Retail Tactics: The Wow Factor

Megan Swartz

Setting sales goals can greatly increase the bottom line in your business. Taking the time to explain the advantages in purchasing items that give you more bang for your buck help increase sales dramatically. It’s easy to allow customers to come in, browse the shelves, make a purchase usually based on price and walk out. But why do customers base their decisions on price? Most customers are not educated on these advantages as I mentioned above. When you train your sales team to take the time to work with the customers and explain the items with higher value it makes for a higher sale.

I remember one of the first trade shows I went to where we discovered the LELO brand. It took some convincing to get the other members of our management to believe we could sell these high-ticket items. We started out with the Nea, Gigi, Liv, Elise and Iris. We made a contest out of it. This is before we knew and understood exactly what we were working with. So month one we told our team of 30, everyone must participate in the contest and at least sell one during the month. In the first month the winner sold 12. Twelve! That was huge for us. She, might I add, accomplished this feat on graveyard shift. That’s an average of three per week.

In this business, most of the purchases being made are for fun and a luxury, not a necessity; so it is our jobs to educate customers and make their experience the best it can be in order to gain loyalty.

And so the bar was set. We began to offer sales incentives. The associate with the highest sales each week could write their own schedule. The associate with the highest sales each month would win a Visa gift card. We went from selling roughly 30 in one month to sometimes 100 in one week. We have associates that have sold 30 in one day. We have sales associates that have sold seven-plus in a single transaction. We have multiple associates that have sold silver and gold-plated items from $500 to $2,200 a piece. These high-end items have really helped us maintain over the past few years. When your customer count is down you have to figure out ways to bring up your dollar per head. It’s the only way to survive.

Toy cleaners, lubricants and sexual enhancement pills are also required items at Deja Vu. We felt cleaners should be sold with at least every few toy purchases. So on top of toy minimums we created weekly minimums for these other items as well. Even though it is the job of the sales associate to take the extra step to explain why a toy cleaner is safer for your toys and body than your household soaps, we realize that is not going to happen with every purchase. By requiring a minimum, our cleaner sales have gone through the roof. Sexual enhancement pills were an item that we wanted our staff to gain more knowledge on, again for the safety of the customer. The more information our sales members know, the more successful they are at selling an item.

One way we do this is by holding a 10-minute meeting prior to each shift to discuss these high-end items and demonstrate how they work. We also give the staff the opportunity to discuss their sales pitch. These pre-shift meetings also allow us to introduce new vendors/products as they hit the streets. We discuss current sales, upcoming events, policies and procedures and show praise for outstanding performance.

Holding these meetings has become a great way to ensure communication between staff and management. Our stores are large; when changes are made it might be a week before an associate has rotated to each section. When something is moved around on the floor or taken to an entirely different area of the store we can notify everyone at the start of his or her shift the moment it’s done. This greatly helps decrease confusion.

We also save the last few minutes to open the floor for discussion. This way if anyone has any questions, comments or concerns they are out in the open and addressed immediately. We do silly games to boost moral as well before hitting the sales floor. Starting with the manager and going to the left we name qualities we admire in one another. This gives everyone a chance to see that the effort they put forth is always noticed. We might discuss areas in ourselves that we feel could use improvement. In the meeting the following day we discuss as a group steps the individual could take to improve.

Our district manager gave us a challenge to “wow” our guests. The examples he gave us of different businesses that “wow” were: hotels that have four pillows on the bed instead of two, restaurants offering a mint with the check and gyms offering a piece of fruit on the way in. Whatever you can do to set yourself apart from the competition. So we created the “Let Me WOW You” table. This is a table that is manned by a sales associate during day and swing shift that their sole responsibility is to demonstrate high-end toys. Of course they have batteries as well and will test any and all toys on the wall for customers as well. Our “WOW Factor” gives our customers that extra information needed so they can make the best possible purchasing choice.

In this business, most of the purchases being made are for fun and a luxury, not a necessity; so it is our jobs to educate customers and make their experience the best it can be in order to gain loyalty. We also do everything we can to make our team members feel appreciated, because the happier they are the better we do as a company.

With more than 10 years working with Deja Vu’s various branches, Megan Swartz — Déjà Vu’s general manager and buyer — has made a name for herself as a dedicated and savvy, merchandising and operations-managing dynamo.