10 Causes of Lost In-Store Retail Sales & What to Do About It

Losing a retail sale can be crushing. Learn tips to make more sales, increase profits and turn one-off customers into lifetime brand ambassadors using CRM software.
0
min read
Aaron Blackman
,
CEO & Founder
,
Retail Express
September 21, 2022
Aaron Blackman
,
CEO & Founder
,
Retail Express
September 21, 2022

Table of contents

You’ve worked like a machine to get that retail business on its feet. You’ve paid an embarrassing stack of money on marketing and done everything humanly possible to capture new customers, short of standing outside and catching bypassers with a very big net.

It’s been hard work. 

Then, hallelujah, shoppers are finally walking through your doors. But just when things look promising, they disappear. ‘Disappointing’ doesn’t begin to explain the pain. It’s a horrible, gut-punch feeling that only retailers can understand.

Goodbye, customers. Goodbye, sales. 

But it’s not the end of the world. There are good reasons shoppers fail to make a purchase, and you likely haven’t addressed them. So hang in there, and we’ll sort this out.

Retail Express offers marketing and loyalty POS software that makes it easier for you to sell more. Find out more with a free, personalised demo from an Australian-based retail expert.

There will always be ongoing issues: staffing, price wars or perhaps a pesky pandemic. But succeeding in retail has much to do with human psychology. It’s about understanding and pleasing the customer. Addressing their needs — possibly in a way they haven’t even thought of.

The secret is to learn how to get inside their customers’ psyche and create outstanding in-store customer experiences. Then, they’ll fall in love with your brand, tell their friends and keep coming back.

Let’s dive in and run through the list of fixable problems.

“It only takes a few negative experiences in-store for your customers to walk out and tell their friends and family. Almost 90% of consumers switch to competitor brands after a poor experience with a company’s sales representatives.” – RetailNext

Failing to engage the retail customer

We humans are a funny bunch. Unlike robots, we like to connect, be heard and be treated with respect. And your customers are no different. So, give them the attention they need. 

Retailers must learn how to read customers, though. After all, nothing turns off customers faster than being attacked as they enter the store.  

Ask yourselves: Do they look like they need help, or should they be left alone? If they are after a quick and fast shop, allow them to find what they need and build rapport from there.

Failing to offer a decent product selection

While being an engaging and pleasant salesperson is a must, if you fail to give the customer the products they want, you’ll fail to make a sale. It’s that simple. 

Therefore, having the right product selection and suitable inventory levels in each store is vital. But how can a mortal retailer know what’s exactly required for each store? This is where advanced retail software helps by doing the thinking for you.

At Retail Express, our retail inventory and fulfilment software can help in several ways:

  • Automatically allocate stock based on store performance, so your best stores get the stock first 
  • Calculate the optimum inventory mix for each store, based on real-time data and actual demand — not guesswork
  • Automatically create stock transfers from your warehouse to the appropriate stores. No thinking required. Instead, your staff can get on with doing their job — making more sales and growing the business.

The ability to automate these processes is priceless — understocking and overstocking result in a drastic amount of lost sales. The average retailer loses 4% of potential revenue due to 31% of customers buying products from other retailers when items are not immediately available for purchase.

“Sometimes, as customers, we don’t know what products exist. That’s exactly why we have retail salespeople who can let us know.”

Not suggesting product alternatives

Your retail staff must have the skills to provide alternatives. 

Have you ever gone into a hardware store thinking you knew precisely what you needed? Once inside, a helpful salesperson asked you what your objectives were and then suggested a better solution. 

Wasn’t that a great experience? 

Sometimes, as customers, we don’t know what products exist. That’s why we have retail salespeople who can let us know.

Alternatively, have you ever rushed into a store, desperate to find the one item that you needed but failed to find on the floor? Worse still, no salesperson came to your aid. 

Wasn’t that an annoying experience? 

 “Hello! I’m trying to buy something, credit card in hand, yet no one is helping me. Aargh.”

