The retail industry has proven over the last few years to be a quickly and ever evolving industry. There has been much more focus on retailers providing a better shopping experience for consumers rather than just selling items in order to compete with online retail. If you are looking to improve the customer experience in your retail store, here are six easy and practical ways to get started.
1. Don't keep the customer waiting
One of the reasons ecommerce is dominating brick and mortar is that people enjoy the convenience of shopping from home. They like being able to still purchase what they want and need while avoiding crowded stores and long check-out lines. Make sure when you do get customers into your store, they are not kept waiting.
We live in a busy world and people want to get what they want, when they want it. It has been reported that customers will abandon a check-out line after only six minutes of waiting. This is why it is so important to provide your customers with a speedy check-out experience. In order to do this, you'll need to make sure your POS (point of sale) system is up to snuff, being able to easily look-up the customer, apply coupons or discounts, process payments, and print receipts.
You also don't want to keep the customer waiting on the items they are looking for. Make sure your employees have easy access to inventory and are able to either provide the customer with information on another store carrying the item, or order in online for the customer right in the store.
2. Integrated payments and digital receipts
There is nothing worse than waiting to check-out with your items and then finding out that the store does not take your preferred form of payment. Whether it be credit card (with EMV capability) or mobile pay, it is extremely important for retailers to now have integrated payments in their stores.
And while on the topics of payments, try integrating digital receipts into your payments platform. When you are able to send an email copy or text message of the receipt to the customer, it helps get your store name in front of them an extra time and reminds them to shop at your store again. Besides, most paper receipts just get tossed out with the shopping bag anyway.
3. Know your customer
How many times have you been asked to give your name, phone number, or email address when checking out at a retail store? How many times was that information used for anything other spam emails? If I could guess (and from personal experience), I'd say that the latter happens far less often than the former.
It's great to capture customer information to be able to send promotions, sales announcements, or new product lines, but it would be even better to use that information to improve the customer's experience. By capturing this valuable customer information, and also using a retail management suite that tracks the customer's purchase history, you can offer them so much more than general promo emails.
Use your customer data to create a loyalty program thats appeals best to your customers' buying patterns, or send your customer tailored coupons and promotions based on their purchase history. When retailers pay attention to what the customer wants, they will notice! This type of engagement will make your customers much more willing to give you their (real) email address when asked at the register and will help build loyalty to your brand.
4. Engage with customers
Reports and studies are showing that the modern consumer puts more value on engagement with their preferred brands than previous generations. It is not only important to engage your customers in-store by helping them find the items they are searching for, but it is equally important to engage them after the sale has been made.
More and more consumers are taking to social media to research brands and businesses. Make sure when they search for your business, you have enough valuable content on your pages to help that customer make the right decision to shop at your stores. Retailers should also always be available on social media to answer questions when they receive private messages or comments, or to simply say 'thank you' when receiving a good Facebook review.
5. Make sure your brick-and-mortar and online stores are working together
If a customer comes into your store looking for a specific item but it is not currently in stock, the retailer might tell the customer to check online. If that same customer goes home with the intent to order the item online and it is still unavailable, that is going to make for a bad experience, resulting in the loss of customer. Don't let this happen to you!
By using a retail management suite that allows your physical and digital stores to work in conjunction with one another, you are not only providing a better customer experience, but you will be able to make more sales.
6. Stay up to date on customer experience trends
The reason there have been so many headlines about retail store closures over the last year is that those retailers failed at keeping up with consumer trends and technology that helps to improve the customer experience. It is important for retailers to make sure they are doing their research on how the market and the modern consumer are evolving.
It is understandable that all retailers will not be able to implement digital signage or AR (augmented reality) into their in-store experience, but doing things such as upgrading your POS technology to make the check-out quicker and accept more payment options is a simple step. If you aren't providing your customers with the shopping experience they want, it will make it easier to be beat out by ecommerce.
The best way to achieve an overall better customer experience is by upgrading your technology to a retail management suite that will run your entire business on one platform. SuitePOS is built for NetSuite and Salesforce to help businesses not only manage their point of sale more efficiently, but also manage their finance, inventory, marketing supply chain, and analytics. Learn more about SuitePOS and how it can help retailers improve their customer experience.