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Have you given any thought to how you might improve the in-store experience for customers? In the event that your response is "no," then you should brace yourself. It's possible that the years ahead may be challenging for your retail firm.
Why? Because there is now more competition than there has ever been in the retail sector. When it comes to where they choose to invest their time and money, customers have a plethora of options available to them thanks to the proliferation of e-commerce websites and subscription services.
You need to provide customers with compelling reasons to come down to your store and shop if you want to maintain your position as a competitive business.
Are you looking for different strategies to achieve this goal? You will find seven examples and helpful hints listed below to get you started.
The best description of the retail worker of the future may be found in this article from TIME: “cool, charismatic, and higher paid.”
It is beneficial to have in-store technology as well as other bells and whistles, but you should never lose sight of the fact that your front-line staff are the most significant contributors to the overall quality of the in-store experience.
Any retail firm that wants to remain competitive will need to step up their game with regard to the employment of new personnel as well as the continued education of existing staff. It is no longer adequate to train staff on the products you sell and the policies of your store; rather, these things are merely the basic minimum that should be done.
In addition to this, you have the responsibility of providing them with training to help them enhance their relationships with clients. Your staff members should be able to interact with customers in a manner that creates a deep and abiding impression on those customers. This often necessitates shifting one’s role from that of a “salesperson” to that of an authority figure, consultant, or even buddy.
Do you require an example to clarify? Alexandra Sheehan, a content strategist and freelance writer, was recently reflecting on a conversation that she overheard between one of her friends and the employees at a tuxedo shop. The conversation took place a short while ago. The sequence of events proceeded as follows:
“He dropped by the store where he and his groomsmen were buying their tuxedos, and I told her about it in the email,” she said. “One of my friends was getting married in a few of months, and he was getting ready for the big day.” “Another one of my close friends was planning to tie the knot in the following few months.” He was greeted by name, and someone brought him a beverage that was nicely chilled. Everyone greeted one another with handshakes and bear hugs.
I turned to my friend as we were leaving the building and inquired, “Do you know them?” as we were exiting the building. After receiving the response, “Yeah, they’re helping me with my tux,” I pressed him for additional information on the matter.
Their whole relationship was founded on a single transaction, which may be thought of as an encounter between a client and a brand. Nevertheless, the item was not a fake. If I were in the market for a tuxedo right now, though, you can guarantee that location would be the first place I went to seek for one. However, I’m not in that market right now.
Take into consideration the example from earlier whenever you are in the process of recruiting new employees or educating those who are already on the team. Consider the following question: How can you and your workers strengthen the relationships you have with your customers? If your clients still think of you and your workers as “salespeople,” what are some things you may say or do to change their perception of you and your employees?
Discover the responses to these questions, and then put what you’ve learned to use in revitalising your practises regarding staffing and giving service to customers.
The front-line staff that you have are resources on which you may rely to improve the experience of your customers. Because they are the ones who connect directly with consumers on a daily basis, it is essential that you ensure they are capable of developing positive relationships with those customers.
When interacting with customers or clients, your staff doesn’t need to be persuadable (because this may annoy some of those who stop by), but they do need to be active. You need to teach your personnel how to approach visitors, how to describe your products to visitors in-depth, and how to assist visitors who are having trouble locating products in your establishment. Because of this, it is essential that your workforce has a solid grasp of both the things you sell and the brand that you represent.
Do you give your consumers the opportunity to try out your products, or do you simply store them in their original packaging behind the counter? In that case, it’s high time to shake things up a bit and try something new. Figure out how you might showcase your merchandise in new and experiential ways.
This is being handled quite competently by The Game Chest, which is located in the Del Amo Fashion Center. The Game Chest is a locally owned and operated business that combines traditional board games with contemporary toys and gives customers the opportunity to interact and play with the company’s wares.
Children can physically play with enormous train sets and blocks in the store because a lot of their items are publicly exposed for customers to see. Demonstrations of the toys are also available for clients to try out before making a purchase at the store. Do you rather rent toys instead? In addition, The Game Chest offers a rental service.
In addition, if you are a fan of board games or card games, they have a specialised section in the shop set up with tables and seats where customers may play. In addition to classes and competitions, the shop frequently hosts other types of events.
Gymboree, an apparel store for children, is yet another business that promotes having fun by getting their customers’ hands dirty. A place for children to sketch and colour is available at the location that serves the Del Amo Fashion Center. While their parents are out shopping, the kids will have something to keep them occupied.
