Half of people are introverts, yet the vast majority of brick and mortar stores are designed as if all shoppers are extroverts. Unlike extroverts, who are often gregarious and talkative, introverts prefer quiet and solitude, and tend to speak only when something must be said.
On behalf of introverts everywhere, I can assure you that treating all shoppers as extroverts is a serious problem. But here are six ways you and your employees can attract introverts to your shop. Or at least prevent them from running away.
Price everything. Your philosophy may be that not overtly pricing things will make your guests more likely to engage in conversation with your employees, thereby increasing the chance of a sale. You may be correct. If your customer is an extrovert. Unfortunately, this practice will backfire when it comes to introverts as they would much rather avoid the conversation by leaving the store and finding the same item elsewhere. Stores can easily appeal to the full spectrum of people by investing in a price scanning device and placing it in a discrete but easily accessible location. Let the extroverts seek out your employees and let the introverts seek out the toys.
Don't stand in the doorway. When business is slow, employees will often stand in the store entrance making eye contact and smiling at people walking by. While this may appeal to and attract extroverts, it will simply repel introverts who would rather avoid a painful conversation full of meaningless small talk. Employees would do better to occupy themselves with busywork well within the confines of the store thereby allowing introverts to wander in without worrying over the dreaded small talk.
Don't rush to greet every customer. The accepted practice in most stores is to quickly approach and greet everyone who enters the store. Not only will extroverts enjoy the opportunity to chat, they may actually seek it out. In other words, there's no need for employees to actively greet extroverts. The greeting will happen regardless. On the other hand, introverts may react with a quick change of direction that takes them outside of your store and into your neighbor's quieter store. Some quick observational research will do the trick here. As customers enter the store, observe whether they attempt to make eye contact. If they do, proceed with a friendly smile and greeting. If a customer chooses not to make eye contact, that is your cue to smile and remain quiet.
Be attentive from afar. Once your observational research determines that a customer is not keen to chat, don't feel the need to rush in and ask if they need assistance as soon as they touch something. Remember, extroverts will seek you out whether you pay attention to them or someone else. When it comes to the introvert, however, keep an inconspicuous eye on them and wait for signs that they would like assistance -- they may walk to the service desk, scan the walls for a dressing room, or try to catch your eye. These are your cues to move in with the assist.
Do not engage in small talk. When customers begin the payment process, a polite greeting and simple small talk is appropriate. Perhaps ask if they found everything they were looking for. Extroverts will quickly answer your question plus five other questions you didn't know you had. Feel free to keep the conversation going as long as the customer holds up their end. Introverts, however, will let the conversation drop. Don't feel the need to push for further conversation. It will be a chore for you and painful for the introvert. Be attentive to the cues and you'll make return customers out of both your extroverts and your introverts!
Install Do-It-Yourself checkout machines. Not only are these machines fun to use, they completely negate the introvert's problem of interacting with employees during the payment process. For introverts who've dealt with too many chatter boxes and are desperate for some quiet time, nothing will make them seek out your store over another one more quickly.
It's time to embrace the unique personalities of every customer, not just the extroverted ones.