Happy Endings

As independent retailers we know that providing memorable experiences is key to our survival. But what is it that customers remember the most? Where can we concentrate our efforts so customers remember us when they want to purchase our product?

The human brain is both lazy and efficient. It doesn’t record a whole event like a video tape but rather remembers key points and then connects the dots. Studies have shown that the points people remember are the peak and the end of an experience.

As retailers we can’t always control the peak, but we can make sure that the end of a customers path to the perfect purchase finishes well. A great impulse item at the register adds a bit of excitement and energy to the end of the sale. Think about what you can demonstrate and suggest. It can create a final fun, interactive moment for the customer.

Here are some other tips to make sure that your customer has a memorable, happy ending.

Get organized

The final steps of your customer’s journey should be smooth, so make sure that your cash wrap is organized for maximum efficiency. Can you access everything you need (tissue, bags) with a minimum of fuss? Make the logistics effortless so you can concentrate on the personal interaction.

Be polite

This one is obvious but many stores get it wrong. Basically, you need to say please or thank you every chance you get. It’s impossible to say it too many times. You are taking their hard earned money so be nice about it.


Make small talk with the customer while putting the sale through. This takes the sting out of watching the total add up and makes for a nice final interaction. The conversation should be about them not about you. It also should not be about their purchase. If you keep trying to sell them after they’ve decided to buy they will wonder what’s wrong with the product.

Stay with them

Don’t leave the customer before they have left you. Don’t start putting hangers away or filling out the rewards card until the customer has moved away. Customers are more important than any busy work, don’t abandon them.

Give them a gift

If you are giving away a gift, this is the time to do it. Giving your customer something of high perceived value (but low cost to you) will engage the rule of reciprocity and make them want to return the favour. Give it now so that it’s memorable.

Accept their gift

A “thank you” from a customer is a gift that they are giving you, accept it as such. Be gracious. Don’t reply with a dismissive “no problem”. “You’re welcome, “my pleasure”,“thank you” are far more courteous answers.

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