When you run a brick-and-mortar retail store, you encounter an array of customer personalities. From spendthrifts to the prodigal ones, from the choosy to the confused ones, from easy-going to the annoying ones. You have to strategically deal with every kind of buyer persona to stay in business.
Though sometimes it will be only the fault of a difficult and demanding customer for any unpleasant situation at the store, still you have to deal with the customer very patiently and tactically. In the times of social media marketing and Google reviews, you cannot afford to create indignant customers who are unhappy with you.
Every marketer knows how to benefit from the buyer’s journey in marketing. But marketers can use insights from defined buyer personas to improve their strategy and vice-versa. Data insights from the email marketing team support the entire process of persona development too with the help of email marketing tools.
So, what can you do? The best strategy is to know all the different types of buyer personas and to learn the ways to deal with each of them. As a smart merchant and a prudent retailer, you can gather critical information, deploy retail technology tools and hire trained staff for efficiently dealing with the various types of retail shoppers. But before that, it is crucial to know who you are dealing with and how to find out the buyer persona? This article explains in detail all major retail buyer personas that retailers encounter in their brick and mortar stores and suggests strategies to deal with each of them.
Types of Retail Buyer Personas:
Retail footfalls are mostly unpredictable, but what is more unpredictable is the traits, whims, opinions, choices, and personalities of the buyers. The pandemic has already lowered the retail footfalls and shifted the business in favor of online businesses. When you are competing with not only other retailers but also online adversaries, the need for a tailored approach to serving different buyer personas is more critical than ever. This article builds upon the basic premise offered by Francesca Nicasio, a global retail expert and content strategist, who elaborated on some of the common retail buyer personas that retailers encounter on an everyday basis. The article further adds a few more types and provides a holistic view of retail buyer personas and how retailers can adopt various strategies to manage them like a pro.
Below are the 10 Types of Retail Customer Persona:
1. The Cross-Checkers
Such customers may come to your shop with a friend, a relative, a boss, etc. They may even come to your store on their own. However, they may not buy any product. They may just check, feel, try, and compare products in your store to purchase the same online at more competitive prices. These people keep comparing the prices on online applications and then will keep the product down. (a sign to detect them in your store).
The only thing that prevents this type of customer from buying from you is the ‘value difference.’ Eliminate it, and you bag a sale. You can also check the same product online, read reviews and take note of any service-related issues faced by online shoppers. If you can, offer the same price as is available online. If you can’t, then offer in-store benefits, free delivery, loyalty rewards, quick replacement, finance options, buying assistance, etc. The key is to talk them through this and convert by offering a value proposition.
I was once double-checking at an electronic store. The owner must have perceived this. He asked me, and I straightforwardly told him that the fans he was selling at $110 were available at $99 online. He offered me the same at $99, plus he assured me he would send an electrician to get them fitted at a highly discounted rate. He made the buy more affordable and convenient for me. (Value-addition). Guess what! I had no second thoughts!
2. The Self-Dependents
When your eCommerce site isn’t selling enough, it could be tricky figuring out what went wrong. Some customers have been shopping for the same items for years. Some are so well-versed in particular products that they don’t need to spend time inside the store. These customers barge into your store, pick the items they need and just intend to get the billing done. They are super-fast and won’t take any cross-selling or upselling suggestions from you. (they don’t have time or patience for it).
Don’t try to catch a shadow. Simply, don’t interrupt them; answer only if they ask you something and expedite the billing process for them. You can use reliable POS software that makes the billing and checkout process extremely convenient, faster, and error-free. Period.
3. The Explorers (Introverts)
People are not the same. Not all like salesmen hovering over them as soon as they walk into a store. Some people like to shop with privacy, space, and at their own speed. Some may be introverts who will not like to convey their interests to salespeople. They would prefer being left alone to decide after getting a thorough look inside the store. However, they are potential buyers.
Just leave them alone. They would come to you if they need something or will directly bring the product to the counter. Such people should not be bothered nor trailed after by the salesman. Rest they will leave the store soon. You can casually pass a smile to them in case your eyes meet. This way, they will feel welcomed and more comfortable. But don’t ask them anything.
4. The Well-Informed shoppers
Gen Z shoppers with access to smartphones and knowledge of websites such as Yelp, TrustPilot, Google Business, etc., fall into this category. These shoppers can analyze products by reading reviews, product descriptions, articles, etc. These shoppers also check their prices on online eCommerce sites such Amazon, eBay, etc., before entering the retail store. Some of these may know more about a product than you do, and therefore any uninformed comment from your side can put you into an embarrassing situation.
