Guest blog from SameSystem. SameSystem is a workforce management solution designed explicitly for retail by retailers. In this blog post, they give you three tips on how to create excellent customer experiences that will leave your customers wanting more.
With online shopping becoming a bigger and bigger part of our lives, it has led many to assume that brick-and-mortar retail is dying. This is far from the case, but to thrive in tomorrow’s retail industry, store owners need to rethink the retail experience they offer their customers Here’s how to do it.
We have all heard the story. Online retail is on the rise - and rise - while physical retail is steadily dying, with brick-and-mortar stores succumbing to the competition.
Although it is a widely held belief, it is far from the truth. In fact, more than three-quarters of all retail purchases in Denmark, one of the world’s most digitalized countries, still take place in physical stores.
What is true, however, is that the retail industry is evolving fast, and physical stores have to adapt and embrace the change in order to stay relevant. As a retailer, it pays off to consider what you have to offer your customers that they can’t get online.
Particularly, it is worth rethinking the experiences your customers get in your stores since this is where physical retail has the potential to excel. Besides, nearly half of all consumers say they are willing to pay more for better shopping experiences.
1. Meet Customers with Attentive & Knowledgeable Service
We have all been there. Standing in endless lines to pay for something, wishing we’d just ordered what we’re buying online. Or just as bad: being met by the empty look of a disengaged employee who can’t answer even the most straightforward questions about the products in their store.
Obviously, it’s always been a bad practice to have long lines or disengaged employees, but with the rise of online shopping, it’s never been more important to meet customers at eye level. You must offer your customers what they can’t get online: attentive and knowledgeable service.
So, how do you ensure great customer service?
- For great customer service, you need to train your staff, giving them the right tools, product knowledge, service & sales skills. This can be acquired by training and onboarding your employees.
You might need to invest a bit of time to give your sales assistants the right skills to offer excellent customer service, but it pays off.
By prioritizing onboarding and upskilling, your employees will have higher job satisfaction, stay longer in the company and give your customers that high-end service that they are craving and it can spark those sales numbers.
Psst.. If developing a new training and onboarding strategy seems demanding, don’t you worry, there are great digital tools to make the process easy and enjoyable just click here.
- Another thing to consider is whether you could be planning better. Duty rosters might not be the sexiest topic, but a good duty roster can make the difference between a profit and a loss.
When your stores are bustling with life, it pays off to have enough employees on the sales floor who can upsell customers and make sure people aren’t met with long lines.
On slow days, however, when your stores are almost empty, it is critical only to have a minimum of employees on the sales floor to ensure you don’t pay for unneeded work time.
Even for experienced managers, it can be difficult to predict precisely when stores will be busy, which is why investing in forecasting software is a good idea.
With an advanced workforce management solution, you can use artificial intelligence to accurately predict customer traffic down to a quarter of an hour, making sure you always have the right number of people on the floor
2. Embrace Omnichannel
Many people think of online and physical retail as being at odds with each other, but this is far from the case. When done right, the sum of web shops and brick-and-mortar stores is much greater than its parts.
True omnichannel experiences transcend platforms and deliver flexibility and seamless experiences to customers by allowing them to switch effortlessly between desktops, phones, and physical stores when shopping.
With an omnichannel strategy, you can, for instance, allow your customers to check store inventory online to make sure they never visit your store in vain, and you can let them buy products on their phones and pick them up immediately at their chosen location.
The rise of omnichannel is an excellent example of how physical retail still offers great value today. People do want to touch, feel and see products in real life, but it needs to be convenient for them, which you can ensure by embracing omnichannel.
3. Rethink the Physical space
Imagine a four-story historic building in the middle of Paris filled to the brim with immersive retail experiences. As you move up the floors, you are met by wall-to-wall design installations, interactive gaming stations, parkour-inspired running activities, and a customization lab where you can design your own sneakers, to name a few things.
The place is called Nike House of innovation, and it is an excellent example of how to rethink the purpose of brick-and-mortar stores.
We know, we know… most retailers don’t have the budget of Nike, the world’s biggest sports brand, to build immersive shopping experiences. *
Still, the days when retail was simply about transactions of goods are gone, and there is a multitude of ways to create experiences to remember – one to fit every retailer and budget.
For instance, if you sell yarn or other hobby products, you can focus on creating a cozy location with room to knit and host workshops. If you are a sports store, on the other hand, it might be better to build something people can try out for themselves, like a climbing wall.
Another benefit of making an extra effort to create a space to remember is that it gives your customers – especially millennials and generation z – the chance to document and share their experiences on social media. You can even go the extra mile and make selfie walls or beautiful spots meant for taking photos.
To summarize: brick-and-mortar stores will continue to play an important role in the retail industry of tomorrow if they manage to create superior customer experiences.
There are many ways to do this. Among others, it pays off to make an extra effort to build memorable and selfie-friendly physical spaces, to embrace the omnichannel experience, and to make sure that your customers are always met with attentive and knowledgeable service by securing great onboarding and training for your employees.