“The phrase customer experience gets a lot more play than it did in the business world in the past when people would simply throw it around synonymously with the phrase customer service. We’ve established these two things are definitely not the same. Customer experience is now seen as a key business strategy for every brand.”
As a retailer, you may have limited bandwidth and resources at your disposal, but applying these tips to your retail ecosystem will drive store success.
1. Have a Customer-First Mindset
Both Apple and Amazon are known to hire staff with an unrelenting dedication to the customer experience. In our article 7 Things Retailers Can Learn From Apple, retail expert Francesca Nicasio details Apples’ focus on listening and empathizing with each customer.
“There’s a difference between sympathy and empathy, and that’s something Apple knows well. When a customer comes to your store, they most likely have a problem that your product can help solve. Apple knows this, which is why they train employees to solve problems by listening and being empathetic with customers — to put themselves in the customer’s shoes.”
For example, one of the steps in the company’s “steps of service” is to “listen for and resolve any issues or concerns.” The point isn’t to sell right away, but rather to “understand all of your customers’ needs — some of which they may not even realize they have.”
Choose to hire and invest in staff members that truly love your product and will be bold brand ambassadors for your store. Their excitement for the product and sensitivity to the customers’ needs will forge a genuine connection that won’t be forgotten.
2. Curate an Experience They Will Remember
Brands take note: Customers want to be entertained, delighted and excited!
Curating an ever-changing in-store experience through pop-ups or dynamic merchandising can be a powerful way to engage customers, and drive social shares. We featured two great examples in our article 5 Retail Merchandising Trends to Watch out for;
L’Occitane en Provence… launched a flagship store that features a social media area of inviting yellow bikes in front of a Provence backdrop for Instagrammable pics that are featured automatically on a live video feed.
Meanwhile, Timberland now has a retail pop-up that — quite literally — is full of life. The 3,500-sq. ft space is decked with Birch trees, hanging plants, and moss. Visitors can even participate in “weather experiences” which include a digital rain room.” – Francesca Nicasio
Let your products and brand story inspire merchandising that is both “Grammable”, memorable and educational. Need some inspiration? Explore our top merchandising how-to guides.
- 5 Retail Merchandising Trends to Watch out for in 2019
- 6 Ways to Use Visual Merchandising to Drive Social Shares
- How to Invest in Merchandising that Can Be Used All Year
3. Let Customer Experience Inform all aspects of your brand
“The new formula for success is now measured by how well retailers can personalize, customize, digitalize and socialize.”
In the shifting retail landscape, the experience can matter even more than the product and should be considered when making any merchandising, marketing, assortment, or leadership decision.
Can you create value through personalized marketing to your target audience? Can you make the experience for customers as frictionless as possible by allowing them omnichannel, and in-store alternatives to a traditional checkout? Can you drive social sharing through creative, engaging marketing?
4. Adopt Technology to Power a Better Experience
Customer Experience enhancing technology is much more than collecting names, emails and phone numbers or recording purchases. As retail continues to evolve retailers ahead of the pack are adopting data-driven systems to anticipate what the consumer needs, before they need it, and to deliver it in a simple way. Not only that, but to educate, simulate, and allow customization around product like never before.
According to a 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), 55% of retailers plan to leverage technology within the next three years to refine and customize CX.
In Merchandising, digital signage- both large and small can catch the attention of a customer, and promote a more interactive experience. AAMSCO has developed a smart mirror that lets customer interact with digital product and request different colors and sizes and descriptions without leaving the dressing room.
AI is being utilized across industries to save time by automating customer interactions post-sale and addressing simple customer questions. Tulip Retail is an app which allows store associated to be more informed “consultants. Using their mobile devices to access notes on customer preferences, inventory, product descriptions, and reviews.
Data collection allows field teams to track in-store operations, merchandising and customer service performance in real time and identify areas that need improvement.
More ways to improve your customer experience and boost sales:
- Keeping Customers Happy with the In-Store Experience
- From Seasonal to Loyal: 5 Tips for Converting Holiday Shoppers into Year-Round Customers
- 5 Steps CPGs Should Take to Keep a Cohesive Brand Experience Across Multiple Retail Banners
Bindy is the leading retail audit platform. It runs on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Field managers and stores use the app to complete smart checklists at store-level, take photos, and assign tasks with automated reminders. Head office can ensure programs are deployed in time, in full, everywhere.