5 Ways to Give Your Super Shoppers the Royal TreatmentThese shoppers account for up to 70 percent of sales — they deserve some extra attention.
Meet the super shopper. Also known as the super consumer, this type of customer has an insatiable appetite for products in a particular category (like footwear) and offers supreme loyalty to stores that leave her satisfied. Super shoppers make up just 10 percent of your customer base, yet account for up to 70 percent of sales — making this customer archetype a compelling area of focus for a store owner who wants to boost profits.
“Because of super shoppers’ extensive purchases, any smart retailer will have noticed them and be paying special attention to these customers,” said consumer psychologist Bruce Sanders, author of “Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology.” But many retailers overlook opportunities to sell even more to super shoppers, he said. “Just because they buy so much from you, don’t assume they won’t buy more if you sell it properly.”
Super shoppers generally aren’t looking for discounts or deals, but rather intimacy, support and a “best friend” relationship from a retailer, said Sanders. Here’s how to tap into their emotional needs and encourage them to buy more from your store.
Help them discover details
A super shopper who loves black high heels might have a dozen pair and can point out the unique qualities that distinguish one from the other, said Sanders.
“Recognize the super shopper’s desire for ever-changing product specifications,” he said. “Even though the super shopper looks for differences in seemingly identical items, assist the process by pointing out differences yourself.”
Rather than directly naming small differences, like a slightly thicker heel, see if you can get the customer to notice it first, he suggested. “Don’t give too much initially. The super shopper likes to be teased. Ask them ‘Can you see what’s new about this item?’ and let them discover it for themselves.”
The customer might decide that these small details make this specific item perfect for an upcoming occasion and start trusting you as an expert in that product category.
Reveal hidden items
If you have an item on hand that you think one of your super shoppers will love, don’t put it on the shelf, said Sanders. “Keep items behind the counter or otherwise out of sight when you anticipate the arrival of a super shopper. Revealing a hidden item, especially if done with a flourish, stimulates the super shopper’s urge to buy.”
Sanders said you can look to “The Price Is Right” for inspiration. Mimic the models’ hand gestures and describe the item with a dramatic tone and vibrant language. The revelation will make the item feel covetable to the customer.
“People like items better when they’re revealed to them. It’s the unveiling that can lead to liking items,” he said.
Carrying collectibles is another way to drive sales from super shoppers and attract more of them to your store. The opportunity to complete a set is a “purchase trigger” for this type of customer, said Sanders.
“Introduce new items in the set periodically, at which point you rotate out older versions from your regular inventory. This encourages super shoppers to buy now,” he said.
Stocking collectibles also gives you an opportunity to show super shoppers that you’re looking out for them, he explained. “If the customer is having trouble getting that special treasure to fill in the missing spot in the collection, help them find it, such as from a collectors’ group. Keep your super shoppers as dedicated collectors.”
Once they know they can rely on you, super shoppers will consider your store one of their favorites.
Honor special requests
“No” is a customer’s least favorite word, said Sanders. This is especially true when it comes to super shoppers, who may feel betrayed if you don’t honor their special requests.
“Rather than saying, ‘No, we don’t do that,’ say yes and set a price for it.”
Even though it might cost you a little extra to rush a customer’s delivery or personalize a product, it will likely benefit your bottom line in the long run, said Sanders. Your extra effort shows super shoppers that you support them, and they’ll continue to buy from you in the future.
“Super consumers are such a valuable source of revenue that you want to find a way, if at all possible, to satisfy their requests. Though there aren’t a lot of them around, they make a substantial difference in the bottom line.”
If you must tell a customer “No,” use the phrase, “We don’t do that,” said Sanders. This implies a store policy and makes the decision feel less like a betrayal.
Host exclusive events
Super shoppers want to deepen their relationship with a store beyond treating it as merely a place to buy products. Hosting exclusive events for this customer base is a great way to get them to engage with your store, said Sanders.
“Help shoppers cultivate a consumption vocabulary — the way people speak about certain products, like wine. You can do that with special events, like cooking lessons with a celebrity chef or talks with experts,” he said.
Sanders referred to one retailer who saw much success by hosting an exclusive shopping event. On her annual buying trip to France, she’d pick up handbags, dresses, accessories and jewelry to sell to her super shoppers. Then she’d throw a shopping party for her customers when she came home.
“She’d tell them, ‘When I was in Paris, I saw this and I knew this was for you.’ You can imagine how nice that made the customers feel.” Rather than feeling like she’s making a purchase, this presentation makes the shopper feel she’s getting a gift or souvenir from a best friend, which is exactly what this type of customer is looking for.
For the super shopper, making purchases is about more than what’s in the shopping bag — it’s about building an emotional connection with a retailer. Showing these VIP customers that they can trust and rely on you will keep them coming back for their dozenth pair of black shoes, or whatever item they love.