Since 2020, retail businesses have been facing fierce competition in the industry. The sudden evolution of customer expectations has added further fuel to the fire. Retailers know that their customers already have plenty of choices online to spend their time and money. If they fail to give their customers compelling reasons to shop at their stores, businesses will lose them to the competition for good. There is no denying that! If you are a retailer looking to improve customer experience, here are some tips and examples to get you started with your customer experience transformation journey.
Your retail workers need to be charismatic, cool, and better paid. Why? Because they are your front-line employees and the main creators of your in-store experience. You can go ahead and install all the in-store technology, but human interaction will always remain paramount.
Simply training store staff on your products and policies is not enough anymore. It is just the bare minimum, and no retailer can stay competitive with merely that. Your sales staff needs to relate better to your customers and connect with them in a memorable way. For this, you need to upgrade your salespersons to a consultant, an expert, or even a friend.
Here is an example. Let us say you have a friend who is getting married, and you accompany him to a shop from where he is getting his tuxedo. You see your friend being handed a cold beer and greeted by name. There are hugs and handshakes all around. It is like your friend has hired the entire retail store for his wedding. As you leave the store, you ask your friend whether he has bought the entire store for his wedding and he just laughs and says, “They’re just helping me with my suit, but they sure are a friendly bunch.”
Even though you are not in the market for a wedding tuxedo, you will want to get one from here if you ever need one.
Here, the entire relationship between the groom and the shop staff was forged in a transaction. It was an inspiring customer-brand interaction. You need to create similar experiences when you are training or hiring sales associates. Your customers need to see your salespersons as their friends and enjoy the entire in-store experience. This is one of the best ways to do so.
We are living in a post-pandemic world and customer behaviors have evolved a lot when it comes to in-store shopping. Consumers are seriously concerned about their safety and health, which is why sanitization, cleanliness, and hygiene should now be a permanent part of your in-store shopping experience strategy.
Here are a couple of pointers to help you accomplish that:
Your customers already know that the government has imposed strict regulations related to their health and safety. You need to make sure that everyone in your store is following the local safety guidelines. You can install store occupancy solutions to ensure capacity limits are not exceeded and keep customers informed on the number of people already in the store. Also, you can use cameras with heat sensors to automatically monitor the temperature of customers and store staff.
These days, people concerned about their health are actively avoiding crowded places. You need to work hard to minimize the number of people in your store. For this, you can implement retail appointments.
Accenture found that 62% of consumers were willing to return to physical stores if they offered in-store appointment scheduling.
If you think this would make sense to your retail business and would help in boosting your current sales, you can implement it in your store and observe how your customers respond to it.
People love sharing their shopping experience online and the more Instagram-worthy experiences you will offer in your store; the more people would like to visit you. You do not even need to make any substantial changes to your store décor to pull this off.
You can simply add a wall featuring angel wings or colorful graffiti where your customer might take photos. These can be simple art installations that are admired by your customers and allow them to take IG-worthy pictures.
Take the example of a Glossier store that was opened in Seattle, Washington. They featured some moss-clad mountains with holographic butterflies fluttering over them. It was a homage to the Pacific Northwest, and it worked brilliantly for them. Have a look at their Instagram post:
While the idea seems easy to execute there are some key details that you cannot overlook. You need to ensure that your IG-friendly initiative aligns perfectly with your brand. An effective way to go about it would be to localize your store experiences. Your customers will like it.
Are your products just sitting on the shelves or resting inside boxes in your retail stores? If the answer is yes, then you must change that immediately, you need your customers to experience your products when they come to your store. Give them a reward for leaving their house and coming to your store for shopping. Otherwise, there would be a trivial difference left between shopping online and shopping in-store.
If you are running a PC gaming store, you need to put together a great gaming computer and let your customers play the latest games on it. The same can be done for a home décor store or a children’s toy shop. You can unbox some board games and set them in some comfortable places where people can have fun with them while buying. Combine this with some popular toys and let kids have some fun too. If they like the toy, they will make sure their parents buy it for them. Similarly, if you have an apparel store you can have some play areas for children that can get them occupied while their parents shop, enabling them to truly experience your products without any distractions or worry.
What is the best way to improve your retail customer experience and take it to the next level? The short answer to that question will be, “it depends.”
Every store is different due to the products on offer and the customers being targeted. You need to do your research and ask your customers about things that would make them visit you more. Mix things up like offering omnichannel shopping experiences and ask your customers if this makes shopping easy for them. You can also work on community building, offering VR experiences, and providing retailtainment which is a fusion of entertainment and retail and in-app checkouts. The possibilities are infinite.
What we can tell you for sure is that it is not going to be easy, but it will be critical for your future. Work on it wisely.
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