Business is business is business, whether it’s a deli, an auto repair shop, or a head shop. Businesses need customers to succeed, and the most successful ones have a solid base of repeat customers. Here is a comprehensive list of how to treat customers, so they come back again and again.
- Hire good people and treat them well.
If your employees are happy, your customers can tell. Nothing makes me want to run faster than hearing disgruntled employees badmouth the business or the owner. On the flip side, happy employees exude palpable positivity, and most customers prefer to engage withemployees that love where they work and what they do.
- Train your staff about the products you sell.
Make employee training a frequent event, and pay them for their training time. Well-trained employees can help guide customers to just the right product or present them with various options to consider. Having informed staff helps the customer, and that helps the business in the end. Create an environment where your business is the best subject matter expert in the area. You’ll get referrals from other satisfied customers, guaranteed.
- Welcome all customers into your business with a smile and a greeting.
A simple “hello” and a smile can pay dividends. We all talk negatively about those places where you walk in the door to see a blank stare or a scowl. Don’t be that place.
- Help, don’t hover.
Make sure your customers know that you are there to help and answer questions. Read body language. If the customer is clear that they just want to look without assistance, listen to them. But don’t hide – make sure you’re in a visible place and accessible, just in case. On the flip side, if the customer wants to engage in a discussion on products or needs, use your product training to assist.
- Carefully curate your products.
Have a nice mix of essential products sprinkled in with new, trending and innovative items. Consider having your employees assist with product selection, or at least take into account their feedback. And if several customers come in and request a similar product, perhaps you should consider stocking it.
- Work with local artisans to create custom pieces for your store.
This can benefit your store in several ways. One, local artisans can point their friends and customers to your store. Two, supporting other local businesses and individuals strengthens the business community. Three, you have unique items that sets your business apart from others.
- Price matters.
This goes back to product selection. Price your items competitively, and a more diverse group of customers can afford your products.
- Reward repeat customers.
Offer customers product discounts or exclusive swag if they hit specific indicators, whether it’s a price point — for example, buy $100 in glass and get 25% off grinders, or every ten purchases earn the customer a specialty lighter — you get the idea. If you have custom branded swag, that can serve as advertising once the customer leaves your store. A two-fer, if you will.
- Host in-house events.
Have a local glassblower do a demonstration and offer discounts. Offer product demos on new and innovative smoking devices. Give classes. Pass around some appetizers and mingle.
- Keep your store clean, organized and stocked.
Make your store a pleasant shopping destination for customers. Keep things neat, tidy and organized. Ensure your shelves are stocked. Minimize unnecessary clutter. Set standards and make sure your employees understand and meet them.
- Offer product packages at different price points.
Don’t assume every customer is a seasoned one. Some of the best customers, in the long run, were newbies when they first came into your store. Offer creative product packages and bundles for those new to headshops, like a ‘My First Dab Rig Package’ or ‘Vaporizer Pack A.’ Offer optional accessories like travel pouches.
- Ask for feedback.
Have an area for comment cards or start a cannabis mailing list if customers are willing to give you their email address or interact with your business on social media. Ask for feedback and engage your customers. People like it when they feel they are being listened to.
- Put the customer – not the potential sale – first.
If the potential customer has a positive interaction with your staff and they don’t buy anything, don’t stress. Customers can pick up on a hard sell pretty quick, and they might not come back if they feel like they’re at a used-car lot. Give everyone that walks into the door a pleasant experience. Nine times out of ten, they’ll come back as a paying customer in the future.
- Advertise, and not just on social media.
To have repeat customers, you need first-time customers. And if potential customers don’t know your business exists, or can’t find your location or hours of operation, you have failed in a big way. Create an advertising budget. Make sure you have an internet presence — the first place to start? List your business on Heady Pages. Do not assume that printed flyers stapled to bulletin boards or telephone poles are going to drive business your way. Think about how you locate information when you’re looking for services and retailers and build that strategy into promoting your business.
- Join the Chamber of Commerce or local business association.
Network. This circles back to advertising, too. These avenues not only offer publicity, but they also allow you to network with other local businesses. Have a question about online advertising? Interested in creating a blog? Ask your fellow business owners about their winning strategies. In many cases, these groups support their members with unique advertising opportunities and networking opportunities that aren’t found elsewhere.