Understand the needs, features required, and type of product desired by the customer. Increase your store’s online presence, visibility, reach, and reviews and you can take the help of CRM software. Analyze prices quoted on online websites and keep your prices near to them. If you can’t beat the online price, offer something else: insider advice, tips, accessories, future discount coupons, personalized services, better support, or anything that makes you a compelling buy. Be smart, do your research, and know thoroughly about the product you are selling. Don’t forget to compliment sincerely for the knowledge the customer displays.
5. The Indecisive shoppers
The indecisive customers are those who are unable to figure out the exact needs or are incompetent to analyze the features, specifications, or prices of the products they wish to buy. Options confuse them, and they are not even able to decide whether they want the product or not. Indecisiveness stems from multiple factors such as budget, current price, prior knowledge, current expectations, poor knowledge, and the inability to understand the latest technology.
Such shoppers are not able to articulate what exactly they want and have a hard time deciding. They might pick up an item and again leave after counter thoughts. If not dealt with properly, they might buy and regret it later, and you may have to face a customer who wants to return a product.
Talk to them and help them decide. Use your personal experience for their benefit. Provide them with the best possible suggestion for buying. Mostly, retailers selling laptops, digital gadgets, smartwatches, furniture, construction material such as tiles, etc., will face confused buyers. Most people have little idea of how to purchase these things. The key is to educate them. Create trust and sell the right thing to them and not the one that is more profitable to you.
6. The Negotiators
The negotiators are after a bargain, the lowest prices, and the most profitable deal. No matter how much price you quote them, they will ask for more discounts and negotiate for the lowest possible price they can get.
If you are a fixed-price retailer, then you can bet on your quality and services. If you are flexible with your prices, then always mention the upper range of your products and the discount you offer. If they ask for more discounts, then first convey the features, services, and competitive prices that you offer. Always show that you are trying your best to offer them the best prices that you can. For example, you can say that you will check your system for the best price you can offer, or you can mention that the system will not accept that price. This way, you show them that you are considerate.
7. The Loyal Ones
The loyal ones are the easiest ones to deal with. They already know you, your methods, practices, products, services, etc. They come to you as you know their preferences, buying routine, and price zones. The shopper-seller relationship matters here the most.
Value them. Don’t take them for granted. Give them preference and exclusive services. Nothing makes them happy more than you treating them like a family.
8. The Time-Killers
Some customers demand too much attention and will ask too many questions. On the one hand, you may appreciate their enthusiasm, but on the flip side, they hamper you from servicing other customers. Now, if you are dealing with them when no other customers are in your shop, then there is no issue. However, if they prevent you from focussing on all customers equally, then you might be in a fix.
Always keep manuals such as FAQs, guidelines, price lists, buyer’s guides, and feature documents handy in the shop. For customers needing more information than you can offer in a limited time, you can simply hand over the flyers, brochures, catalogs, FAQs, pitch decks, etc. You can also politely ask them to come at a different time so you can offer them more information.
9. The Combative Ones
Some people will argue, engage you in difficult discourse, complain about your products and services they bought recently, and will create a scene at your shop. Now, even if their complaint is genuine, they are negatively impacting other shoppers in your store. Some customers may be rude and bombard you without any fault.
Keep apologizing! You may argue why when it is not your fault? Well! If you get into an argument, then other shoppers will paint a different image of you in their minds. They might think the same will happen to them. However, if you subtly mention the customer’s fault and still apologize, even agree to refund or credit in some way, then you will gain the natural sympathy of your fellow customers. People are wise. They are quick to understand who is at fault. So, if you remain polite, you have won the battle. However, if the customer displays signs of any violent behavior, then it is prudent to call security for your and your customer’s safety.
10. The Show-off Ones
These customers buy for pleasure, display, and for status. As even asking for price may lower their reputation, they will just ask you to pack the stuff and will move to the billing section. You must be damn lucky to get these ones in your store.
Service them whole-heartedly, praise them for their choice and class, and you can put them into your loyal category. They are highly profitable and easy to deal with.
Retailing has changed its entire structure and practices for good. Customer-centricity is the most profitable retail strategy in digital times. Learning your customers, their behavior, traits, and preferences can not only help you serve them better but also make you stand ahead of your competitors. Use technological assistance such as retail management software that relieves you from other time-consuming tasks, administrative work, inventory management, and many more so that you can focus on your most valued entity– the customers.
Also, keep your workers and yourself well-dressed and properly masked. A recent HBR study found that retail shoppers preferred interacting with formally dressed and well-masked employees rather than casually dressed ones.
If you meet and service the above types daily, hats off to you! You are a soldier. I also hope that the tips and strategies mentioned in the post will add more deadly weapons to your arsenal to combat on the forefront of your retail chamber. If you found this post interesting, don’t forget to share.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
For any types of queries, contact us on info[at]namasteui.com.