Sit For A Bit

Close your eyes, relax, breathe deep – and spend some money. Retailers have long known that less-stressed shoppers are likely to browse longer, but there’s also evidence that they’ll also be more receptive to higher prices. A recent study in the “Journal of Marketing Research” found that relaxed shoppers were willing to pay up to 15% more for goods than less relaxed ones.

“If I, as a retailer, can get you to sit for a bit, the chances of me selling you something are infinitely better,” says marketing consultant Paco Underhill, the author of Why We Buy. Odds also improve, Mr. Underhill says, “if there’s some place for a shopper to ‘park her accessories’, like a husband or boyfriend. That takes so much tension off of the floor”.

I believe that this is a great lesson for any flooring dealer that wants to get off of the “greatest sale ever” hamster wheel. Contrary to what some believe, not everyone buys on price alone. Many desire a pleasant shopping experience. If you don’t believe this, just look around. Whether it’s a $5 Starbucks or a $50,000 Cadillac, people are gladly buying not only the product, but the experience as well.  The key factor is that both must be distinctive and memorable.

Take a hard look at your showroom. Does it give the appearance of someplace to relax and be comfortable? How soft are the chairs? How soothing is the music? How fresh is the coffee? How fresh are the flowers in the vase? How pleasant and engaging is the staff?

There is a reason why a designer showroom uses soft ambient lighting while K-Mart has a “blue light special”. Good merchants know who will respond to each approach. If you strive to raise your average sale, how important is it to have an inviting showroom? It’s critical! Huge corporations with large budgets both set the trends and do the marketing research for us. Pay close attention. The amount that customers are willing to spend with you depends upon it.

Tom Jennings

Monday, November 28, 2011