Nov 30, 2017

Jenn Haines: Is This Habit Costing You Business?

The Dragon's Jenn Haines on how to guarantee your store is welcoming to women.

Nov 30, 2017

Jenn Haines: Is This Habit Costing You Business?

The Dragon's Jenn Haines on how to guarantee your store is welcoming to women.

By Jenn Haines, owner of The Dragon

Once upon a time, I used to go into jewelry stores. Sometimes I had a purpose there. Sometimes I was just browsing. I don't know if it was because I didn't look like their typical customer, or simply because I wasn't waving around stacks of cash, but I was invariably overlooked by sales staff.

I don't shop in jewelry stores anymore, and I love jewelry. I don't shop in any store in which I am made to feel out of place. And the only other stores that have ever profiled me this way are game and comic stores.

Wizards reports that 38% of Magic fans are women. Anything you do to alienate that 38%—even subconsciously—costs you money.

The bottom line is that the comfortable customer is the one that will stay and spend money.

No one likes to feel profiled. What might make a woman feel profiled in a game store?

If she's like me, she may be outright ignored for the duration of her visit. Or she might be given suggestions for products that "women like." Or maybe she's been asked that most irksome of all game store questions: "Are you shopping for your husband?"

These behaviors send a message: the store doesn't think of her as a customer. However you may feel about that, it will cost you money if it happens in your store.

So how can you guarantee your store is welcoming to women? It's pretty simple.

1. Welcome and make eye contact with every customer when they walk through the door. Conversation leads to conversion. Simply offering your services allows customers to feel more at ease, and to know they can get help if they're looking for it.

2. Wear a nametag. In my experience, women generally like peer interactions, to learn about products from another person. Knowing someone's name allows us to feel more comfortable doing that.

3. Believe that we are your customers. Don't make any assumptions about her visit: what games she may be looking for, who she may be shopping for, how familiar she may be with the product mix.

4. Create a space that is a more normalized shopping experience. Game store floor plans tend to differ from typical retail, which can make them feel unfamiliar. Take a look at national chains and see how they do it: bright and clean, with open sightlines, wide aisles, and labelled shelves.

5. Get ready to teach us about your passion! Everyone has to start somewhere, and a new customer's lack of knowledge is just an opportunity for you to groom them into being the perfect customer.

6. Watch the language. Make sure your staff and patrons are not being exclusionary, whether they are interacting with customers or not.

These simple changes will help every customer feel welcome, and that's best way to bring in new business.

So, start today! Put aside your expectations of what your customer should look like. Embrace everyone who walks through your door, whether they fit the traditional demographic or not. You'll quickly find that there is no such thing as a traditional demographic.

Store Stats– The Dragon

Location: Guelph, Ontario (Population 120,000)

WPN Level: Advanced Plus

Age: 19 years

Size: 1800 sq. ft.


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