If customers are bothered by staff it can turn them off a purchase or even an entire company, and one Korean cosmetics store is trying to prevent this with a simple tactic.
The baskets have either a green or orange label, with customers able to choose a basket to display to staff whether they require assistance or not. Picking a green basket signifies customers can manage themselves, and picking an orange basket lets staff know “I need help”.
This implementation signifies customers’ desire to choose their level of interaction, says behavioural specialist Bri Williams.
“Businesses should be looking to help address customers’ anxiety around shopping and dealing with in-store staff,” Williams told SmartCompany.
Get daily business news.
The latest stories, funding information, and expert advice. Free to sign up.
“They might be anxious about asking or being asked for help, and this is a more obvious way for them to do that.”
“All these techniques are about letting the customer shop more comfortably.”
Self-serve techniques have been on the rise since their widespread implementation early this century. In 2008, Woolworths reported self-serve usage was 20% above expected rates, despite at the time only having checkouts in 100 of its stores.
Technique could impact sales
Williams says while techniques like Innisfree’s colour coded baskets can stop customers being “annoyed” by sales reps, it also could have an adverse effect on sales.
“A possible downside to this which businesses should keep in mind is that it reduces the odds of communicating with customers in ways which could warm them up to sales,” she says.
“A customer might think they’re just there to browse, and a friendly and engaging staff member might open them up to a purchase.”
“That’s one of the downsides to having systems like those baskets, it leaves it to the customer to define the relationship, and as a result might not encourage bigger sells.”
Overall Williams thinks customers believe they want less interaction when shopping, but notes they “want to have it when they want it”.
For businesses sticking to the tried and true method of interacting with customers, Williams warns to not overdo it and you scare customers away.
“We experience over-interaction all the time, especially when a sales rep doesn’t have a strong sense of empathy,” she says.
“The key is to not be too ‘in your face’.”
SmartCompany contacted Innisfree for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.