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Newsletter #846: The “Make It More Inviting” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Good things happen when you make your business more comfortable, more open, and more inviting for your customers. A few ways you could do it:

1. To hang out
2. To try things on
3. To be a guy
4. Check it out: Cleverbot

1. To hang out

The more time customers spend in your store, the more they’re likely to buy. That’s why Taco Bell, for example, is working to install Wi-Fi and televisions in 5,600 locations by 2015. What was once a restaurant designed to get customers in and out as quickly as possible will now encourage customers to stick around. Time will tell the ultimate results of the concept, but the goals are more sales and a more inviting place for customers to visit.

The lesson: Instead of focusing on the quantity of customers, could you do more by slowing down and earning more business from fewer (and happier) ones?

Learn more: FOODBEAST

2. To try things on

Look for and remove any obstacles that get in the way of your customers sampling and testing your products. Check out Old Navy for inspiration here. Instead of the traditional dressing rooms hidden in the back of the store, they’re building smaller ones throughout their retail locations. This means customers don’t have to carry clothes all over the place, nor do they have to go as far to try a different size. They’ve even added hooks to help shoppers sort by “I love it” and “Not for me.” The whole thing is making trying on clothes more efficient and more inviting for their customers.

The lesson: If the sampling and trial period is a key part of your sales process, make sure you’re doing everything you can to encourage customers to do it.

Learn more: PSFK

3. To be a guy

There aren’t a lot of retailers who cater specifically to guys out there, which means there’s a potentially big opportunity for you to try inviting them in. Texas grocer H-E-B partnered with P&G to create the “Men’s Zone” — an aisle filled with things designed just for guys: razors, deodorant, and body wash. So far, the concept seems to be working. Since the launch of it in 2010, overall sales for the 500-some products in the Men’s Zone are up 11 percent.

The lesson: Whether it’s guys, moms, teachers, travelers, or someone else you focus on, look for ways to make your stuff and your store more approachable to a special group.

Learn more: RetailWire

4. Check it out: Cleverbot

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to speak with a robot, Cleverbot might be the closest thing. It’s not perfect yet — it learns from interacting with people and currently only considers itself 42% human — but it’s amazing nonetheless. (And maybe a little scary, too.)

Learn more: Cleverbot

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