It is now up to you to proceed. Are you able to brainstorm and try out new ways to bring more interactive pleasure to your store? You might want to consider letting buyers try out your products by playing with them. Or perhaps you might spread the word about activities that keep the youngsters occupied. Determine what attracts customers and observe their reactions.
Customers will undoubtedly be aesthetically drawn in by your store’s lovely decorations as well as its many and cutting-edge amenities. However, putting your attention solely on visualising things is not sufficient. People who visit your shop almost probably harbour the expectation that they will be able to give your wares a personal try. Therefore, make it easy for them to feel the experience of using your products so that they will be more inclined to acquire them. This will increase the likelihood that they will purchase your goods.
This strategy is applicable to all kinds of retail establishments, not only those that sell apparel or shoes, like the ones I just mentioned. For instance, if you sell cosmetics, you could offer free cosmetic testing so that your customers may check out your makeup products firsthand. This would be especially helpful if you sell high-end cosmetics. In a similar vein, if you sell electronic goods, you should make it possible for customers to test out the various devices that catch their attention.
You should go out of your way to make your consumers feel comfortable at your establishment. In addition, it is in your best interest for them to continue making repeat visits to your retail location. Therefore, the thing that you need to do is to establish an environment that gives people a sense of ease while they are shopping.
It would be nice if you could play some upbeat music in the background throughout the store. This has the potential to stimulate joy as well as other good feelings. Make sure that customers can travel easily around the aisles of your store without fear of knocking anything over or losing their footing. Make sure there is a chair available for fatigued guests that is both pleasant and functional as a seat.
If you do have an online store, which you really ought to, you should make sure that your e-commerce website and your physical location can communicate with each other effectively (s). Keep in mind that today’s consumers shop using a variety of different devices and channels to complete their purchases. They are conducting research and making purchases using their mobile devices, desktops, and tablets in addition to shopping in physical stores.
If you already have a physical store in addition to your online store (which you should do! ), make sure that your e-commerce website is compatible with both locations. Give your clients the option to place orders through your e-commerce website and pick up their purchases from your physical location. According to research conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), 69 per cent of customers who go to a store to pick up an order wind up making extra purchases while they are there.
When you employ an automated retail system, it will be much simpler for you to combine the experiences of buying both online and in traditional stores. Through the use of a single system, you are able to manage your customers, as well as your sales and orders.
You can also bring your e-commerce to your physical business by allowing customers to browse your online store while they are at your physical location. This is another way to introduce your e-commerce to your physical store. If you run more than one store and don’t keep all of your inventory in a single location, this is potentially a very useful tactic for you to employ.
Because of this, it is essential to not merely have a presence on a number of various channels; rather, you should make it possible for customers to effortlessly shop across both physical and digital channels. To put it another way, you need to function as an omnichannel retailer. How to do it:
Click-and-collect is a service that allows customers to make purchases online and then pick them up in a physical store. This service is not only handy for customers, but it also increases foot traffic and overall sales in your physical locations. The fact that almost one-third of buyers chose to pick up their purchases in-store during the most recent holiday season is evidence of this trend. In addition to this, the International Council of Shopping Centers found that 69 per cent of customers who picked up their online orders in a physical store also made further purchases.
The question now is, how exactly can you put the click-and-collect system into action? Having a centralised retail solution that enables you to manage orders, sales, and customers all from within one system is the first thing you need to do. Alternately, if your physical and online stores use different systems, you will need to figure out a way to combine the functions of both of these applications.
Talk to your solutions provider about the many omnichannel retail options they have available, whatever the case may be.
It is a good idea to think about ways to improve the brick-and-mortar experience, such as making it possible for customers to browse your online shop while they are in your physical location. This is an excellent service to provide, particularly if you have a number of different locations or warehouses and don’t keep all of your inventory in one location.
If you allow customers to explore your e-commerce site while they are in your store, they will be able to view products and versions that you might not have physically available. If they find something that interests them, you can simply instruct your employees to make an order for them and have it delivered to their house if they decide to purchase it.
Take note of what Nike is doing in this regard. The supplier of athletic apparel has installed giant touch screens in certain of its stores so that customers may explore Nike.com and place orders for products immediately.
Customers are more likely to walk away from their purchases if there is a lengthy line at the point of sale (the place where they pay for their items). According to the findings of certain studies, after eight minutes of waiting in a checkout line, Americans are more likely to walk out of a business without making a purchase and abandon the checkout line. Shoppers in the United Kingdom won’t even wait around for that long. They won’t even wait the full six minutes before leaving.
