There's no doubt that customers can be persuaded to buy more if you remind them of the opportunities. We know that 'Suggestive selling' by staff can increase promotional penetration by as much as 300%, and drive impulse purchasing by 100%. Yet, according to new research from HIM, just 2% of convenience shoppers said staff informed them of a promotion and only 4% said staff suggested a product for them to purchase.
The 'best-in-class' retailer is currently David Sands, where an amazing 35% of shoppers said staff had suggested a product to them. The company has really bought into the idea of suggestive selling, specifically pushing trial of their new own-label products with very positive results.
Many retailers worry that the suggestive approach will annoy shoppers yet, according to HIM, 90% don't mind being sold to in this way, including 17% who actually like it.
Spar UK understands the benefits of 'suggestive selling' it has a 'SKU of the week', where staff are told to upsell one product. When it was pineapple week, sales went from 183 to 5,000! They aren't necessarily always price reduced, they may be new or seasonal products instead, and staff are incentivised to upsell.
Suggestive selling by store employees remained the most effective technique of promoting a new item, according to retailers in the US perhaps indicative of the importance of creating store-level awareness of new products. More than eight out of 10 US c-store retailers rated suggestive selling by store employees as the most effective promotion method for new items last year, this even came above running price promotions.
Suggestive selling tips:
Staff should feel free to suggest additional things. Although it sounds annoying, it works. If just one out of 10 customers try something new, that's a 10% increase in items sold just for asking
Suggest something just once and wait until the customer has indicated what he or she is purchasing. Don't interrupt them. This could anger them, or cause them to substitute the product you are suggesting rather than add it to the order
Staff must be sensitive to queues and times when speed of service is more important
The product needs to be within easy reach, especially if there is a queue
Don't just suggest anything that comes to mind. Try to suggest something relevant to what the customer is buying, or to the customer's purchase occasion
Try having a specific SKU or promotion of the week, but again, only if relevant to the customer.