Although online shopping is firmly here to stay, in-store shopping is resurging in popularity as customers seek out in-person experiences again after pandemic-induced restrictions. Yet more than 60% of customers say they have higher expectations of customer service now than pre-COVID, according to a recent Zendesk report — and 61% of customers will switch to a competitor after just one bad experience.The message is clear: brick-and-mortar retailers need to up their customer service game, or risk losing business. With this in mind, savvy retailers are focusing on optimizing the in-store customer experience for 2023 and beyond.
How can retailers deliver an exceptional in-store customer experience in 2023?
More than ever, customers expect a speedy, convenient, and personalized buying experience. They want to be taken care of at every stage of their shopping journey, from browsing to buying to receiving their goods. And competition is growing — recent Shopify research concluded that in 2023 and beyond, “Retail brands will need to focus on creating exceptional in-person shopping experiences to stand out”.
Here are five key things retailers need to offer:
An inviting, easy-to-navigate physical environment
The physical environment of your store can make or break a customer's experience. Have you ever walked into a store and felt overwhelmed by rows upon cramped rows of products? Or frustrated you can’t find what you need among a haphazard layout?
A clean, uncluttered, streamlined store environment helps customers navigate the store easily, so they can browse and buy in a more relaxed, enjoyable way. Clear signage and layout, good lighting, attractive decor, and minimal checkout hardware all contribute to a sleek, comfortable shopping experience.
Fast, efficient service
Customers don’t want to hang around. If someone walks into your store and sees a long line waiting to get served, they may just turn around and walk back out again.
To prevent this from happening, optimize your checkout set-up to speed up transaction processing and help you bust those lines. Modern and intuitive mobile POS solutions help everyone get served faster, alongside streamlined fixed-lane tablets for more traditional checkout.
Whichever checkout options you use, quick, efficient POS software is a must to provide the speedy, smooth service your customers expect and your staff will appreciate.
A personalized experience
Ecommerce has blazed a trail for increasingly personalized shopping experiences, and customers now expect the same service from brick-and-mortar stores. Sixty-eight percent of customers expect all shopping experiences to be personalized (Zendesk).
Sync your customer profiles through a POS that integrates all customer and product data across your physical stores, ecommerce website, and mobile apps. With this data at their fingertips, in-store staff can make personalized product recommendations when serving customers and highlight special offers of interest. Joined-up data also enables integrated, better-targeted marketing, from your email campaigns to coupons and rewards.
Last year, 50% of consumers decided to buy from a brand because it had used personalization based on their interests and past purchases, Shopify found.
Flexible, omnichannel shopping options
Today, customers’ shopping journeys rarely take place on just one channel. Instead, many of us switch between websites, mobile apps, and physical stores when browsing, buying, and taking receipt of our purchases, depending on what’s most convenient at the time.
Recognizing this, many popular retailers are increasing sales by offering flexible, omnichannel shopping options such as buy online, pick-up in store (BOPIS) and curbside pick-up. The global BOPIS market is expected to grow to over $700 billion by 2027, according to a new report by Research and Markets. Shopify found over half of consumers expect to use these kinds of options during 2023.
Knowledgeable, helpful employees
The final piece of the puzzle is having knowledgeable, passionate employees to help deliver all of the above. Staff need the right training, support, and tools to do their jobs effectively, especially as retail workers’ roles expand to keep pace with new technologies and customer expectations.
Dealing with slow, clunky systems and cumbersome hardware is frustrating for staff and hampers their efficiency — whether wrestling with sluggish transaction processing or a glitchy inventory report. With a fast, reliable, user-friendly POS system in place, in-store staff can focus on delivering a great customer experience.
Given customers’ soaring expectations, it’s no surprise 56% of businesses told Zendesk that improving customer experiences is a top business priority for 2023. Providing an excellent in-store experience will keep customers coming back and help future-proof your business. Boost your customers’ experience by making sure to offer the following:
With these key things in place, shoppers will keep flocking through your doors, in 2023 and beyond.
Find out more about how SuitePOS can help you deliver a high-quality customer experience