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Party Line: Make an appointment

While online shopping provides consumers convenience, it cannot duplicate the sensory aspect of the in-store shopping experience. People still want to try on, touch, feel, smell and taste. They also want to be treated like they matter.

TimeTrade surveyed some 5,000 consumers earlier this year, and more than half cited “prompt service” as what they valued more than anything else during in-store shopping experiences. In the same survey, 60 percent said they were interested in shopping by appointment.

If you’re not familiar with appointment shopping, it is exactly what it sounds like. An associate sets aside a prescheduled block of time to assist that customer. While it’s often associated with jewelry stores, appointment shopping also translates well to costume and party stores.

It’s a great way to provide personalized and attentive customer service. It also allows you, as a retailer, to be better prepared to anticipate the shopper’s wants and needs before they even arrive, not to mention helping plan your and your employees’ weekly schedules.

Offer appointment shopping on your website, social media page, through in-store signage and, most importantly, encourage it when customers are checking out. “The next time you’re planning a party, Mrs. Jones, give us a call ahead of time and we’ll have some ideas ready for you when you arrive.”

That’s going to make anyone feel special.

Until next time, 

— Zeke Jennings, managing editor

Originally posted Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Tags: party line