eCommerce is all the rave right now when it comes to shopping. But no matter how advanced software solutions are for eCommerce platforms, it can’t replicate particular in-store experiences for customers, like the access to a fitting room when trying clothes and other items that you wear. Even tech-savvy Gen Zers still like to combine the efficiency of buying merchandise online and in-store experience, where interaction with expert retail staff allows them to make informed decisions about the items they purchase.
While eCommerce will continue to be accessible as mega-businesses like Amazon and Alibaba thrive, brands, whether big or small, will still benefit from strategies to improve in-store customer experience.
An Overview of Buying in America
Here’s the thing: a study of around 46,000 customers revealed that only 7% preferred to buy stuff online only. A higher 20% of those surveyed still preferred to go to actual brick-and-mortar stores. What’s even more interesting is that 73% spend their money online and by going to retails stores.
This indicates that in-store experience will still be the primary consideration when strategizing on how to increase sales. A happy customer will likely be a regular returning customer.
Focusing on Key Strategies
They say data now is king. But that is true only after the interaction between and amongst goods, processes, and people is converted to zeros and ones through some algorithm. That interaction needs to happen first. For both store employees and buyers, that interaction translates to customer experience. Here are a few focus areas for you to consider to improve in-store customer experience.
- Start with your employees. Creating excellent customer service starts with your employees. If your employees are happy, the chances are high that your customers will be, too. This means that you need to create greater job satisfaction. The approach is two-fold: a) provide them with the necessary training not only to make them product experts but also to make them experts in dealing with customers; and b) provide important benefits like sales incentives or an office environment reinforcing positivity.
- Who are your customers? Knowing who your customers are is crucial to implementing an excellent customer experience strategy. Each customer has a different reason for going to your store. You need to create several personas that represent actual people that come to your store. For example, John visits once a month and stays long at the tie section and often buys at least two ties. Your goal is to establish empathy and understand your customers’ behavior so that you can expertly deal with their needs or questions.
- Technology is inevitable. With the use of digital devices such as touch tablets and an organized way of collecting customer information, store employees have easy access to data about customers, like previous purchases or loyalty points. Knowing details like these allow retail staff to have a better engagement with customers. They can, for example, remind them how customers can use their loyalty points or inform them about a new version of a previous item that they bought. Customers will appreciate both the effort and information while you are already engaging them in an upselling strategy.
Offer a genuine smile. Greet them as they enter your store. Never lose patience when dealing with a demanding customer. Don’t forget to say, “thank you.” There are probably a hundred more small ways you can do to improve customer experience. These general strategies will set the tone for you.