The Greeting Part 2

I think that it is sometimes assumed that when new employees join our stores that they know how to properly greet our customers.  After all, they did greet us during the interview.  Unfortunately it has been my experience that many store employees do not know how to properly greet a customer. It seems in most retailers today, if an employee makes any effort to greet a customer the management is satisfied.  (As for those employees that are simply not inclined to greet customers, that is another issue all together.)

So what does a great customer greeting look like.  Here I will break it down.

Pre-Greeting  It is important that employees maintain their sight-lines so they can check for customers. If engaged in tasks, an employee should look up regularly from their work.

Acknowledge  If an employee spots a customers they should acknowledge them with eye contact and a smile.  A nod helps a customer know that they have been spotted.  If the customer maintains eye contact you know they need help and you should move to the next phase. If the customer nods and smiles in return but then looks away and  continues their wandering, you can assume that they do not need any immediate help.

Approach  If the customer maintains eye contact, you should approach them immediately. Walk towards them with a certain sense of urgency to show that you feel they are important.Step up to them and stop an arm’s length away from them.  The is the generally acceptable distance to maintain when talking with a customer.

If the customer backs off, do not move towards them.  The want more space.  If the customer moves toward you, hold your ground, they are likely a “close talker.” If a customer makes you uncomfortable being so close, simple pick up some product and hold it in front of you as if you needed to pick up that item as part of your work.

Engage  Now engage the customer.  First as a human being, not as a walking wallet.  Extend a friendly greeting to develop rapport than pivot to helping them with any immediate needs such as way-finding or a simple question.  Finally, you will be in position to move onto helping fulfill their needs.

Simple, effective, professional.

The Greeting Part 1: That one didn’t count!

The non-greeting

I was out doing some shopping the other day and went to our local outlet mall looking for a pair of athletic pants.  They are nothing more than fancy, dressy sweat pants but they are comfortable and as a matter of fact I was wearing a pair when I went into their makers store.

Image result for nike swoosh

I was greeted warmly by the greeter/security at the front of the store as I continued into the store looking for the pants.  There was an employee wandering in my general direction.  As he passed, without making eye contact or slowing down, he asked if I was doing okay. Without hearing my response, he continued on his way.

All I wanted to know was if they had the pants I was wearing in stock and where they might be located.  A transactional customer that was looking to make a quick purchase. Easy money.  But this employee did not have the inclination to greet me in a proper fashion.  In fact, I bet that if you had asked him, he would have said that he had properly greeted me and that I did not need any help.  I would like to think that he had been trained to greet customers as part of his on-boarding.  But his greeting did not count.  Other than giving him the peace of mind that he had greeted me, it was completely ineffective.

( I soon found what I was looking for and quickly made my purchase.)

Shopko Bankruptcy

Update: An additional 139 stores was added to the closure list on February 9th.

Shopko announced today that they had filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection.  This was not a huge surprise as the company has been struggling for years.  The company announced the closure of 105 stores.  As is often the case with these announcements, there is a rush to see if “your Shopko (or Sears, Kmart, etc.) is closing.”

On a recent road trip in eastern Oregon and Washington, I traveled through Walla Walla, WA. and visited a Shopko store.  The store is located in the Wall Walla Town Center, a recently redeveloped mall.  Prior to redevelopment it was the Blue Mountain Mall that had opened in1989, was considered a “dead mall” in the 2000s and went bankrupt in 2012. While the Walla Walla store that I visited will remain open, the store itself has the feeling one gets as of late in a Sears or Kmart.

It did not help that it was located next to this Gottschalks store.

Gottschalks went bankrupt themselves in July of 2009.  This store has been vacant for nearly 10 years adjacent to the Shopko.

Location, location, location.

 

How the 1% Shop

On a recent visit to one of the tonier shopping areas in Vancouver BC, I ran across an example of how the 1%’ers shop.

Of course, Versace shoppers would not be driving Civics.  Parked out front.

Another Airport Find

I am always on the lookout for retail brands that expand their reach by merchandising in airports.  On a recent lay-over in Seattle, I ran across this vending machine.

Beecher’s is a small artisanal cheesemaker in Seattle.

Muji in PDX

Muji of Japan recently opened a store in a storied retail location.  The store is located in the 100 year old Meier & Frank building in downtown Portland returning a “department store” to this respected storefront.

The name is derived from Mujirushi (no-brand) Ryōhin (quality goods), Muji is noted by its design minimalism, emphasis on recycling, avoidance of waste in production and packaging, and no-logo or “no-brand” policy.

Inventory includes men’s and women’s clothing, home furnishings, food and stationary items. Also included in the store is a coffee shop and an alteration center.