by Steve Pruitt

StevePruitt-FEATURED.jpgQ: Our transaction rates have fallen off somewhat over the last year. Customers are either buying fewer items per transaction, or cheaper items. What can we do to combat this?

Steve Pruitt: I am not too surprised to read this, as I have heard similar comments from other merchants. So what can you do? First up, I would be talking to your sales staff to make sure that they are in the loop and understand the nature of the problem.

All indications are that customers have the ability to buy, but you have to ask for the sale. This means adding on those additional small items that build the transaction. Your sales staff should know how to do this—by adding accessories, showing optional pieces, etc.

Next, I would focus on the new customers that have shopped in the store over the last six months. The new customers are new opportunities, and many of them don’t come back to shop often enough. So, rev up your marketing machine and target these new customers with phone calls, emails and texts. Of course, this means that you are getting their contact information every time.

Lastly, you need to manage your inventory closely. Don’t let one late order get in the door. Look for incremental markups since they make a big difference over time. And, of course, do everything you do better. Set higher goals and strive for them. Good luck!

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