Greeting Guests in Your Store vs. Meeting Guests: Understanding the Key Differences

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Retail Revelations with Dan Holman
S6 Ep4

In the world of retail, the way you meet and engage with your guests can have a profound impact on their overall experience. Understanding the differences between greeting guests in your store and meeting guests can help you tailor your approach to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. In this week’s blog, Dan delves into the distinctions between these two scenarios and explores how they can impact customer experience.

Greeting Guests in Your Store
Greeting customers in a store is primarily transactional. Your primary goal is to provide them with assistance, information, and guidance related to their shopping experience.

The Setting: Greeting typically takes place in a crowded space. The store’s layout, merchandise, and displays play a significant role in setting the tone for the interaction.

Attire: You and your employees should be dressed in attire consistent with the store’s brand, which creates a professional and approachable image.

Initiating Interaction: Employees in a store often approach guests proactively. They may offer assistance or ask questions to gauge the customer’s needs and preferences.

Focus: The focus of the interaction is on the product or service the customer is interested in. The employee’s role is to facilitate the purchase or answer questions related to the items available.

Courtesy and Efficiency: Politeness and efficiency are key. Store employees aim to ensure a smooth shopping experience, which includes checkout and bagging.

Now Let’s Shift to Meeting Guests
Meeting guests is often more relational. The aim is to build a connection, offer hospitality, and create a welcoming environment.

The Initiating Interaction: In a personal setting like your home, guests are often greeted at the door. The interaction is typically initiated by the host and you may offer a hug, handshake, or a welcoming gesture. Why would this be any different in your Retail home? You may need to replace the handshake or hug with a warm smile to avoid an awkward encounter but the sentiment remains – connection is key. 

The Focus: The focus of meeting guests is on building connections and making them feel at ease. It requires conversation, maybe offering refreshments, and always ensuring guest comfort. 

Personalized Experience: Meeting guests offers the opportunity for more personalization, as the sales associate can tailor the conversation and in-store experience to the guests’ preferences and needs.

Key Takeaways
Understanding the differences between greeting guests in your store and meeting guests is essential for providing the best possible experience in each scenario. While I much prefer the latter, in busy holiday periods, we may need to revert to a strong greeting approach. Either way, you and your team need to be Context-Aware; recognize the setting and the timing of the interaction, and tailor your approach accordingly. 

Offer Personalization: Personalized interactions can go a long way in making guests feel special and valued in your store. 

Maintain Professionalism: In your store, professionalism is crucial, and warmth and authenticity are equally important in building good relationships with your guests..

Focus on Building Relationships: While both greeting and meeting aim to provide a positive experience, the emphasis in your store must be on building and nurturing relationships. Adjusting your (and their) approach is key to enhancing the guest experience leaving a lasting positive impression that brings the now client back time and time again.

Happy Retailing!

About Dan Holman

Dan has spent 30+ years in the retail and service industries. Specializing in marketing & business development, inventory planning, operations and customer driven sales management, he is an award winning business coach with a proven understanding of what it takes to be successful as an entrepreneur. Dan spent 16 years in senior management and ownership roles with multi-store retailers before joining Canadian Retail Solutions as their CEO, Director of Retail Planning. Dan works directly with clients coast to coast representing hundreds of retail categories. He is the founder of The Wealthy Retailer®, a boutique consulting firm guiding independent retailers to growth, improved profitability and more cash.