Monday, December 16, 2013

Why Nancy Tracy Shops Online

I've never considered shopping online as a way to deal with this, but check out Nancy Tracy's first-person report:

I read this and went "Yesss!" I'm an introvert and would rather savor my own thoughts about which of several items would be more fun to own, instead of being chattered at by a sales pest. Yet, when I managed a mall shop and when I owned a flea market booth, I tried to pamper the extroverts who so eagerly imagine that, and greet shoppers, to boost sales. It didn't work. Often the shoppers would turn around and walk out without a word. Not even because they necessarily were introverts, but because everybody who's a little more intelligent than the Chatty Cathy doll has figured out by now that a chatty sales clerk is nearly always pushing a bad bargain.

If you own a store and want to boost sales, may I suggest trying a new policy: Let the customer speak first. Don't avoid eye contact, but don't push for it, either. Understand that some people enjoy wandering through a store in a wordless reverie, just looking and/or touching, enough that they'll buy something just to pay for the pleasure of browsing. If you cut off this pleasure, whether it's by limiting the choices, by jumping down their throat the minute they walk into the store with a demand that they buy something at once, by asking personal questions that might be perceived as friendly at home but are perceived as gossipy in a public place, or just by interrupting the reverie with a stream of boring "small talk," then shopping at your store isn't fun and, unless they happen to need one thing they can grab and rush out, a lot of potentially good customers will never come back.

If, on the other hand, you're trying to sabotage a store where you've already given notice, just identify the introverts and try to "draw us out" in the "kindest, friendliest" way. This is a total turn-off because, even though you might have to feel terribly afraid or depressed to keep you from wanting to chatter at everybody in the world, introverts want to chatter about as much as you want to memorize the telephone directory. Just one soulful little warble about the hypothetical "pain" and "fear" that cause us to find your small talk boring, and I for one will never willingly pay for anything that's passed through your hands.