This week we feature an article by Daniel Bishop, the assistant editor and marketing consultant for ReallySimpleSystems. He writes about creating a better experience for customers when they come into a store. We all know that the retail landscape changed massively in 2020. However, the truth is that the Covid-19 pandemic probably only accelerated what […]
This week we feature an article by Daniel Bishop, the assistant editor and marketing consultant for ReallySimpleSystems. He writes about creating a better experience for customers when they come into a store.
We all know that the retail landscape changed massively in 2020. However, the truth is that the Covid-19 pandemic probably only accelerated what was happening already. Consumers were turning to online delivery options, and they will continue to do so. To compete, brick and mortar stores have to do whatever they can to provide excellent customer experiences with every contact they have. That means offering new services, such as curbside pickup and delivery.
However, it also means creating a better experience for customers when they come into a store. Much like visitors will click away from a poorly designed website, visitors will turn around and walk out if a store isn’t engaging and doesn’t attract their interest. There are simply too many other options to waste time on a subpar one. Here are some ways that you can create a superior in-store experience that will grab attention and excite your customers.
It’s never been easier for someone to sit at home in their pajamas and have everything they need to be delivered to their front door. That means that to keep customers coming back, you need to make your retail space stand out and provide exceptional customer service. Your staff should be trained to be friendly and informative, and ready to help at all times. While the ultimate goal is always going to be making sales, you want customers to feel that they are in a familiar place with friends, rather than being approached as potential sales prospects. Face to face is one of the big advantages that brick-and-mortar stores have over online retailers. You can’t beat personal interaction.
Retailers need to focus on customization as well. This could take the form of appointment shopping and providing what amounts to personal shopper services to customers. While you will want to keep your physical store as the prime place for shopping your brand, you can still offer curbside pickup options and even delivery if you have the capacity to do so.
Many stores have found success by building a community around their brand. They not only sell certain products, but part of their appeal is the feeling of a shared experience. For example, bookstores can hold author readings and events based on children’s literature. Any store can do this, however. Stores that cater to the gamer crowd can hold competitions. Any brand can host live music that reflects its target demographic. Whatever it is, building a community will not only help draw people to your store but also build loyalty. You can become a place to gather and share, as well as buy things.
Another advantage that brick and mortar have over online is that customers can actually see the product in person. Online, it’s often hard to tell how big something is, or how it really looks. You certainly can’t try anything on. However, you can set up your space to highlight your best products and make it easy for customers to see and experience them. If you are concerned about COVID-19 contact issues, then you can place certain products in clear custom acrylic boxes that will display everything to customers but still keep them safe.
Let’s face it, before the pandemic nobody liked waiting in lines. However, post-pandemic, waiting in lines is even less desirable. It could mean standing next to someone who has the virus for an extended period of time. That’s why retailers need to find ways to expedite their checkout procedures to minimize the amount of time waiting. This can take the form of no-tap payment options, self-service kiosks, and portable scanning and debit machines that eliminate the need for a counter. Your staff can walk up to a customer, scan their items, and off they go. This also means that things are more convenient for customers, which should be one of your primary goals with everything you do.
Yes, everything is opening back up, but there is still a sizable portion of the population who remain concerned about coming into contact with the virus. Your retail space needs to respect that, and there should be steps in place to provide a safe environment. That means regular sanitization of surfaces, and making it easy for traffic to flow. If you and your staff are complacent, then you will lose customers. Put up signs and graphics that show the measures you are taking to maintain their safety, and make sure to follow through with those commitments. Doing this builds trust, and trust will build loyalty among your customers.
Bundling is a technique that has been used in several sectors for decades. Retailers can take advantage of it as well. When a customer comes into your store to buy something, your staff should be trying to get them interested in a related product. You can even offer a discount for buying related products in a bundle. That way, you get sales that you might not otherwise have gotten, and the customer gets a discount on those products. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, and your customers will appreciate it.
This has probably never been a more difficult time for physical retailers. There is a lot of competition from newer retail models, and a deadly pandemic has wreaked havoc on the sector. However, by providing a superior in-store experience, you can attract new customers and build loyalty to stay ahead of the competition and thrive.
Daniel Bishop currently is the assistant editor and marketing consultant for ReallySimpleSystems, a CRM System that helps small businesses build long relationships, save time and make more sales.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
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