Jeremy Michael provides advice for retailers, restaurant owners and publicans looking to cash in on Prince William and Kate Middleton's big day.
With just days to go before Kate Middleton joins 'the family', savvy entrepreneurs can take advantage of the historic event. Around £6m is expected to be spent by consumers so retailers, restaurant and cafe owners and publicans have an opportunity to turn first time visitors into loyal customers for life.
- When stock runs out: If faced with this problem, offer customers a substitute to avoid disappointment, including an alternative product or phoning another store to check the product's availability.
- Avoiding queues: No one enjoys queuing and it can be very off-putting to customers. Large queues are unavoidable however as many people will be shopping in preparation for the royal wedding. Retailers should focus on having as many tills open as possible to avoid customer frustration. SMG research reveals that if a customer has to queue for more than two minutes and observes three closed tills, it will give an impression of poor queue management.
- Store design and layout: Store design sets customer expectations. The main factors retailers need to address are cleanliness, speed of checkout and ease of locating items. Stores should have themed display sections at the entrance to instantly attract customers. Similarly, when customers are queuing it is advisable to have a selection of merchandise on show to encourage additional impulse purchases.
- Staff attitude: Staff should always have a smile on their face remembering that a happy retailer means a happy customer which leads to happy finances. Customers do not want to be greeted by an unhappy and disengaged sales assistant. The royal wedding will be extremely busy so preparing staff will ensure courteous service to customers.
- Paying attention to customers: Put yourself in your customers' shoes. The lead up to the royal wedding will be hectic so listening to customers' suggestions and criticisms during this time will help build and attract loyal customers.
- How to accommodate customers when a restaurant is full: Suggest an alternative time to return and acknowledge that you would like to seat them. Most customers will be more understanding and patient if they are made aware of the situation straight away.
- Provide staff incentives: Most staff will be on their feet all day and unable to join in the festivities. Providing incentives is beneficial because they will feel involved, rewarded and appreciated during the busy day.
- Don't be dismissive to customers: It is inevitable that during the festivities restaurants will get overcrowded but rather than see this as a problem, staff should capitalise on the new wealth of customers. SMG research shows that customers will be more understanding and patient if they are recognised and dealt with accordingly. Therefore staff should acknowledge potential customers immediately and offer help until they can be seated.
Jeremy Michael is managing director at SMG UK.