“Would you like a fresh salad with that?” asks the young woman behind the counter at your local pizza parlor. At a drive through fast food joint, you don’t even have to wait to be asked, you can look up and see mouth-watering photos of piping-hot, crispy fries with that burger you intend to order. Of course, you’re going to need the full meal deal after all.
It’s called suggestive selling. Whether you do it verbally or visually (or both), you’re appealing to your customer’s senses – including the sense that they’re getting even more than they wanted, for the best deal possible. This is why your fashion business should do more than just sell clothes.
Your customer comes in looking for a new pair of pants. But adding a sweater, coat, pair of shoes, scarf or maybe some jewelry completes the outfit. Now it’s customized just for them. And you’ve sold a whole lot more than a pair of pants.
Take it from Target, cross-selling works.
Faced with tougher-than-ever competition, this retail giant realized they were “making customers work too hard” to find what they wanted and discover shopping “finds.” So they started using mannequins to display entire outfits so shoppers could easily see how to combine items. Sales of those items increased 30%.
What else should you sell?
The key is appealing to your shopper “persona” – that ideal customer you love so much. What else would they want to buy? Showing them which articles of clothing to assemble into a really great outfit is a good start, but smaller accessories can help you sell more, too.
Accessories have an added advantage in that they are often lower-priced items, so it’s easy for shoppers to justify buying them. And, again, accessories can turn an off-the-rack (or off-the-mannequin) ensemble into a uniquely personalized statement.
You could display coordinating jewelry on shelves or risers next to a clothing display. Accessorize standing mannequins. Hang necklaces on torso mannequins, or with tops displayed on hangers. Many people are not very good at visualizing how items might work together, so they not only need your guidance, they truly appreciate it. They shop in your store because you offer interesting fashion options, but also because you help them make smart, fun buying decisions.
You’ll sell even more if your sales associates personally recommend add-ons. The more you know your merchandise, the better this works, so spend time with your people brainstorming which items to recommend with others.
Don’t neglect your cash wrap
Customers should be presented with add-on purchasing opportunities right up until it’s time to pay. Flank your cash wrap (and use a bit of the counter space, if there’s ample room) to offer yet more small but tempting impulse purchases that will help customers round out their apparel choices. More jewelry, lint brushes, travel size shoe shine kits, whatever helps them make the most of their purchases.
Your customers want clothing that defines and enhances their sense of self. By selling more than just clothes, you can help them reveal their inner fashionista and give your bottom line a boost, too.