With the holidays over, people are left with gifts that are not the right size or style, the wrong color or something they just don't want. In the coming weeks, millions of people will be returning to stores in a hurry and with a bad attitude. But while returns are a hassle for the consumer, they present big opportunities for retailers.
Here's how to capitalize on the post-holiday shopping rush to turn what many retailers despise and dread into a gold mine.
Make the most of returns. The returning customer should be viewed as an opportunity. For example, my friend Noor got a $400 sweater from her husband Ali. When she opened the box, she immediately knew she would take the sweater back to the store for credit toward a purse. This is her way to get the purse she really wanted for 40 percent less. All the salesperson has to do in this case is greet Noor and handle the transaction with a great attitude.
Get the most out of gift card users. The gift card user is not a shopper, but a buyer. They left home with the clear intention of using the gift card and getting something for free. The gift card closer knows how buyers think. Ask them, "If you could get anything for free in our store, what would it be?" Watch the consumer go straight to what they really want that exceeds the value of the gift card.
Related: 10 Commandments of Retail Sales
Capitalize on convenience. People are more likely to make additional purchases after their first. If you ever bought a new suit, the second and third sales are the shirts and ties to go with it. It's important for the salesperson to think bigger and suggest other items that make sense and compliment the first purchase. The more a salesperson can help a customer find in one place, the more likely the customer will buy because "I may as well; I'm here right now."
Close on gift givers. During the holidays, people are focused on giving. I know a great retail guy who insists every gift buyer find one thing for themselves before they leave. Tell them, "This is a great choice you have made for your spouse -- show me the one thing you would get for yourself if it cost nothing." Then you take the customer to this product and show them why they should get it. This tactic has increased my sales by more than 40 percent.
Invite them back! Want to really clean up after the holidays? Call every customer who bought from you before the holidays and thank them by offering something special. The response will shock you and provide you with appointments while others are handling returns. Great salespeople know how to close sales, and the best closers are those that know how to get appointments at a specific time with qualified buyers.
Embrace the fact that the weeks after the holidays are a time of retail opportunity of immense proportions that requires the right attitude, intention and approach. Your competitors, for the most part, are asleep and think the busy season is over. This is a great moment to dominate your sector and create new customers and additional sales.