Sunday, 27 January 2013

Retailers: keep current - watch those barcode Shopping Apps!

Have you seen today's Sunday Times The Apps List where they list 250 of the world's greatest apps? The apps are put into categories and of course the one I went straight to was SHOPPING APPS.

So the two that caught my attention for local retailers are the apps that let you scan barcodes. The first one RedLaser will identify places that sell the scanned product and list prices for immediate comparison, both in local outlets and online.

The second shopping app, ShopSavvy also scans barcodes but this one will find identical matches or cheap equivalents in your local area plus online of course!

So do you see a common thread with both of these apps? If you are selling an item that has a barcode, keep you eyes peeled for the app savvy shoppers who are scanning away in your shop. I have tried RedLaser and it makes a loud beep noise so that may be your give away ;-)

What should you do? Well instead of eyeing up these scanning mad shoppers with frustration and just waiting for them to leave your premises, I would recommend you go on the charm offensive and have a chat with the shopper (who will potentially be a bit embarrassed about having been spotted using your premises to do his/her research).

Approach the 'scanner' (the person scanning YOUR products) with the aim of converting them into becoming a SHOPPER in YOUR store.

How To Convert a Scanner into becoming a Shopper?

Greet the scanner with a smile and say something along the lines of "Hey that's a great new app isn't it? It's amazing the amount of technology that's being developed these days! What did the scan tell you?"
Note: All open ended questions and not confrontational  - you are just being curious as well as demonstrating that you are app savvy .....and you know their game!!!!

Next step:
If the 'scanner' person told you that the scanned product came out cheaper online, you can tell them  (in a calm and pleasant manner) that by supporting your local independent retailer they are keeping the money within the community*, and the other point is that by buying from their local store, if they have any problems with the product they can come straight back to you to get a refund or exchange as opposed to having to pack up the item, wait in the queue in the post office, wait for the refund bla, bla, bla.

In addition, in your shop, you can tell them you offer a free gift wrap service (could be a nice idea if you don't already do so - many online stores do) and you can personally advise them about the product's features and benefits as opposed to them having to read a screen.

By developing more of a rapport with your customer, finding out their needs and actually hearing how your prices do compare, you are establishing your shop as a friendly place to go with helpful staff who care and that one off customer will hopefully turn into a returning customer time and time again, and will spread the word about you products and services to their friends and family.

*Here is some background information for you to know:
The CLES (Centre for Local Economic Strategies) did some research for FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) about the value of a £1 spent locally – the results were compelling, sufficient to convince most people that when they shop locally they are genuinely having a positive impact on their community! They discovered that for every £1 spent locally around 50p70p of that money recirculates back into the local economy. For the same £1 spent out of town or online only 5p trickles back to the local community. When people appreciate the impact that their choice of where to spend can have we believe that more people will make more effort to spend more with local independent businesses.

What do you think? Do you scan before you shop?

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