You can’t afford to have your customers wait in line for too long. Take urgent action to speed up the process if there are long lines at the checkout counter where you are shopping. Listed below are some ideas to consider:
Are there many people in front of you in the line? Make sure you always have enough cashiers working and open new registers so that you can better serve your customers.
Consider utilising an iPad as your point of sale device to simplify the process even further. This is one of the ways that The Borough Kitchen, which is a homewares business, handles huge lineups within the store. “During extremely busy times…we are able to instantly add a new till by switching on another iPad.” According to David Caldana and Justin Kowbel, the company’s founders, “That just wouldn’t work with a standard till system.”
The fact that using an iPad frees you from being tethered during the checkout procedure is another advantage of doing so. You can swiftly take the checkout process to the consumer and ring up sales from anywhere in the store rather than being stuck behind the cash wrap. This allows you to move around the store more freely.
Are you looking for a more forward-thinking and technologically advanced solution to the problem of long checkout lines? Take a look at what Sam’s Club is doing and get some ideas from it.
The smartphone app for the warehouse shop is called “Scan and Go,” and it allows consumers to scan their items and pay for their purchases without leaving the app itself.
They only need to use the camera on their phone to scan the barcodes of the products they want to buy, pay for their purchases using the Scan and Go app, and then provide their electronic receipt to an employee of Sam’s Club when they are checking out.
There is no question that using this app makes purchasing simpler and more convenient, and it also provides a glimpse into what the checkout process of the future may look like. Although this method may not be suitable for many retailers (especially if you do not already have a mobile app or an active user base), it is nevertheless important to keep it in the back of your mind as an option.
The term “retailtainment” is one that will likely become commonplace in the retail sector, as we highlighted in our article entitled “Retail Trends and Predictions for 2017.”
As its name suggests, retailtainment is the combination of retail and entertainment. It is an attempt made by merchants to provide customers with enjoyable and unique experiences that elevate shopping above anything it has ever been before.
What sort of retail entertainment should you provide for customers? It depends on the store and the people who shop there. It may be possible to achieve one’s goals by recruiting notable individuals or established figures from one’s field.
During the course of the previous year, for instance, Walmart stores in Little Rock, Arkansas invited professional bullfighters to sign autographs for customers inside the stores.
Not only did the stunt result in a significant increase in foot traffic, but it also garnered a significant amount of coverage for Walmart in the regional press.
Another definition of retailtainment is the practice of providing customers with unique or uncommon items. Take for example the actions taken by the clothing business New York & Co. In 2015, the NY&C store located in Cerritos, California, replaced the mannequins in its window displays with actual customers wearing the merchandise.
Because let’s be honest, it’s not every day that you get to see real people dressed up as mannequins, the attraction compelled those walking by to stop and go inside the business.
Find strategies to get people interacting with one another in your store if it makes sense for both your company and your customers. Inviting clients and members of the community to events at which they can acquire new knowledge, engage in conversation with people who share similar interests, or simply take a break from looking at their computer or phone for the entirety of the workday is a great idea.
The Workroom, a craft business located in Toronto, is an excellent illustration of a merchant that has perfected the art of community building. At The Workroom, you may take sewing classes as well as participate in workshops, in addition to purchasing fabric and other supplies. People gain a stronger feeling of community as a result of these activities, which is one of the reasons shoppers continue to frequent the same stores.
The proprietor, Karyn Valino, states that “one of the most important things for me was the communal component.” “[I wanted to have] a location where people who are crafty may meet other people and be surrounded by material that inspires them,” you may quote me as saying. “[I wanted to have] a place.”
Take into consideration the fact that organising events is only one component of community building. The development of a community calls for the cultivation of genuine relationships with patrons and the maintenance of consistent communication with those patrons.
According to Karyn, who works at The Workroom, the company collects information from clients who buy their products and participate in their activities. They also send out newsletters on a consistent basis to keep people informed and to solicit feedback from them.
Karyn claims that engaging in these activities facilitated a deeper connection with the clients she served. “Having such a strong relationship with my clients has proven to be really beneficial. Because I have such a solid understanding of their preferences, I am able to make better informed choices when it comes to making purchases, organising lesson plans, and putting forwards novel concepts.
Do you want customers to come into your store and have a positive memory of their experience? Develop a retail space that envelops clients and compels them to pay complete attention to what’s going on around them.
This is being accomplished by some retailers thanks to technological advancements. For instance, the shoe retailer TOMS has installed virtual reality (VR) headsets in one hundred of its locations so that customers may have a completely different kind of experience with the brand.
