A story hit headlines worldwide a couple of days ago which caused quite a stir in the world of retail.

It went like this: A small retail business in Brisbane is charging customers a $5 fee to browse. The fee will be waived if the customer purchases from them.

What??

So to enter the shop you have to pay five dollars?
Apparently- this is what the sign on the window says:

As of the first of February, this store will be charging people a $5 fee per person for “just looking.”

The $5 fee will be deducted when goods are purchased.
Why has this come about?
There has been high volume of people who use this store as a reference and then purchase goods elsewhere. These people are unaware our prices are almost the same as the other stores plus we have products simply not available anywhere else.

We won’t name the store – that just wouldn’t be nice – but can we just say that this is not the way to do it.

It’s a retailer’s duty to work with the customer, not treat them as an ATM. Showrooming, when people look but don’t buy, is an increasing trend. But whacking a fee on for viewing won’t work. Since when has a retail shop tried to trade like a museum?

The lady who owns the shop commented to a national news group “”It’s upsetting to hear people who have spent your time getting information and then saying to each other, ‘Now we know what to buy. Let’s go somewhere else’.”

Lady, you’re doing something wrong if they are saying that! Maybe you aren’t asking for sales after offering advice. Maybe you haven’t built a strong enough relationship with the customer. If you want to improve your sales; how about getting some training in customer service, first and foremost?

Put yourself in the shoes of a customer. They want value from a transaction. Customers don’t just go elsewhere for no reason. They often won’t even make an entirely price based purchasing decision. What a customer wants, along with the product is value:  its information, a professional and pleasant service experience, a feeling that they have received what they paid for.

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