Have you considered available seating as an integral part of customer service?
The weary, bag laden, and soon impatient non-shopper leaves to shop elsewhere or coaxes the rest of the groups to leave. It’s a lose-lose for you and your shoppers. So, why encourage the non-shopper to become grumpy and negatively influence your happy shoppers?
The most overlooked fixture for your store could be a simple bench.
A bench (or seating of any type) is an important facet of good customer service and therefore, an item with a deceptively good ROI. For mostly unjustified reasons, small shop owners often have a negative mindset toward extra seating in a store.
Rethink. During the holidays, gift shoppers are often in groups – family, visiting relatives, vacationing couples. And they get weary. And since not every member of the group wants to shop in your particular store, there is that awkward, and often uncomfortable, situation of waiting for others to shop. Big deal, you say? You’re not in the business of providing seating?
Small business brick and mortar is typically limited in floor space, but there is always place for a strategically positioned chair or bench. Isn’t it better if no one leaves until the active shoppers are done shopping your establishment? You may even leave a positive visual imprint for the next shopping visit. They’ll remember, “They have a place where I can sit.”
And because of certain health issues, seating may be a requirement during long shopping days. Do you want anyone to avoid your establishment due to lack of seating for Aunt Sally with her arthritic knees?
Do be mindful of positioning seating in a positive manner. Find a spot that creates a sense of belonging rather than of being placed in a cramped corner. And if you are a clothing store, place seating near the dressing room to enable “show and tell.” Shoppers are more likely to buy when they can get that “second opinion.”
Seating means comfort
Ask other shop owners who DO have seating in their store. What benefits are they reaping?
They’ll likely tell you potentially grumpy and impatient non-shoppers are relieved to find a place to sit. Their mood shifts more positively and the begin to observe the surroundings. They soon notice the inviting displays and consider shopping with you, too (because you have invested time and good marketing principles in your merchandising and displays, right?).
Create a sense of welcome
You absolutely must train your staff to take a moment to engage with the seated! The power of interaction is immeasurable for positive reinforcement. Keep bottles of water and snacks on hand. It all goes together.
QR codes – a Marketing Opportunity not to be ignored
You can easily create QR code and signage to enable seated visitors (and everyone else):
- to go to your website
- to read your blog
- to subscribe to your newsletter
- to become a follower on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, and all your other Social Media sites
- to leave a review on sites like Yelp and more!
Give the seated an excuse to post or tweet about their experience waiting for their friends!
No money in the budget for a sturdy bench or chairs?
Buy used. Craigslist, Ebay, your local consignment store, used office furniture stores (very sturdy furniture), garage sales, … even your house!
Seating really is so simple and yet frequently dismissed. Don’t overlook it – especially through the holidays.