Successful retail comes from knowing your customers. When you know your customers, you know exactly what they are looking for. You can stock the brands and styles they want. But if you don't know them very well, good luck with all of that. So, why do your customers buy sunglasses?
Common sense suggests that most purchase decisions are governed by a desire to protect the eyes against UV rays. But apparently, that's not the case. According to American Optometric Association president William Reynolds, his organization's most recent eyewear survey shows that only half of those who purchase sunglasses actually check UV ratings.
That could be due to a general assumption that every pair of shades protects against UV rays. Still, not even bothering to check says something. And by the way, Reynolds says that only half of adult purchasers buy sunglasses to protect their eyes against sun damage.
Consumer Ignorance of UV Ratings
It is quite possible that consumers don't bother to check UV ratings because they either don't know such ratings exist or they don't know what the ratings mean. General ignorance would explain why certain people do not bother with checking. But how would you know if this is the case among your customers? By asking.
Smart business owners who truly want to get to know their customers ask questions. They conduct surveys. You can do the same. Come up with a quick 5-question survey you can put on your website or print on paper. Then make a point of asking each customer to complete the survey over the course of a few weeks. You might be surprised by what you learn.
As a retailer, you probably know what your customers do not. You know that a UV rating of 400 is the best possible rating for designer sunglasses; you know that UV 400 shades offer maximum protection against ultraviolet rays. If you were to discover that most of your customers don't know this, you would have a topic you can use to both educate them and boost your sales.
Protecting against Sun Damage
Not checking UV ratings is curious enough. But more compelling is the fact that half of your customers are not buying that new pair of aviators or wayfarer sunglasses out of a genuine desire to protect their eyes. Some of them might purchase just because they find direct sunlight uncomfortable. But you can bet others are looking at new sunglasses merely as a fashion accessory.
Once again, the best way to figure it all out is to simply ask. Whether you conduct a formal survey or engage your customers in conversation, figure out why they are buying from you. Once you have that information, you can cater to your customers' needs and desires more precisely.
Stock the Right Items
Getting to know your customers is all about understanding how they think. Why would you want to do that? So you can stock the right items year-round. There is no point filling your store with certain brands of designer sunglasses if your customers do not want them. There is no point in stocking certain styles and colors if no one is going to purchase them.
Regardless of how long you’ve been in business, there is always room for getting to know your customers better. We might even suggest developing what are known as customer personas. There is lots of information about creating customer personas online. At any rate, getting to know your customers helps you better understand their buying habits. And when you know that, you are better equipped to give them exactly what they want.