Have you ever ordered ice cream from room service?  We haven’t – and yet when we saw this note on the desk of our hotel room last night, we gave it serious consideration.  The reason?  The Monaco suggested it.

We all know that Amazon has perfected the trick of suggested additional or alternate products. They show you items purchased by customers looking at the same item you’re considering.  And they suggest products for you to buy based on your browsing history.

But what an online giant like Amazon can’t do is offer you items you didn’t know you wanted.  It’s a safe bet that someone returning to a hotel room after an evening out might find ice cream tempting when it’s suggested – but it’s not something that most people think they want.

How can you use the power of suggestion to your advantage?  As a bricks and mortar retailer, you have the opportunity to tempt a shopper by recommending a product personally.  Greet every customer, and engage them in conversation if they are open to that.  You may find that the shopper is looking for a gift for someone in particular, or has a special interest that will help you suggest what items they look at while browsing the store.

Not every interaction can in person, of course, and that is where shelf-talker signage comes into play.  It’s easy to create a standardized format for small signs on your computer, and to use these throughout the store to give information about the virtues of your products.  Displays can also be used effectively to “suggest” the desirability of different items by showing them being used in a home setting, or combined together for subtle cross-selling.

Don’t forget to make use of your email blasts and social media to prompt customer interest in new arrivals and hot products.  Whenever possible, these posts should include people – because the most persuasive suggestion is a personal recommendation.  If someone enjoying a dish of ice cream had suggested I have some, that is a temptation I would have found hard to resist.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder

Please note that there won’t be a Specialty Shop Retailing blog next week due to my travel schedule.