What is Retailing?
Retailing can be defined as the distributive activity that makes goods and services available to the final consumers. This means that it directs the flow of goods and services from the producers to the final users. Who then is a retailer? A retailer is an independent merchant middleman who serves as consumers purchasing agents. Generally, retailers are title takers. The success of any retail store or business depends on two main factors which are:
- The caliber of stores management
- Experience combined with proper planning
Although the fundamentals of selling are universal, the job of selling in retail stores or showrooms differs from other kinds of selling in several respects. In retail selling, potential buyers come face to face with the sales personnel. These buyers are thus, physically, financially and emotionally closer to buying than are most of the buyers contacted by other kinds of sales personnel.
Duties of Retailers
- Selling of goods and services to the final consumer (mutually beneficial)
- A retailer must offer customer services. He has the responsibility to ensure that customers do not get dissatisfied. He must be able to give directions as to the use of the product.
- Order filling
- Sorting and matching i.e preparation of the product for sale.
- Market intelligence gathering i.e getting information as regards customer’s needs, wants, changes in styles, fashion etc.
Steps in retailing
- Greeting the customer
- Determine the customer’s want. This could be done through
- Select merchandise to show customers
- Deliver the sales presentation. The sales presentation must be short, the strongest persuasive word must be uttered on time and agreement should be met on the brand to be bought before price is discussed.
- Demonstrate the merchandise: This may be done alongside the time the presentation in (4) above is being done since the timing is short. The demonstration should follow the AIDA principle which is : A- Attention, I- Interest, D- Desire, A- Action
- Handling of objection: Areas of objection could be based on the price, poor quality, delivery time etc. If your price is higher and you know this, you may first discuss why the price is higher.
- Close the sale: If you have brought many products as alternatives, when the buyer makes his choice, do not pack off the others until he has paid and left.
- Suggestion selling. E.g Why don’t you buy this too? Suggestion selling is getting the customer to make unplanned buying. It is the sale of items over and above those the customer requested. Generally suggestion reminds customers of other products needed or those they would soon need. Suggestions are received by customers as favours and hence are appreciated. Suggestion selling should only come after the initial actual sales are made. They take the form of questions such as “would that be all?” “now , what else?”. Suggestion selling is usually between related items eg when a person has bought a shirt, you now immediately offer a tie by asking “why not buy this to match it?”
The turnover techniques (T.O Technique)
The turnover technique is a useful tool in retail or showroom selling. It involves calling a superior sales person to handle a difficult customer. This sometimes magnifies the importance attached to the customer. The technique has been found useful in the banking and insurance sub-sector.
Problems in serving customers in a retail or showroom setting
- Serving decided and undecided customers. For this, short sales interview is desirable, backed up with considerable assistance.
- Serving casual lookers
- Dealing with several customers at once.
You may take permission from one buyer to serve another or you give the first buyer a paper or magazine to read while you are serving the others.
Where a group of people have come in to buy, first take your time to determine the leader of the group so that most of your time would be devoted to the leader.
Schewe, Charles D., and Alexander Hiam, The Portable MBA in Marketing
Gary Armstrong., and Philip Kotler, Marketing an Introduction
Philip Kotler., and Kevin Lane keller, Marketing Management (14th Edition)