The virtual reality (VR) programme that was available in-store at TOMS stores gave customers the opportunity to experience the company’s One for One donation initiative by virtually travelling to Peru. By doing so, TOMS was not only able to raise awareness about its charity initiatives, but it also provided individuals with an experience with the brand that they are unlikely to forget in the near future.
IKEA is yet another retail establishment that is excelling at providing customers with immersive experiences. The home furnishings firm launched The Dining Club, a temporary pop-up store, in the previous year. Within this store, customers were offered the opportunity to run their own restaurant.
According to Ikea, “diners will arrange an intimate meal experience in a cosy kitchen atmosphere to simulate an actual dinner party,” yet they will be able to host a significantly larger number of guests than they would at a typical dinner party.
Guests were taken inside The Dining Club, where they prepared meals for their friends and hosted social gatherings. They were able to appreciate the delicious cuisine and pleasant company thanks to this novel experience (while being surrounded by IKEA products at the same time).
Make a commitment to reimagining the customer experience in-store.How can you improve the whole shopping experience at your store in the most effective way? The straightforward response is that it is variable.
Carry out some study. Ask yourself, or even better, ask your existing clientele, what it is about your establishment that would attract customers to shop there. Should you provide services across all channels, or not? Should you focus on fostering community relationships? Getting to know your customers and trying out new ideas is the only way to figure out the answer to this question.
Will it be a simple process?
Not likely. To succeed in the coming weeks, months, and years, however, it is essential that you take this step.
When there are long lineups at the checkout, customers will second-guess their decision to purchase your goods. In order to avoid having to wait in large lines, you could set up multiple registers and cashiers to expedite the checkout process. The fact that there is only one cash register to handle all of the payments most commonly causes the lines to become extremely long.
Installing a point-of-sale (POS) system at your retail establishment is the most efficient method for accelerating the process of checking out customers. Because it can be used not only on cash registers but also on smartphones and tablets, it frees cashiers from the need to rely on cash registers to process customer payments. This is especially helpful in situations in which cash registers aren’t functioning properly or the power is out, as both of these scenarios are common. Because of this approach, your personnel will be able to quickly locate the items that the clients are searching for without any difficulty at all.
Any retail establishment that wants to remain competitive will need to step up their game. Have each associate go from being a “salesperson” to being a consultant, expert, or even friend. Your employees ought to be able to engage with consumers in a way that leaves a lasting impression. Take into consideration the illustration whenever you are hiring new associates or instructing existing ones. Empower your front-line staff to improve the experience of your customers.
Figure out how you might showcase your merchandise in new and experiential ways. The Game Chest is a locally owned and operated business that combines board games with contemporary toys. Gymboree, an apparel store for children, is yet another business that promotes having fun by getting their customers’ hands dirty. For instance, if you sell cosmetics, you could offer free cosmetic testing so that your customers may check out your products firsthand. Or perhaps you might spread the word about activities that keep the youngsters occupied.
If you already have an online store, make sure that your e-commerce website is compatible with both locations. 69 percent of customers who go to a store to pick up an order wind up making extra purchases while they are at the store. Make it possible for customers to effortlessly shop across both physical and digital channels. Click-and-collect is a service that allows customers to make purchases online and then pick them up in a physical store. Almost one third of buyers chose to pick up their purchases in-store during the most recent holiday season.
69 per cent of customers who picked up their online orders also made further purchases. Customers are more likely to walk away from their purchases if there is a lengthy line at the point of sale. Take urgent action to speed up the process if there are long lines at the checkout counter where you are shopping. Listed below are some ideas to consider. “Retailtainment” is the combination of retail and entertainment.
It is an attempt made by merchants to provide customers with enjoyable and unique experiences. Sam’s Club’s Scan and Go app allows customers to scan their items and pay for their purchases without leaving the app itself. The Workroom, a craft business located in Toronto, is an excellent illustration of a merchant that has perfected the art of community building. Inviting clients and members of the community to events at which they can acquire new knowledge is one of the reasons shoppers continue to frequent the same stores. Some retailers are providing customers with a completely different kind of experience in-store.
Virtual reality (VR) headsets have been installed by TOMS, Ikea and IKEA. Shoes retailer TOMS has installed virtual reality headsets in one hundred of its locations. When there are long lineups at the checkout, customers will second-guess their decision to purchase your goods. Multiple registers and cashiers can expedite the checkout process. A point-of-sale system is the most efficient method for accelerating the process of checking out customers.
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