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Grow revenue by increasing register rings Print Email
Written by Scott Etheridge   
Wednesday, 05 August 2015 12:38 PM America/New_York

How to maximize sales of gift products and ancillary add-ons

Scott-EtheridgeGift giving is not subject to seasonal trends. Every month there are birthdays, anniversaries, births, marriages and more. There are, however, certain times of the year when gift giving is much more prevalent than others. Christmas, Graduation, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s day are only a few.

The average American spent $172.63 on Mother’s Day in 2015, with total spending expected to reach $21.2 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Taking this into consideration, how are you preparing for your customer’s next gift purchase? Are you providing cross-selling opportunities at the cash wrap or in your store category sections? Does your staff suggest add-on opportunities to your customers? Do your customers consider your store a destination point for all of their gift needs?

Here are a few simple steps that can help you increase your consumer satisfaction, increasing your register rings, which ultimately will increase profitability.

Train your staff how to upsell. Most people are naturally apprehensive about asking a customer to buy more. However, by asking a few simple open-ended questions, your staff can add value to a customer visit while helping turn your store into a destination point for repeat business:

What is your price range?

Who is the gift for?

Do you have a couple of ideas already?

Then look for “next question” opportunities that drill deeper into the purchase decision.

Once you have this information you can easily help the customer and suggest add-ons that enhance their gift. Let’s say your customer is looking to spend $75 on a gift for her niece and is considering a Bible. One important question you can ask is: “Have you considered a traditional study Bible alongside a daily devotional?” You can now guide your customer toward the best Bible for her need, suggest adding a gift card and including a daily devotional, all within the customer’s budget. You increased your register ring, the customer had a pleasant shopping experience, and you helped further establish your store as a destination point.

Manage your gift inventory levels. For most consumers, if you miss an opportunity because of low or out-of-stock items, you not only lose the initial sell, but also you risk losing return opportunities, impacting both short- and long-term revenue goals. I suggest training a staff member to be the “Gift Champion” of your store. A Gift Champion knows that any item in your store can become a gift and result in add-on revenue. By having a “gift expert” in your store to keep watch on inventory levels, follow the latest gift trends and train other sales staff, you can build your gift business year over year.

Prepare for any “giftable” occasion. Be sure to keep gift tie-in items near primary locations in your store. Do you have gift cards near your Bible section? Do you have Jesus Calling print products near related licensed products? Do you have gift cards or several low-cost items available at your cash wrap? For example, stock graduation books near the cash wrap during graduation season. Most everyone knows someone who is graduating, and an item priced less than $10 is an easy add-on.

Build year-over-year business. Retail is a business where you not only focus on the short term, but you also must plan long term. Do a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities, threats) analysis on your store. Better yet, you and your sales representative might create one together, establishing long-term goals while looking for short-term opportunities. (In coming months, I will delve more deeply into this area.) As a retailer you need to be aware of your strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. Be assured—your competitor knows them.

For 13 years I worked for Coca-Cola in three states. One of my last positions was senior account manager, working with large grocery stores. I learned to focus on nontraditional opportunities for sales. While I had contracted display space, in every aisle there was opportunity. A display of Coke always sold well near pizza, and Diet Coke always sold well in the candy aisle. One time I sold more than 2,800 cases of Coke to a gas station. Why? I was able to show the owner how to use Coke to grow his business. In the end, the business owner was happy, and revenue grew year over year.

Where are the hidden opportunities in your store? How are you capitalizing on them? What additional revenue are you missing? Don’t miss a single opportunity to maximize gift products and ancillary add-ons.

Scott Etheridge serves as manager of sales development at HarperCollins Christian Publishing, and is responsible for promotions and sales analysis. Connect with him on Twitter at @scottetheridge.