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    Winning Customers

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    FDI or no FDI, competition in retail is gaining momentum and it remains imperative for retailers to not only attract new customers but also more of the young customers, especially women, as the decision-making power rests with them. In this issue, S.C.  Misra, a retail veteran  shares some niche USPs  one can put to use to earn the customer loyalty from the youth and women.

    Let us begin with understanding what the average life span of a customer is. The average life span of a customer usually is minus the average age of the customers. For instance, average life span of an Indian is 72 years and the average age of the customer is 45, hence the life of the store is 27 years. However, in the same store, the average life of the customer comes down to 35 years, the life of the store increases by 10 years. Hence, having a younger clientele is of utmost importance and more so to attract women since they have a bigger say when it comes to ‘shopping’.

    For any successful department store, more than 50 per cent of the customers should be women and out of them, more than 50 per cent should be below 35 years of age.

    Appended are some of the tried and tested methods you can put to use to have a strong base of young customers and a good per centage of women customers as well.

    Invite school or college visit: Today’s curriculum includes ‘management’ as a subject. It would be a good idea to invite students along with their teachers and professors for a ‘study visit’ to your mall or department store. This gives you a good chance to explain in detail all that you have to offer and it is also a good word of mouth publicity tool.

    Offer gifts to newly married couples: You can offer a gift voucher or discount coupon to customers who are newly married. You can either spread the message through an SMS campaign or through newsletter that on producing any kind of evidence (like proof of marriage or invitation card, etc.), they would be entitled to a gift voucher or discount coupon.

    Permanent 10-20 per cent discount of any two-three women’s merchandise or cosmetics: This is a good technique to pull women shoppers to the beauty section of your store.

    Sampling of perfumes: This is a common practice internationally and can be put to use in India too where testers of fragrances can be distributed free of cost. It eventually leads to winning customer loyalty.

    Photography kiosk: This can again make your shoppers curious and increase the walk-ins. It can be a monthly activity wherein a picture of a couple or a family can be put up as ‘couple of the month’ or ‘family of the month’.

    Arrange for exclusive checkout for ladies during rush hours.

    Throughout the year on a rotating basis, have 20 per cent off on any women’s apparel. For instance, you can offer 20 per cent off on salwar-kameez in January, 20 per cent off on lingerie in February, etc.

    On any given day, when the store has a considerable number of customers, offer on the spot discount (up to 50 per cent) on any particular SKU. This adds to the surprise element and leads to frequent visits from customers

    Freebie, if being given, should particularly target women and should have multiple use.

    Hold special celebration on women’s day, children’s day, mother’s day and Valentine’s Day, where there is a special display and discount on things related to that particular day.