How to provide a great customer experience when selling

Ensuring your customers have a great time is vital, whether you’re selling online or offline. But if you’re selling from retail premises, you have the opportunity to make it a really memorable experience. From how your shop is laid out and arranged to how your staff interact with customers, there are lots of things to think about. Ensuring you provide the best experience possible will help you stand out on the high street.

Rose-May The Handmade Shop is a shop based in Yorkshire. Specialising in soap and with everything sold in the shop made by hand in Britain, it’s a shop that provides a unique and thoughtful customer experience. We caught up with founders Tracey and Robert Wilmot to find out about how they achieve this.

Robert and Tracey Wilmot founder of Rose-May the Handmade Shop


What do you look for when purchasing products to stock in the shop?

We spend a long time choosing each product. We choose products that are handmade and made in UK, then look at how they are made, who makes them, where they make them and what with, and the story of why they make them. We find out where they get their supplies and we research whether they use materials that are local to them, and if they are fair trade and environmentally sustainable.

We choose suppliers who fit in with what we sell.  They do not have to be people who do it as a full-time job, and we especially like to work with people who are trying to get their products onto the market and work with new emerging makers. We find this gives a mixture of products and we like to support new makers and give them their first chance.

Basically we look into how much they care for our planet and the people in it, protecting it for future generations while producing their products. All our products are of top quality with attention to detail and many of our suppliers donate a percentage of the profits to charity, as we do from the items we make. We also make ourselves and currently working on launching our own range of handmade collector teddy bears.


When people visit your shop, is it usually to buy a specific thing or to have a browse?

We have a large window display and find that lots of people look through this and come in to buy a specific item they have seen. We also get our trusted repeat customers who come back time and time again. We also get customers coming just for a chat about their craft interests, and we share tips with each other.


When buying stock do you think about what products complement each other?

We have quite an eclectic mix but we only do handmade in the UK and nothing else, so we find this keeps everything in some kind of uniformity. But as we are quite a quirky shop new items have to fit in with the shops ambience as much as with other products, so we do take this into consideration.


How to provide a great customer experience when selling - Virgin StartUp

Do you have strategies in place to encourage people to pick up something extra?

We have everything labelled with point-of-sale cards and mainly just leave the customers to browse, offering advice if they ask. Most of our products speak for themselves.

We try to leave the customer alone as they know what they came in for and nothing, we find, is more off-putting than pushy sales techniques. Our customers have commented that browsing our shop is a pleasant experience thanks to this.


When you’re selling such a wide and unique range of products, how do you ensure your brand remains consistent?

Everything is handmade in UK and has been thoroughly researched and chosen by us, and every product has met with our strict criteria.  Our customers know that anything they buy from us has been made with the environment in mind the ingredients and materials have all been sourced for their benefit.  So maybe we are not the cheapest but this is reflected in their quality and the time that has gone into creating them. Anybody who buys a bar of soap, or any of our other products, from us can be sure that every step of the way from beginning to end the product has been made with great care and attention to every detail and that they are not just purchasing a bar of soap - they are also doing so much more for the environment.


Any other tips?

The only tips I could offer are quite simple.

Stick to your principles and stay true to yourself.  Never forget what and why you started out to achieve, and take your time.

Choose your products carefully.  Never compromise because you don’t think it is working.  The hard work will pay off in the end. Remember you are not just selling products - you are selling your name.


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