To Prepare Your Retail Store for the Holidays, Train!

To Prepare Your Retail Store for the Holidays, Train!

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a business and no one seems to know anything about the products they’re selling? You’re asking for help and they’re sending you to the wrong aisle, burying their heads in the computer — or worst of all, shaking their head and shrugging. Not only does this erode customer confidence, it usually ends with no sale. It certainly won’t inspire repeat business! Why would anyone return to a store where the staff are clueless about what they’re selling?

Our goal is to provide as much knowledge to our vendors as possible, so that they can properly guide their patrons to the best buying decisions. How can this be accomplished? Store trainings! Regular store trainings are the most effective way to avoid the dreaded shrug and watch your business thrive. It all boils down to these three elements: foot traffic, product knowledge and training benefits.

Everyone wants to put some meaning into a gift, and it’s the salesperson’s job to give them that product knowledge as part of the purchase.

The fourth financial quarter of the year is notorious for high foot traffic — real live people pounding the pavement at brick-and-mortar stores. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa all fall in “Q4,” so it makes sense that it exceeds all other seasons in terms of dollars spent during in-person visits. It goes without saying that as a retailer, you want to optimize your sales during this time, and ensure customers are buying the proper items, so they aren’t returning them the day after Christmas! After all, this is the time when people are not only motivated to shop, they are more or less required to find something for everyone on their list. Why not turn their obligation into something that exceeds their expectations, and even gets them talking to their friends about how your store is the perfect go-to place for gift ideas, whether it’s fun stocking stuffers or something more substantial?

The key to maximizing foot traffic is preparation. Walk through the store as if you were the consumer. What products do you have front-racked? Are there gift ideas spelled out for people who aren’t quite sure what they’re looking for? Are the displays eye-catching and leading the customer on a path to more and more items? Get your “store experience” plan in place well before the panicked shoppers arrive. That way, instead of frantically pulling items from other areas on the fly, you can greet customers at each pre-prepared stop along their journey, and chat them up about the products that catch their eye.

Products are the star attraction. That’s why product knowledge is the best way to ensure sales success. It’s really that simple. Make sure that the customer is connecting with the product they want, or the product they want to buy for someone else. Ask questions to keep them engaged. “Who are you buying for?” or “Is this for yourself or a gift?” are great starters to get on the path to a sale. Then give them the highlights of the item they’re considering. What are its benefits? Who was it designed for? What has the feedback been from people who have purchased it before? These are all important factors in deciding whether or not you’re going to put something in your cart. If the sales representative has all the answers, it’s reassuring and creates an important connection.

An employee can be outgoing, attentive and helpful, but if they don’t know whether or not a product works better for men or women, that’s not going to translate well. We want the individuals selling our products to feel so comfortable with the product information that it just rolls off their tongue. That way, they’re in the perfect position for an upsell! We love trainings on product pairings, which benefits the consumer because employees can pass on that knowledge and create a more fulfilling experience for themselves and the person they’re buying a gift for. As a gift giver, it feels satisfying to have a “story” to go along with a gift. Not just, “I found this myself on the rack and thought it looked okay,” but rather, “The woman at the store says it’s the absolute best hands-free massage gel, and told me that it pairs beautifully with these candles.” Everyone wants to put some meaning into a gift, and it’s the salesperson’s job to give them that product knowledge as part of the purchase.

Advice and guidance are especially important when it comes to intimate products used on sensitive areas of the body, because a customer might feel inhibited about returning the item, not wanting to talk about it further since they “got it wrong.” They are far less likely to return for future purchases if they were steered in the wrong direction the first time. Incorrect information doesn’t just hinder one sale, it disconnects the customer from the whole experience of shopping for intimate products. On the flip side, a great experience can also lead to one of the most valuable sales tools out there: positive word of mouth.

