The COVID-19 pandemic, now marked by its latest ‘Omicron’ iteration, has been a disaster. Not only for repair, but every kind of industry – this goes without saying. And nothing has suffered more severely from its onslaught than the humble brick ‘n’ mortar. 😥
Rewind to 2020, and the painful memory of empty retail stores still bristles clear.
Vacant shops, of course, come followed by pockets that are even more so. Trailed and proceeded, in turn, by an entire economic system on the brink of total meltdown.
A HORRIBLE situation for any cell phone or computer repair shop worker to go through. Despite their recourse to a dedicated cell phone repair shop software or another. After all, you need people to make sales – no matter your tech sophistication.
There’s hope for the family still…😌
And we’re not apologizing for our narrow vantage!
In this blog – everywhere on this site, in fact – the members of our repair family take precedence. So it’s only natural for us to put their concerns on the readers’ radar first.
But with the advent of 2022, and on the back of a globalized vaccination effort, the dust has started to settle. Experts, with the WHO at the helm, are increasingly of the opinion that the end is nigh. At least for our scourge’s ‘acute’ stage.
A certain, begrudging, level of herd immunity seems to have come about.
So has the return of footfall – the eagerly awaited walk-in customer!
A late 2021 survey by Mood Media found an 11% upsurge in US customers’ in-store shopping rates when compared with the same period during pandemic-peak 2020.
Carry this trend further, against the backdrop of booster jabs, and the writing is clear.
But with customers backtracking to their favorite retailers, something’s surely got to change. We can’t have new superspreaders emerge in repair stores and their allied shop fronts – our homefronts.
Well, I’m here to tell you there’s a solution to this dilemma.
What you might call an obvious series of intra-shop sales and advertising tactics. Prescriptions that – in these ‘latter days of an impending apocalypse’ – call for a neat blend of both human and machine. But not, thank god, of only the latter (no…no Terminator fans here 🙅♂️).
Up the curtain already!
If you haven’t already guessed where I’m going with this (and you didn’t bother with the title – no judgment), then consider these words:
Circa 2022 – and onward.
I’m going to dish what your cell phone or computer repair shop’s direct customer outreach should be in today’s brave new world.
Because only digital marketing won’t cut it. Nor would an overt reliance on salespeople (whose best, most devilish pitches still stand the chance of rejection).
Say Hello to Israel 👋
For the insider’s scoop on in-store promotions, we recently had a fun Zoom session with AdCentral CEO and Co-Founder Israel Quintal. The go-to Reston, VA wizard on all things ‘automated, in-shop, publicity’!
Israel, despite being a tech pro with the savvy sales sense of a guru marketer, gave us a lot of ‘human’ intel on what makes the perfect in-store customer experience. Advice tailored to the specifics of our developing age.
So without any further ado…
1. Focus on the Obvious: Price Markdowns ✂💰
I don’t think there’s a customer out there who doesn’t fancy a discount. Even for the obscenely rich, scoring one provides the satisfaction of a grand acquisition. Especially when a markdown comes unexpectedly; known to the consumer only after they walk in.
The said price cut exploits clients’ innate psychological tendency to fixate on the original price. Centered on what is known as the ‘default option‘ in Behavioral Economics, its promotional implications are staggering.
Simply put, any downwards divergence from the higher original price point is customer-signaling. It imparts walk-ins with the warm sense of accomplishment mentioned.
At the same time, markdowns make for great promotional material. The compelling sight of discount-blaring standees and overhead banners is familiar to many.
Even when they’re misleading (as they usually are), these price cuts are effective sales boosters. Consider the following overview:
Many business owners publicize a higher sales price cut in the middle with a
slash. Then, in a (now showing) marketing ruse, they advertise the ‘discounted’ price beneath it. This seemingly lesser figure is, of course, the actual (company intended) sales price – only made to appear as if it were a discount.
Many, particularly online, retailers advertise all their product costs in this way. Often to the point where the promotions lose their converting impact; so saturated becomes the consumer consciousness.
In the context of repair shops, however, these offers definitely bear fruit. Especially when they come with price breakdowns revealing a canceling (discounting) of a particular charge. Take the service tariff listing case of Mark – one of our RepairDesk point of sale software users:
Services Chart 2021 – Mark’s Electronic Repairs
Device Inspection – $15* Device Cleanup – $10*
- Screen Replacement – $55
- Parts Replacement – $50 + Cost of Procurement
- Delivery Charges (In-State) – $25
- Labor Charge (General) – $50
- Labor Charge (Micro-Solderer) – $85
* Winter Promotion: Ending Jan 20, 2022
As you can see, the deduction of the ‘Device Inspection’ and ‘Device Cleanup’ charges sends a powerful sales signal. Instructing the customer, as it were, to take advantage of the offer now – and receive a cut of $25.
In actuality, Mark had already figured this total into the sum of the other applicable costs – in addition to his profit margin. But like most marketers, he chose not to disclose this fact.
2. Volunteer to Go Bundles! 💃➕💃
Bundle promotions form a tried-and-trusted sales orientation that never gets old. Like single item discounts, they promise to provide more value for every dollar spent – even if the said attainment is ever only an illusion.
