Tennis Industry magazine


Retailing 135: Back to Basics!

These nine timeless tips are keys to serving your customers and differentiating your store.

By Jay Townley

Today’s retail environment is fast-paced and always changing. But for pro and specialty retailers, there still are a few timeless basics that haven’t, and probably won’t, change. These eight tips aren’t high tech, but they are proven sales and profit builders that won’t go out of date. We’ve talked about many of these in the past, but it never hurts to review some of the fundamentals.

Store Entrance

First impressions are vitally important. Doors and front windows should be cleaned daily and not cluttered with stickers, decals or signs. Even an “Open” sign in the front door can make it look cluttered. The only exception here is a neat “hours we are open” sign or decal. Your store entrance is there to make shoppers feel welcome!


Within seconds of entering your store, every shopper should be greeted in a pleasant and cheerful way. This is so important in making shoppers feel both welcome and comfortable that we recommend a greeter on busy days and during peak hours.


A genuine smile on the face of every employee is all about making shoppers feel welcome so they stay longer, and shop more. It is amazing how many retailers don’t comprehend the importance of a real smile on the face of every employee.

Ask Questions

Express your interest in each shopper, and help you and your store employees gather information about the individual’s tennis needs. The key is asking questions in a casual way and explaining why you are asking: “I’m asking about whether you’d like to play more because I have some suggestions about how you can do that.”

Make Suggestions

After you have asked enough questions, make low-key suggestions about the products and services that, in your expert opinion, will be best suited for the individual shopper’s wants and needs. Some of your suggestions will be rejected, of course, but that’s part of the selling process, and simply leads to alternative suggestions. “Suggestive selling” isn’t possible without first having made the shopper comfortable in your store.

Name Tags

Name tags, like a genuine smile, are often overlooked by retailers. The connection that leads to the trust of suggestive selling is both easier and facilitated by you and your sales staff wearing name tags. You should of course introduce yourself, but a name tag large enough to be read easily will make it simple for shoppers to make a connection that leads to a sale.


It’s simple — signs sell! When well thought out and employed wisely in a retail store, signs enhance the discovery process, make shoppers more comfortable and help educate them so they are more appreciative of you and your staff’s suggestions and recommendations.

Recovery and Keeping Things Clean

Shoppers will not spend time discovering your merchandise if the clothing isn’t neatly folded, the displays free of dust, and the floor and carpet clean. Pay special attention to your fitting rooms and restrooms and make sure you and your staff are assigned to perform recovery of displays, restocking of shelves, and cleaning of bathrooms, fitting rooms, floors, windows and all glass and mirrored surfaces.

Follow Up

Follow up with both shoppers who didn’t buy and those who did. Start by making sure you have procedures to collect shopper and customer contact information. Build into your daily responsibilities outreach to shoppers in the form of old-fashioned postcards and fliers, along with emails and social media. Don’t overlook the relationship-building power and positive word of mouth you can generate by a simple “thank you” from the owner for a shopper that stopped by — or a customer who made a purchase.

This is part of a series of retail tips presented by the Tennis Industry Association and written by the Gluskin Townley Group (



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