The benefits of a well-trained staff are plentiful. Improving sales is the most obvious benefit, but training can also reduce staff turnover. How? Imagine you’re working in a store and you keep failing to close sales because you just can’t seem to connect customers with the right products. You’ve read all the labels and gone online to find talking points, but you’re not closing deals. Your manager thinks you’re not trying hard enough, which makes you resentful, and the cycle continues until one day you quit or get laid off. Now imagine that you attend a store training and get in-person advice on how to hold the products, show them off, talk about their benefits and upsell potential. You learn little details about how the product came to be, what the focus groups were like, and maybe even some funny anecdotes to share about the development or marketing of the product. Now you’ve got some investment in what you’re selling, and you feel confident out on the floor. Suddenly your sales are soaring, the manager is happy and you’re receiving a bonus. Thorough product trainings also ensure that staff can answer questions with ease on the spot and overcome any obstacles to a sale with key facts and details. A well-trained staff is a happy, productive one, which reflects back to the customer.

Let’s return to our walk-in experience. You know that feeling when you’re talking to a salesperson and they know all about the products they’re selling? Yeah, that’s what we want, too.

Jared Pomerance has been with System JO for more than three and a half years, and a road warrior for more than seven. He went from personally completing weekly routes on the road to planning routes for others to maximize bandwidth for himself and System JO.


Copyright © 2024 Adnet Media. All Rights Reserved. XBIZ is a trademark of Adnet Media.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission is prohibited.

More Articles


A Look at the Evolution of Pleasure-Enhancing Pumps

Even though the pleasure industry is famously innovative, most “new” products are still ultimately reimagined versions of previous ones. They expand on the core idea by introducing a new feature or solution that takes the original concept to a new level of sensation, functionality or convenience.

Rebecca Weinberg ·

Platforming the Pleasure Industry's Voice Through Voting

Very early in my business career, I learned not to mix business with politics or religion. This was a foundational tenet that just made sense. For much of my career, that was easy. However, it has become increasingly difficult to avoid bringing politics into business.

Ken Sahn ·

The ABCs of POS Systems for Adult Store Owners

What point-of-sale system is best for your adult business? Figuring that out can be frustrating, since the numerous options and acronyms don’t easily translate into a clear checklist of features and benefits you can weigh.

Sean Quinn ·

How Pleasure Brands Can Leverage Strategic PR Amid Mainstream Media Layoffs

Thanks to the mainstreaming of intimacy products, pleasure brands can now gain broad exposure in all kinds of publications, from Cosmo to Allure to Good Housekeeping. Unfortunately, the economic uncertainty dominating the world and challenging businesses has hit the media sector particularly hard.

Kathryn Byberg ·

WIA Profile: Ruth Arceo

In the beginning, all Ruth Arceo knew was that she dreamed of being a buyer — but when the opportunity presented itself for a career in the adult world, she found she’d struck it rich. Arceo is the lucky lady who gets to pick and choose how to line the shelves at The Pleasure Chest in West Hollywood, California.

Women In Adult ·

CalExotics Founder and CEO Susan Colvin Reflects on Brand's 30-Year Legacy

Thirty years ago, back when there were only hard plastic sex toys in tan and black, Susan Colvin had a vision of what sex toys could be. And so she set out to create her own company, California Exotic Novelties, which for three decades has been a pioneer, continually reimagining and expanding the pleasure products market.

Kim Airs ·

How to Sell Shoppers on Water-Friendly Toys

From soothing self-care in the bath to the invigorating spray of a shower, water can introduce new dimensions of pleasure, unlock unique sensations and provide a sensual backdrop for intimate exploration.

Carly S. ·

Why BDSM Furniture and Sex Machines Make an Ideal Match

For BDSM enthusiasts and curious newbies alike, a big part of the fun is discovering and exploring exciting new sensations and scenarios. One way to level up is by combining or layering pleasures you already enjoy, and one surefire way to do that is with BDSM furniture.

Rebecca Weinberg ·

Tips for Boosting Ecommerce Revenue With Behavioral Insights

At our marketing agency, we focus on using real data to make better decisions for our clients. We believe every action a visitor takes on a website can tell us something important. This helps us shape our strategies and assist our clients in turning casual website visitors into loyal customers.

Lauren Bailey ·

A Look at the Do's and Don'ts of Gift-With-Purchase Promos

Imagine you’re at a store, deciding between two products with similar packaging, features and pricing. You’re not predisposed toward either brand and you haven’t seen any reviews — but one of them offers, “Free gift with purchase!” Does that win you over?

Vanessa Rose ·
Show More