From in-store to online, the competition for customer attention and loyalty is more fierce than ever. In fact, 3.2 million new business applications were filed this year in the US alone.
For this reason, having an x-factor is more important than ever. But rather than focusing on new products to generate sales, the wisest course is to focus on your most important asset. Your customers.
Improving the retail customer experience pays off in numerous ways. However, the most important one is that it can help your bottom line. A study by PWC shows that people were happy to pay a price premium of 16% more and 63% of people were happier give up personal data just because a store has a great customer experience.
So what can you do to improve your customer experience as a retailer? Follow our simple 7 steps to find out.
- Create a Family Environment
Most of us have memories of heading to the store with our parents. The fact is that some stores we were begging our parents to take us to, and others we couldn’t wait to leave.
What we now realize as adults is that these realities have a marked effect on us. Do parents look at a store with a get in getting out mentality or view it as a place of solace for the whole family?
We also know that the longer someone stays in a store, the more likely they are to spend money.
There can be slight and major changes that can be made to enhance families’ experience that can make all the difference. Family priority parking, spaces for parents to leave kids entertained, mini-shopping carts, and attention to store graphics could impact a very important demographic for many businesses.
- Provide a Unique Retail Customer Experience
What makes your store different should be the first thing on any business strategy.
However, not enough businesses transfer this part onto the customer experience. Everything from your website, what the customer encounters in your store to post-sale attention, can be tweaked to give you an edge over the competition.
The aesthetics can be enhanced by commissioning artwork, advancements can help customers select things they want and pay faster, and even incorporating places to eat can work.
Making sure you stand out doesn’t always need to involve a permanent staple on the shop floor. You can pilot new initiatives and see what sticks.
A great modern example of this is the Tiffany concept store in London. Perfume vending machines and personalized shopping all give customers an experience to remember.
- Sell Services Not Just Products
When a store can scratch an itch that you haven’t even noticed, they really can hit the mark.
Often making sure you have the right product is primary, but making sure staff can give more to customers will enhance the experience overall. Just think about how valuable present wrapping services are at Christmas time!
Look at your products and see where this added value can be placed. Bra fitting and tailoring services are great in clothing stores, and installation and troubleshooting services can be added to furniture and tech businesses.
- Host Events
A great way to stimulate interest in your retail customer experience is by hosting events. If customers start to view your store as a place to be, rather than just a place to buy goods, they will start to create an emotional attachment to your brand.
Before doing anything, you need to have a clear goal for your events. Is it to sell the remaining stock from your inventory? Introduce new products? Generate press?
You can also think outside the box by holding business-specific events. Providing training to customers on how to use a product, having expert speakers come in to talk and answer questions, or holding an in-store catwalk can all stimulate interest in your local community.
The great thing about holding events is that they can even be transferred to being online, which is vital in this post-covid environment.
- Reward Loyal Customers
We all like it when we are appreciated, and showing your customers that you do pays off.
Creating a points-based system is a good way to track customer spending, affecting your customers. One study has shown that 66% of customers modify the amount spent to collect points.
Making certain offers only available to loyal customers gives an additional layer of exclusivity that all customers enjoy.
- Don’t Forget the Importance of Your Staff
Every person who works for you can make a difference in your sales. So please don’t underestimate the value of investing in them.
Valuing customer service training and making sure that they’re clear about your ideas will help them buy into your brand. Printed name badges allow customers to break the gap between themselves and the staff.
We all hate the process of looking for someone to ask a question. Hence, it is your responsibility to make sure that you have a good staff to customer ratio as small details like this could lead a potential customer to get frustrated and leave without that all-important sale.
- Use Customer Feedback
One of the oldest retail business tips in the book is customer feedback. But it is a regular tactic used because it is effective.
Take the stress off trying to find out what will keep your customers coming back by simply making it easy for them to tell you themselves. Surveys found online and in-store are effective tools, as are customer interviews.
But be sure to have a clear system in place to implement what they suggest. If there is a cacophony of noise in one direction and you figuratively cover your ears, customers will notice and will either stop informing you or, even worse, stop shopping with you.
Customer Experience and Customer Service Are Different
Remember, finding what you want and being tended to by friendly staff won’t make your business special. These are basic things that every customer expects. But having a great retail customer experience is the secret sauce that you need to apply to give you the edge.
Use these steps, and you will be sure to notice an improvement in sales, and more importantly, your customers will notice that your business is serious about pleasing their customers.
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