Retail, has it really changed in 2015?

Digital Online Marketing Commerce Sale Concepts

In the past year, I have attended a handful of courses and read dozens of articles about the changes “in retail.” This term is thrown around a lot these days, but what does it mean?

Some articles state that between 80-90% of all customers have done some research on the products they wish to purchase BEFORE they get to your store.   I am sure someone paid someone a lot of money for this research, but how does this apply to today’s retail?

If I said a customer is looking for head unit A., He/she searches “buy head unit “A” in Toronto” in Google. They now come into your store because Google said you sell it. Actually, I missed a step; he/she searched head unit “A” on eBay, Amazon, and various US sites establishing a price. Currently, the Canadian dollar is trading at $0.78 as I write this article. Knowing this exchange rate is very important because of this example:

Head unit “A” is $279.99 on a website.

$279.99 x 1.28 (exchange) = $ 359.98 CND plus taxes, duties etc.

Now head unit “A” is $359.98, big difference in the customer’s idea of price in your store. This is very important to point out to the customer, knowing this is everything in overcoming objections in the buying process. Also, point out to the customer the warranty and charges associated with the warranty if the unit develops issues. This seems like common sense, but we are helping the customer buy at this point. We have not sold them on anything. We have let the customer dictate the sale, and we have only validated his/her Internet research. What if the product he/she is looking for has a huge gap between the US and CND retail (+30-50%)? Then I think you have to find a different distributor or company to deal with. As a professional salesperson, you have to build value for you and your store. How?

Ask the customer, “What features do you like about head unit A”? Ask him about his vehicle.   Go out to their vehicle; I will say again, “go out to their vehicle.” If the head unit “A” has all the features they want, why would they listen to you, the “slimy salesperson”?

Is there a GPS on the dash, satellite radio, back up camera, cellphone charging wires in the power socket (this would tell you what phone they have by connector or color)? Does it have a “Y” connector in the power socket? All of this information is very important in the selling process. As a professional salesperson, this allows you to recognize what the customer needs for features or integrate their technology into their vehicle. Every customer is unique in this way. The dashboard is a snapshot of their wants and needs. Successful salespeople will recognize these needs and have a conversation with the customer:

“I noticed multiple charging cords in your car…”

“Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of the satellite radio from your dashboard and have it perfectly integrated into the head unit?”


“You will lose your steering wheel controls with the head unit “A.”

“With head unit “A” you will lose your back up camera, we should make sure this does not happen.”

These are just examples of conversations to help the customer buy. The Internet store is not customizing the “buying process” to their specific vehicle. The more things we can integrate into their vehicle, the happier the customer and the salesperson will be. As a professional salesperson, you have to cater to every customer as an individual with different wants and needs. If we do not offer solutions or suggestions to help the buying process, we are just “order takers.” Our industry doesn’t need more order takers. Take a look at your store, make sure you know the features of head units A, B, and C. Once you have the product knowledge, you can ask real questions to help your customers buy.

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