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Who’s the Elephant in your store?

Before I explain the art of catching a herd of elephants in your store, I thought I’d start with a few facts that many retail marketers appear to forget – judging by the relatively small percentage of marketing spend devoted to in-store marketing versus other more ‘sexy’ channels, such as television, radio and digital.

Let’s start with some facts

Two key facts – 70% of brand selections are made in-store and 68% of buying decisions are unplanned. Even if these facts are out by a percentage or three, they should be enough for any marketeer to re-evaluate the amount of time, effort and budget devoted to that ‘moment of truth’ – the moment at which the customer decides to buy or not to buy; the moment when a retailer can physically touch the customer.

So who is the elephant?

If I was to ask you how many shoppers walk into your store every day who don’t buy – would you know the answer?

There you go. That’s what we at Howell Penny call the elephant in the store – the shopper who has made the decision to walk into your store, interact with your products, people and processes…yet leaves without buying anything.

Now we know who the elephant is – and I think we all know there are plenty of them – all you need to do is catch their eye and persuade them to purchase your goods or services. Simple, no?

The art of Elephant catching!

The disappointing (but unsurprising) truth is that there is no ‘silver bullet’ to convince your elephants to open their wallets or purses and spend in-store. Having said that, over the years, we have determined 9 key C’s (9C’sTM) which will help you convert your elephants from unrealised sales to customers, even loyalists, by feeding them 9 key ingredients.

So what do you need to feed the elephants?

All elephants like their retailers to be convenient. They like to park close by or have easy access using good transport links. They also like to have good proximity to other shops and when they go in-store they like wide doors and aisles; available baskets and trolleys and checkouts that are open, fast and easy.

OK, so navigation would have been a better word but it doesn’t start with ‘c’. Elephants need to be able to easily navigate to what they are looking for or they give up easily. A sympathetic store layout, clearly defined categories and good product groupings all help an elephant open their purse or wallet.

There are all types of elephants – reluctant ones, bargain hunters, hungry ones, even desperate ones. If you don’t know what type of elephant is attracted to your products or services as well as which types shop in-store, then you need to spend time understanding the type of products and services, quality, range and pricing that attract them.

All Elephants love cleanliness. They like uncluttered stores, with not too many similar products and neatly stacked shelves. The same is true of the sales staff – keep ‘em clean to make elephants keen! I won’t even mention the changing rooms and restrooms! (Doh!)

As well as cleanliness they also like their comfort. If an elephant is comfortable, then they’ll stay longer! Make sure you have the right refreshments, seating, aroma, music and heating. Get it right and you’ll not be able to push them out the door.

Elephants may have good eyesight (yes, I know they don’t, but just stay with me here), but they want the product benefits and value to be clearly displayed. They want to be helped with their decision-making. This means that ratings or reviews are good, as is product differentiation – such as confirming which products are new, in clearance, latest technology etc.

Don’t underestimate the power of your store staff – or colleagues as we rightly like to call them nowadays. They are essential to your success. They not only represent your brand, they also help your elephants to choose, look them in the eye and ultimately take money off them! They need to make the elephants feel at ease.

Elephants are very inquisitive animals. They like to touch and experience the products they are thinking of buying. The more elephants can get their “trunks” on, the better!

Last but not least, elephants like a sense of theatre when they enter a store. They are a sucker for a promotion, a surprise, a seasonal sale, a demonstration, new product or even an affinity tie-in – there really is nothing an elephant likes more than a party – so make sure there is a party everyday in your store!

So there you go. Nine easy ways to catch an elephant – if you don’t feel like you can catch them all on your own, please call Howell Penny, AKA ‘The Elephant Catchers’.