As much as online shopping evolves, there is still something to be said about in-person retail shopping. Many people still like to get their shopping done the traditional way at brick and mortar stores.
Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that shopping offline is on an upward trend. However, the ease of online shopping has made people more aware of their shopping experience both offline and online. So while the multi-sensory experience of offline shopping is appreciated, a pleasant experience with good customer service is more important than ever. And in an era where customer health and safety demands are at an all time high, businesses must be willing to make in-store accommodations to meet these demands. In this article, we'll discuss how to improve customer shopping experiences for success.
One of the main disadvantages retail stores have compared to online stores is the inability to provide service with no waiting time. Queuing time has a big influence on a customer’s opinion of service, so to enhance shopping experiences for customers, it should be kept as short as possible.
If your business is using markers to maintain the suggested six feet of social distancing, make sure there is a comfortable place for the line to form knowing that it may take up more room in your store.
Here are some ways you can reduce the lines in your store:
“Excellence is in the details.” When it comes to the retail shopping experience, nothing could be more true. Creating an excellent shopping experience for your customers means putting yourself in their shoes and thinking about the little things that could enhance it for them. Do they need a place to sit as they browse through your book section? Are the other levels of the store wheelchair accessible? Small details can determine whether or not the customer shopping experience is pleasant.
In the same breath, it is important to remember that many shoppers do not visit your store alone. When thinking of how to improve shopping experiences for your customers, do not forget the “co-shoppers”. These are the husbands, wives, friends, and children who accompany the actual shoppers.
For example, if the kids are having fun, the parents doing the shopping are likely to be having fun as well. This means they will spend more time in the store and buy more. More importantly, if your shoppers don’t have anywhere to put their kids, they most likely will not be visiting at all.
There are various ways to take care of co-shoppers: A chair for the shopper's partner to sit on while waiting for them to try on clothes can do a lot for patience, while a kids zone with games can give them some much-needed peace of mind. These things take little effort to execute, but have big rewards at the checkout counter.
The shopping experience your customers have will be greatly influenced by their interactions with your staff. One study showed that U.S. companies lose an estimated $41 million dollars every year because of poor customer service. Against that number, the cost of investing in your staff seems minuscule.
Creating an engaged and motivated workforce involves training your retail staff to be up-to-date on all of the products you sell as well as best practices that improve sales. If your staff is knowledgeable about a product and its benefits, the customer will have more confidence to purchase it. Sales techniques such as how to deal with different personality types and how to de-escalate a confrontation are also invaluable in the retail sector.
Staff should be strategically placed around the floor to ensure that they are available to people when they need them. Mandating that your staff wear a mask while engaged with customers may also entice shoppers to spend more time in-store. To many, wearing masks is a sign of taking the cleanliness of your store, and the health of your employees and customers, seriously.
Most of all, your staff should focus on building a relationship with the customer rather than pressuring them to buy your products. Instead of giving a sales pitch, teach your staff to educate the customers so that they can choose for themselves. Trust is a big part of why people prefer one store over another, and the staff help to make up the impression.
As shopping experiences continue to evolve, retailers must connect physical and digital experiences. Just because you are running a “traditional” brick and mortar store doesn’t mean you have to keep things old fashioned.
How can retailers take advantage of technology? For one, they can provide staff with tools that enable them to provide more value to the customer. A modern enterprise POS system is one such tool that can gather all types of information on your customers, which then can be used to customize offers and recommendations based on previous interactions. Not only are they efficient and automatic for the shopper’s convenience, but they also make the returning customer feel more valued.
Improving the in-store experience with interactive kiosks, in-store video, and infotainment allows the customer to engage and interact more with your store. One disruptive innovation offers customers entertainment with advertisements at the checkout line. By placing video screens above the checkout register, stores keep customers entertained while they wait in line. Aside from advertising, the screens also collect attention-based data that can be used to track foot traffic and optimize the shopping experience even more.
The Revel's self-service kiosk is an example of an interactive kiosk that can revolutionize the customer’s experience. It is a self-service kiosk that offers customers the option of self check-out or ordering, eliminating long lines during busy times.
Embracing technology also involves making friends with the competition: online shopping. You’ve done all you can to improve the shopping experience for your customers in your stores; it’s time to take it to the Internet. You can do it in the following ways:
Your store should be easy to discover and learn about online. Make sure you are registered with Google Maps and all local online store locators. Having a social media presence through which you can interact with your customers goes a long way in creating a positive brand sentiment. While you're at it, encourage customers to rate their experience at your store on online channels like Google or Yelp.
E-commerce is the future, and more people are starting to expect to shop their favorite brands online. An online store complements your physical location in two ways: one is that customers who are already familiar with your store get the added convenience of shopping from home when they want.
The second is that it drives more foot traffic to the store. Facebook’s research arm, Facebook IQ, found that the online buyer’s journey often ends with a visit to the physical store, especially with clothing and electronics. Most people want to try and see items in person before they buy them, and easily return things in case they change their minds later. Having an already established location puts you at an advantage over the rest.
For your customers to enjoy easy shopping, store employees play a big role. Good customer service is imperative to a positive shopping experience. But how your employees treat their customers is directly related to how you treat them.
A valued employee is more likely to take the initiative to improve the store, be more patient with shoppers, and be better at problem-solving. This translates to happy customers and business growth as a result of more than just increased sales.
There are many ways to increase work satisfaction for your employees: Make them feel appreciated by recognizing and rewarding effort, offer growth opportunities in the business, encourage teamwork to make them feel like the store’s success is their success, and above all, foster a happy and friendly work environment.
There are plenty of ways to create a happy, motivated, and productive team. It’s important to be proactive about learning and implementing them in your business. A content team has long lasting effects on business performance, especially in the retail industry.
Understanding how people like to shop goes a long way towards driving traffic to your store. Creating a positive retail shopping experience involves balancing exceptional customer service and improving the in-store experience with intuitive and innovative methods.
Revel’s quality and reliable retail POS system provides your business with an upper hand in improving customer experience. Our host of enterprise services include everything from POS hardware to dedicated account management. Connect with our team and request a free demo to help you choose the right services for your business.