Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Small Mistakes Cost You Big Money

My wife and I are currently looking for a new lighting fixture to hang above our dining room table. We want something relatively contemporary, and so far, have visited approximately 10-15 stores in search of the perfect light.

This quest has uncovered some incredible mistakes that are costing store owners big money in the form of lost sales. Here's an example of some of the situations we have encountered.

1. We walked into one store early in the evening and were greeted with a heavy rock station blasting over the speakers. Although I like rock music, it is definitely NOT appropriate for a retail environment unless you are selling music, extreme sporting goods, or cater directly to a demographic that appreciates this type of music. Based on the selection of product on display, I suspect this lighting store's target market is people between the ages of 35-70 which means their music choice was a significant mistake. I certainly can't picture my mother feeling comfortable making a purchase in this store. In fact, when I mentioned this scenario to her, she immediately said, "I wouldn't shop there!"

2. Another store promised the region's largest selection of lighting fixtures which definitely intriqued us. We dropped by the store, and indeed, they did have a fantastic selection of lights, including several that appealed to our individual tastes. However, very few of the lights were operable which meant we couldn't see what they looked like when lit. Call me silly but when I buy a light I expect to be able to see exactly how it will look when it's turned on.

3. We ventured into another store that had a very good selection of lighting fixtures. We were looking at one in particular and there was a salesperson nearby. She mumbled something to us about the light--I guess to help us--but what she said was incomprehensible and immediately left us to retreat behind the sales counter.

4. Store #4 had a website that appealed to my wife for a variety of reasons and it sounded like this might be the place we find our ideal dining room light. However, the first thing that struck us as we entered the store was the smell of stale cigarette smoke, and as non-smokers, this definitely turned us off. This store had given us the impression on their website that they had an extremely large selection of contemporary fixtures but we didn't see anything that caught out eye. Although there were a few wall hangings and paintings that were attractive we did not want to bring home the smell of stale smoke, so we left. Oh, did I mention that we were greeted by a small dog who barking at us until we left. What a great way to make your customers feel comfortable!

5. We went into another store and noticed several employees standing behind the sales counter, chatting with each other. We looked at lighting fixtures for several minutes (approximately 7-10) but at no time, did any of them make an attempt to assist us. I guess they figured if we needed help that we would ask. Too bad for them.

I could keep going but I think you get the picture. Each of these retailers made some serious blunders that cost them potential sales and profits. What is very unfortunate, is the fact that they probably don't even know it.

Take a good hard look at your business from a customer's perspective and start looking at the mistakes you might be making that are costing you money.


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