics as I am. For me,the most crucial question is how do I turn someone who is simply window-shopping into a paying customer? Working in soft goods (clothing to be exact) I find that the sale is made or lost in the fitting room.

5-25 rule explained

A good rule of thumb was just recently explained to me; the 5-25 rule. A person who enters your business and does not become a customer typically is only inside for 5 minutes before exiting. A paying customer spends an average of 25 minutes in your business before leaving. How are you creating a shopping environment where a customer is inspired to stay for  25 minutes or more?

First impressions count

If your place of business does not say “shop here” after entering, you don’t have a good chance to get past the 5 minute window shopper. This holds true not only for a clothing shop but for any storefront or business. A post on Hubspot further explained the relationship between b2b and retail sales.The first line of defense in creating that inviting atmosphere is to physically welcome the customer in. I can’t say enough how imperative it is to greet your visiting guests!

Fitting room service

I describe fitting room service here because as mentioned earlier, the bulk of my experience is in soft goods. When I owned and operated a bridal shop, I always knew that the sale was not made on the showroom floor, but in the fitting room. If I was unable to entice potential customers to try on a gown, there would be no subsequent sale.

My opportunity for a sale arose once I entered a fitting room and placed a gown on a bride. Fitting room service is almost more important than the initial greeting. Sure, I got them to feel comfortable in my store, but were they ready to commit?

Commit to the customer

What I am best at is forging a trusting relationship with a customer in which she allows me to style her. Once inside the fitting room, I do not simply leave her to her own devices. There still may not be a sale if I am not committed to satisfying her needs or wants. By now, at least 20 minutes have gone by and I am well on my way to converting her into a customer.

What methods do you use in converting customers? I would love to hear your thoughts as to what has worked in the past or present.

2 thoughts on “Convert window-shoppers into customers

  1. Rachel Paulsen says:

    I like what you are saying, and I think that the longer a person stays in the store the more likely they are to purchase something. My question to you is, do you think there is a difference in the level of service needed to sell a piece of clothing and a wedding dress? I think that there is a big difference in the level of service needed for these two different things because one is a much bigger commitment in terms of cost, than the other. With your experience, what do you think?


    1. miriamgomberg says:

      Rachel, thanks for your comment! The level of service is definitely different in a bridal environment versus ready to wear, but the goal is the same. In bridal, my goal was to coordinate the entire wedding party’s attire and that started with the bride’s experience. If I was unable to convert her from the beginning, I would not see her sale or her bridesmaids, mother, mother-in-law, flower girl, invitations, tuxedos (you get the picture= $$$).

      Ready to wear service’s objective is to create an environment where the customer will come back in and shop with you on a regular basis, wedding or not. She may be a customer you see every time there is a new collection, or maybe just when there is a big sale. Either way, with all of the direct and indirect competition, you need to stay ahead on some level. I choose to compete on a higher level of customer service in order to convert the customer.

      Thanks again Rachel for opening up this dialogue. Miriam


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