Special Feature - Retail Experiences That Will Keep Customers Coming Back

Business Franchise magazine

Advice on improving and promoting the retail customer experience gets thrown around a lot these days, mainly because your customers can shop from anywhere. At a time, where sites like Amazon, eBay and ASOS are enabling people to purchase products with a tap of a button, traditional retailers need to step up their game and offer experiences that customers can't get on their phone or online.

It's important to remember that although retail may be struggling at the moment, it is alive and well, but it is evolving, and retailers must play on their strengths to ensure their customers keep coming back.

 

Face to face customer service

 

You shouldn't underestimate the value of face to face customer service. Providing customers with a warm welcome, being patient and taking care of the customer’s needs with high-quality service goes a very long way.

The key to excellent customer service is building good relationships with your customers by promoting a positive, helpful and friendly environment. A positive environment will ensure your customers leave with a great impression. Happy customers will return often and are likely to spend more with you.

In the retail space, keep the following customer service points in mind:

  • Perfect your greeting
  • Remember and appreciate regular customers
  • Make an effort to educate and upsell shoppers
  • Go the extra mile for your customers
  • Establish a local connection with your customers
  • Find the perfect solution for each shopper
  • Ensure your product knowledge is flawless
  • Apologise for any mishaps

 

Make your shopfront stand-out

Rather than simply lining up your wares in your front window, create a scene to engage and attract customers -you want to tell them a story about your business.

Make sure your shopfront is clean and fresh for maximum street appeal – don’t let dust gather and update your display regularly.

The right lighting can make a huge impact on your shopfront. Installing overhead lighting or spotlights to make your products stand out and look their best. 

Have fun creating your window space. It’s a great chance to share your products and attract customers.

 

Create customer loyalty

Not only do loyal customers spend more, but loyal customers will refer their friends and family to your store and loyal customers are more likely to respond to marketing campaigns, offers and events.

Give your customers a reason to be loyal, set up ways to communicate with your customers and provide extra perks for your most loyal customers.

If you're thinking about implementing a rewards program; make it free to join, make it easy to take part in and make it worthwhile for the customer.

Unless you are a big name brand offering extremely valuable benefits, there is no reason to expect your customers to pay for your rewards program. Remember the loyalty program is an incentive for them to make more purchases at your store.

Make sure that your customers find it simple taking part in your rewards program - it does not need to be something complicated or time-consuming.

Your customer should want to take part in your rewards program. While it is essential to keep them engaged, the only thing that will make them want to take part in the first place is an attractive perk at the end.

Give back to your loyal customers to display your appreciation, be it through gifts, surprise events, discount offers and secret sales.  

 

Implement personalisation

Personalisation in retail uses your customers personal data to provide tailored shopping experiences to shoppers in a retail environment. Every path to purchase is different, and, personalisation in retail aims to assist each individual based on their behaviours and needs.

Making a customer feel like one in a million can be the secret ingredient to creating a strong connection between your customer and your store.

Before you start on any project, there are a few steps to consider; you will need to have the right technology platform in place, that can store and manage data. You will need to gather as much data as possible from customers, so having a secure and easy to use platform is necessary. Your technology platform will also need to segment and automate the campaigns for you.

All personalisation programmes should have similar goals, including:

  • Increased relevance for the consumer
  • Improved customer experience
  • An increase in sales for the business

Whether you communicate with customers about your loyalty program via email, a mobile app, in-store, or post purchase, communications are integral and should offer appropriate incentives, offers or products.

 

Online shopping options

In today’s market, many purchases involve both digital and physical perusing of goods. A purchase can often begin with online research followed by a visit to the store to make a purchase, or a purchase may start with a customer examining the product in-store but making the purchase online.

Smartphones mean shoppers can perform their research and price comparisons on a product while in the store.

Virtually all large brick-and-mortar retailers will also have a robust online presence, so even if you are a small retailer, an online store is a must-have to increase sales and build your brand. Your customers are increasingly browsing and shopping online, and a presence online will keep you competitive.

 

Offer click-and-collect

Are you already selling online? Great. By offering click-and-collect services in your store, you will not only get people to your physical location, but you can potentially increase sales in the process.

Customers who use click and collect get to control when they want to pick up their delivery, and they don't need to think about missing their delivery.

Also, your customers are not met with any added delivery costs, so it’s much more convenient for customers.

Conversely, offering a simple returns process online or in-store, adds the same benefit to customers and your business.

 

Post-purchase communication

Post-purchase communication is an essential feature of any retailer’s customer retention plan. Post-purchase communication keeps the conversation going with your customers well after they leave your store, and can strengthen the relationship with your brand and builds loyalty.

If you capture your customers' email addresses, phone numbers and mailing address when they make purchases, you can use this to communicate with them after they purchase to cross-sell or upsell.

 

Social media

Most of your customers are likely to follow you on social media after purchasing with you. Make it simple for your customers to find and connect with you online by adding your socials to your website and in emails.

Once your customers are following you, you need to get them to engage with you. Create easy ways for them to share information about their purchases with social posts via a branded hashtag or pre-populated posts.

 

Soliciting feedback

It’s essential to ask for feedback from your customers. Your customers' feedback can inform decisions on product or stock, pricing and branding.

You can seek customer feedback via reviews, surveys and social media; this will not only provide you with great insights but will make customers feel as though their voices are heard and appreciated.

Every interaction you have with a customer has the potential to turn a one-time shopper into a lifelong loyal customer, so play on your strengths and keep those customers coming back.