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How to Address Customers Who Are ‘Just Looking’

As a consumer and a retailer, there are experiences we all have in common and none is more popular than the ‘I’m just looking’ dialogue.

When customers come into a store, every retailer or sales associate sees them as a potential sale. Your senses become alert, and from habit, you find yourself wanting to jump on them, say hello, and ask how you can help. Unfortunately, sometimes when you act on this excitement, the customer shuts you down with the dreaded ‘I’m just looking’ response.

To help you provide better customer service and enjoy higher conversion, here are some effective ways to address the situation.

Do not take it personally

The first mistake most retailers make is to take this statement personally. You might instantly feel shut down and conclude the customer will not make a purchase or had no intention to. But when a customer walks in and you welcome them, don’t flinch at their response. Let the words ‘I’m just looking’ roll off your back like water off a duck. This is just an automated response we all have said the moment we walk into a store. There have been too many pushy sales people or bad retail experiences that we often walk into the store with our defenses already up.

Agree with them

Don’t act like it’s a crime to come ‘just looking’; the customer can sense your disappointment and lack of spirit at their response. Rather, turn the visit around and make it an unusual experience for the customer by agreeing with them.

An efficient way to do this is to develop an automatic response to these words. If you are a business owner, this is something you should teach your employees. Replace words such as ’Let me know if you need anything’ with agreeable and unexpected responses like ‘Great! I’m glad you came to look around here.’ or “Awesome, we have a lot to look at and enjoy!”

This will put the customer at ease and eliminate their defenses.

“Just looking” doesn’t mean not purchasing

When we assume a customer who says they just want to look around isn’t going to make a purchase, we immediately lose the sale. Remember from the points above, this is an automatic response. Once they have let their guard down and adjusted to the store, engage in a conversation and see how you can assist them.

Let them look!

From the customer’s perspective, a salesperson’s habitual approach can be invasive and uncomfortable. Can you think of a few stores, or sections within a store, that you have avoided because you dreaded being pounced on by overbearing employees? The ideal way to respond starts from simply welcoming them in.

People need time and space to adjust to the environment and get a sense of what you have to offer. If we don’t let them enjoy the store or recognize when they need space, they will be out the door quicker than you know it.

This isn’t an invitation to be passive, sit behind the register, and never engage until the customer leaves. This is simply giving them space before we bombard them with products and information the second they walk in.

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