If there’s anything a retailer hates to do, it’s miss a sale. Missing a sale means missing income, but like everything else in retail (and in life), it’s all about balance.
If you have the merchandise that the customer is seeking (or even something close), you certainly don’t want to miss that sale. On problem retailers have is that they hire clerks and expect them to sell. Your sales personel are the most important part of your store, right behind the merchandise. They must understand your products and be ready to suggest options when customers make requests. They must take charge (gently) of the sales opportunity and bring the customer around to their way of thinking. Customers want to buy and they want to be led to the items that will satisfy their desires, even if it wasn’t exactly what they came in to buy. Every time a customer is satisfied, you can bet they will not only come back for more, but will share their excitement with their friends.
But what if the request is for merchandise or a category you don’t carry or is not a part of the niche you have set up for your store? Should you call a vendor and start booking more categories of merchandise? Well, no! You cannot be all things to all people or you will be buried in excess merchandise. There are times when a customer will walk out without a purchase, just make sure they weren’t looking for something you actually had in stock.
While maximizing your sales is always a goal, it must be balanced with maximizing your turnover. Turnover is how a retailer makes money. The more you turn, the more you make. Even if your sales are growing, if your turn is shrinking, you are going to have cash flow problems. Buying the right items in the right quantities to support your anticipated sales at desired turn rates is always the way to go. When that one customer walks, think of the 50 that didn’t.