In most retail settings, they form the mainstay of in-store promotions.
In cell phone repair, their occurrence is even more common.
For instance, when a screen replacement is in order, the repair tech might offer an additional screen to promote consumer goodwill. Sometimes, these sidelong appendages are even provided as ‘pacifiers’ to appease irate clients – irked on account of a whole slew of factors (which I won’t get into; so long is the list of real and imagined woes!).
As inferred in Pointer 1, the retailers add the expense of these ‘extras’ to the total invoice amount without mentioning it.
The ‘Buy 2 Get 1 Free‘ type bundled outings are usual portfolio offerings in tech repair. A typical example of this would be the refurbished smartphone sold with a case, cleaning buffer, and carrying straps. Bundles can also be a combo of tangible + service provisions (go figure).
3. Background Displays (are must & coool) 🤟👊
The pandemic, our intro/outro to most things these days, has brought the true cost of being human for businesses into full relief. It has demonstrated the usefulness of automation – being secure as it is from pathogenic infection. And from most maladies (including spontaneous errors commission) that afflict sentients.
For in-store promotions in tech repair, in this context, then, nothing beats background video displays. These offer a complete ‘in the middle’ solution; balancing the power of constant advertising animations with the complementing sales pitch of the intuitive/creative salesperson.
Nowadays, the tech space comes rife with a wealth of software utilities that make screened, backdrop promos a ‘breeze affair’. Apps like AdCentral that allow merchants to customize carousel feeds on a cool, user-friendly, interface.
In so doing, they allow the business sales reps to connect with customers on more meaningful, individualized terms. Saving both themselves and their walk-ins from those terrible, generic drones which are all about basic product overviews.
Almost across all verticals, there is an increasing drive in retail towards full mechanization. Companies like PIXEVIA are already marketing both hardware and software resources to bring about this revolution.
In our estimates, we believe there is still some time before the tech repair sphere becomes fully robotic. But with more AI advancement and syncretic development processes, we’re certainly getting there…to be sure.
4. Do the Atmosphere Right, Sprite! 👨🏫💆♀️
Yes…it does make a huge difference when your store’s feel is approachable, fun, relaxing, and even inspiring.
All consumer-business engagement attributes that seem obvious (we get it). But you’d be surprised to learn just how many physical retailers get this part wrong. Miss out on the whole ‘subjective experience’ aspect of their outlets’ appeal that ensures customers come back to their shelves.
To set the store atmosphere right, you need to invest in an eclectic bit of decorating. Don’t just rely on hastily strewn furniture and other embellishments knocked off of eBay. You need to devise a plan, first, for the color and texture themes that work well with your brand persona.
For colors, a good rule of thumb is to pick brand-tone-corresponding shades from a professional palette; making for ‘easy on the eye and mind’ gradations in reflected light and visuals. And if you’re not sure, Israel (yup – he was here all along 🤓) recommends you go blue! Stay, preferably, on the softer, sky or sea blue, side.
Since a store’s ambiance works with/on all of the consumer’s empirical faculties, you, therefore, need to make good on the sensories.
Soothing, complimenting scents are always a good addition to keep the customer mood in vibrant, receptive shape. Stay clear of sharp incense and spirits. In my experience, a diluted unisex cologne often does the trick!
For wall, floor, and other surface textures, going smooth, chic, and minimal is always best. Something about the efficient, neat cuts of modern construction and furniture designs always gets a store’s productivity rolling – the clients flowing.
5. Ignore Floor/Products Layout at Your Peril!💀❌
According to Israel, this is another small but vital aspect of shop space acoustics that a lot of retailers ignore. And only to their cost; resulting in a lot of ‘premium’ items – which fetch high prices – to remain sadly unsold.
In tech repair and general electronics brick-and-mortar settings, you want to flesh out/decode a typical walk-in’s journey. Trace the path(s) that your average customer would take from when they come into the store to when they exit.
Sort of like the conduct of digital analytics, but in the real world.
You’re working out the in-store locations frequented by a majority of your clients. Visited, most often, in a showing pattern. These amount to what I would call your floor’s coveted ‘gold estate’. The physical points where you want to place your top currency pullers.
A lot of cell phone and repair retailers sell parts and standalone accessories on the side. Even entires handsets, for that matter. Trinkets that would fit snugly into these spaces.
Another neat trick is to place hot sells at the customers’ eye level. Often referred to as the ‘plane of sight’ in the field. This, by way of a cognitive quirk, makes the client feel as if the product were placed specifically for them. A personalization hack that works on most occasions on even the most finicky of buying spectators!
Perhaps the greatest benefit of in-store marketing comes during times of environmental uncertainty.
The periods when retailers are unsure if external promotions will pull in their weight as they normally would. When they want to exert more control over their environs – narrowly oversee the customer sales experience.
For tech and repair store owners, at any rate, in-store promotions are considered by many the gold standard for raking in that extra buck!
Now would you agree with that assessment?
Let me know in the comments below ✍ – I’m all eager to refine, revise, or rethink my take. 🤞