You must train your staff to connect with your customers, listen to their needs and think of the best solution for them. Because today, staff should be experts in their field

As industry experts, good staff may likely know more about the customer’s needs than the customer does. These staff members are more than salespeople; they are consultants, specialists, advisers.

Like more tips to strengthen your business? Learn 8 Actionable Tips to Strengthen and Recession Proof Your Aussie Retail Business

Not cross-selling or upselling

Perhaps you are getting the odd sale, but customers only purchase what they came for. If so, it’s time to work out why. Because the chances are you could be selling a lot more. This is where advanced retail POS software is worth its weight in dollar bills.

With the right software, the sales staff have endless opportunities to interact with shoppers to generate additional last-minute sales. It will immediately reveal upselling or cross-selling opportunities, current discounts or loyalty point opportunities.

Loyalty and CRM software lets you segment customers for personalised marketing and emails

Not using CRM software to record details & personalise their experiences

To make analysing your clients more manageable, you’ll need the right CRM and loyalty software (aka customer loyalty rewards software). Then, you can input vital customer data on the spot. If your customer has previously ordered online, your omnichannel CRM software would have integrated this data. All order history is there, accessible and updated in real time. You can also make extra notes against customers’ names.

This information makes future personalisation and marketing so simple.  

TIP: As customers purchase in-store, employees should be:

  • Swiping loyalty ID cards or tags to identify the customer
  • Addressing customers by their first name
  • Personalising the experience 
  • Taking the opportunity to further enhance the customer’s profile in their CRM

Not systematically analysing your retail customers carefully enough

All floor staff should know repeat customers on a ‘name and face’ basis. Your employees must have regular, systematic meetings to discuss retail customer details. It’s their job to constantly read your business's pulse and its customers.

Not offering endless aisles or adequate product information

Endless aisles is a concept where retailers showcase products to their in-store customers via an online screen. This screen may be an iPad (or similar) or perhaps a computer screen. 

Endless aisles make it easy for the customer to see all items you stock — not just what you might have on the floor at the time. For example, they can see all sizes, colours, materials, uses of the product, warranties, care instructions, size, weight and possibly more. 

Offering endless aisles is an excellent way to increase sales and reduce stockouts without outlaying a ridiculous amount of money to hold stock that may not sell.

Endless aisles make it easy for the customer to see all items you stock — not just what you might have on the floor at the time. For example, they can see all sizes, colours, materials, uses of the product, warranties, care instructions, size, weight and possibly more. 

Offering endless aisles is an excellent way to increase sales and reduce stockouts without outlaying a ridiculous amount of money to hold stock that may not sell.

You can read more about endless aisles here.

Not appropriately training sales staff

If your team is reluctant to step from behind the desk and engage customers on the shop floor, you likely haven’t trained them properly. So take the time to educate your sales staff appropriately. And in today’s world, where customer experience matters, hiring staff who are experts in their field can make all the difference to increase basket size.

Not hiring the right retail sales staff

Hire retail salespeople who will represent your business well and align with the behaviours and principles of the brand. Upskill them wherever possible and empower them with the right technology to engage every customer.

Not focusing on the customer experience (CX)

Today’s physical retail experience needs to venture beyond just transactions. Instead, create memorable, personalised experiences that make customers want to return repeatedly. From educational courses, guest speakers and 3D screens to cafes, co-working spaces or bespoke pop-ups, retailers need to create more social, tactile, and digital in-store experiences that can’t be offered online.

Like to read more about improving the customer experience? See our latest blog here :

Next steps-

Retail Express offers marketing and loyalty POS software that makes it easier for you to sell more. Now, you can effortlessly engage with your customers, personalise their shopping experience and have all data available in real time. And you can look forward to the following:

  • Engage with your customers
  • Offer a comprehensive product selection
  • Offer product alternatives when items are out of stock
  • Cross-selling and upselling options
  • Capture the customer’s complete profile in their order history to personalise future marketing activities
  • Offer endless aisles and special orders to make more sales.


Find out more with a free, personalised demo from an Australian-based retail expert.

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