Using front-line staff to reach out to infrequent shoppers

07May10

There’s a grocery store really close to my apartment, but I don’t shop there very often. The prices are too high and the service is too mediocre for it to be a regular shopping choice. So, I only visit the store every 2-3 months, usually to pick up things that other stores don’t carry.

The last time I went into this nearby store, the cashier recognized me and mentioned that it’s been a while since they saw me. This brief exchange made me wonder: if a store has front-line staff that already recognize who shops there regularly and who only comes in for infrequent trips, they should be using that info in a productive way.

Here’s how the approach would work: start by telling your front-line staff (cashiers, customer service reps, etc.) to be on the lookout for shoppers who only visit the store occasionally, or used to shop there often and no longer do so. Generally, if your employees find themselves naturally saying “it’s been a while” or a similar phrase, that’s probably a good trigger for the next step.

Next, follow up the pleasantries with an offer that encourages the customer to return more frequently. This might be a discount on their next visit within 10 days, or a reward for reaching a certain level of aggregate spending over the next month or so. With a little bit of planning and preparation, this approach should convert quite a few occasional visitors into frequent shoppers.



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