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How to Improve Per-Head Spend

Rob Arnold

What makes us as consumers willing to spend more of our hard-earned cash with one brand/establishment over another? Working closely with a selection of retail and hospitality brands over the last 10 years, I have found the following to be consistent amongst those who enjoy a greater per-head spend across their customer base.

1. Getting the Customer into the right Psychology

When a consumer chooses to come into your space, whether that be an online user experience or something more tangible, you have the opportunity to positively (or negatively) influence their psychology through a number of different touchpoints. It is the first few seconds in a brick and mortar store or on the landing page of an e-commerce site that has arguably the most significant impact on whether a customer chooses to explore further or disconnects immediately from the offering.

Whilst landing pages on e-commerce sites have evolved over time as various trends have emerged, the ability of the same company to consistently evolve their human capital in the brick and mortar space has not been as consistent. Whatever the brand's strategy is across these different mediums, the key success factor is making sure that the customer feels the requisite degree of significance in these early exchanges. If that is achieved, the exploration continues. If it feels too generic or insufficiently personalised, the potential connection is lost.

2. Asking the Right Questions

Our mystery shopper data continues to reaffirm the notion that customers, whether it be in a retail or hospitality space, are seldom asked the right questions and are therefore not given the platform to provide critical information that informs the staff's approach to recommendations and up-selling. Much like the game of 21 questions many of us would have played as youngsters, it is about the process of elimination more than anything else. After all, the problem for most customers in the modern age is not a lack of choice, it is in fact having too many options more often than not.

3. Finding the balance between Coercion & Concession

It is now widely believed and accepted that the hard-sell is no longer the go-to sales strategy. One could argue that today's customer is generally more discerning and conscientious about the buying decision BUT in the same breath, this is also perhaps generalising buyers too broadly. I believe there are certain customers who require a significant amount of guidance and direction whilst others like to dictate the decision-making process. To increase the basket size across the consumer base, we need to be able to scale the ability to appreciate nuances within different buying personalities.

4. Connecting the Dots Authentically

The most prolific up-selling strategies are those today which truly take the customer's best interests to heart. A weak connection between the primary product of interest and the add-on item only fulfils the belief in the customer's mind that this up-sell is too far swayed to the interests of the seller rather than the buyer. It is impossible to connect the dots authentically if one does not have a comprehensive appreciation of the customer's personality coupled with the nuances of the product/item that will add significant value to that individual.

The common thread throughout all of the points raised above is that of intention. A customer will happily support a brand or establishment where they feel that the company truly has their best interests at the heart of the sales strategy. The greatest challenge going forward is, "how does one establish the right intention, on scale, across a multitude of different personalities.

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