Winning Against the Competition

In his ALA Conference keynote presentation, Bob Phibbs, “The Retail Doctor,” shared his tips for lighting showrooms to succeed in a world of online competitors.   

By Nicole Davis

At the recent ALA Conference, retail expert and business strategist Bob Phibbs — known as The Retail Doctor — talked to the brick-and-mortar lighting showrooms about how they can win in today’s digital environment.

According to Phibbs, 60 percent of the shopping experience is awareness; 30 percent is consideration; and 10 percent is decision. It is within this 10 percent that the brick-and-mortar retail environment can really excel, he pointed out.

Top takeaways from his talk:

  • Focus on conversions and add-ons instead of just fulfilling orders:> This gives you an advantage that online retailers don’t have.
  • Price doesn’t make something a good value: There is always something cheaper, so don’t hang your hat on price. You have to offer something more.
  • People go online to buy; they go to a store to shop: Create an experience that cannot be replicated online.
  • Connecting with customers’ hearts – not their heads – is most important for a sale: Customers will never forget how you make them feel.
  • Sales is something that you do with someone: Your products are just souvenirs of a great experience.

Phibbs recommends his Sales RX strategy for all of his clients, which entails:

A. Engaging the stranger: Stop, look, approach, and engage everyone within 60 seconds of walking into your showroom.

B. Discover the shopper: Learn more about what brought them in, and offer a showroom tour or brochure to relieve any confusion or anxiety about the shopping experience.

C. Make a customer through engagement: One way to do this is replacing the question, “Is there anything I can help you with?” with “What room is getting a makeover today?”

Inevitably though, objections will arise. The most common, Phibbs said, are:

“This is my first stop.”

“I need to ask someone (my husband, my wife, my friend, etc.).”

“Your lead times are too long.”

“Your price is too high.”

His advice to deal with these objections? Address them upfront, before the customer even has a chance to bring them up. For example: “We don’t stock this item so it will take a few weeks to get to you, and it’s not the cheapest you can find it, but we can do ‘xyz’ for you if you shop with us.” Phibbs also recommends having the salesperson offer to jump on FaceTime or Skype with the aforementioned “someone,” giving them a virtual presentation and answering any questions — which is almost as good as being there.

One of the most important things you can do? “Talk to shoppers the way they want to be talked to,” Phibbs explained. “And if you’re curious, life gets easier.”

Learn more about The Retail Doctor and what he can do for your showroom on his website:

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