The retail landscape is undergoing a mind-bending evolution at the intersection of health, safety, the changing economy, and the expanding digital experience. Corporations must keep retail customer experience top of mind if they are to succeed in maintaining thriving in-store and online sales.
To stay ahead of the curve, corporation leaders can and should become laser-focused on five ways to increase retail customer experience.
Thankfully, Storeworks is well-positioned to guide and equip you in delivering the shopping experiences that preserve customer loyalty, even during the most tumultuous of times.
Collaborating with innovators to bring your stores to the leading edge of customer satisfaction is smart. Contact Storeworks today for partnership in customized intelligent warehousing, store automation, and omnichannel fulfillment.
First, know your retail customer experience gaps
Ideally, you have a team in place to identify gaps in your customer experience excellence. Some relevant and recent examples of these gaps could include:
- Long check-out lines that stretch throughout your store and block the flow of customer traffic as you adhere to local 6-ft. social distancing guidelines
- Communication breakdowns between customer and staff due to newly erected plexiglass “sneeze guards.” (i.e., your customers and staff cannot hear each other as well because of new physical barriers in stores.)
- Requiring a reservation from each customer when previously walk-ins were the norm
- Requiring masks, per local and regional mandates (purchasing them for customers and employees, or turning away customers who don’t wear them)
- No immediate recourse when customers cannot locate their items on store shelves
- Fulfillment and shipping issues
- Displaying items for sale online that have sold out or have been discontinued
- Disengaged or unhelpful employees
- Lack of product knowledge
- Lack of follow-up on a complaint
- Difficult return or refund process
All of these criteria convey a less-than-on-top-of-it retailer and negative experiences for customers. Any negative retail customer experience usually results in customers leaving your physical or online store without making a purchase.
Importantly, these unhappy customers are also less likely to complete their sale at some future date. Psychologically speaking, the rush of getting what you want wanes when you can’t find the item you desire. You tell yourself “maybe I didn’t really need it anyway,” and walk out of the store or away from your laptop.
The more control you can place in the hands of your customers, the better their experience. Further, that control must be as intuitive to the user as possible to keep the customer experience elevated.
For example, many grocery store retailers have added more self-check-out lanes in their stores. Customers who have smaller orders can proceed quickly through a check-out line, pay quickly with a payment card or tap-and-pay, bag their groceries, and head out.
This type of in-store automation means customers can spend less time in enclosed spaces, maintain safer distancing with other customers, and not worry about speaking through plexiglass (and masks) to employees.
Safety and overhead savings go hand in hand with retail customer experience solutions as well. More in-store automation means your employees can selectively interact with customers on demand. You may have a reduced need for staffing with increased automation.
Design for customer clarity
Professionally branded directional signage and helpful employees with headsets also enhance retail customer experience.
Let’s take a large shoe-store example. An enhanced shopping experience might include clearly marked arrows on floors and at eye-level directing customers to try-on stations, and drop-offs for sanitizing shoes you’ve tried on but won’t purchase.
Employees stocking shelves can wear headsets for quicker responses to customer queries, such as checking for extended sizes or styles. Instead of one employee running “to the back” to check inventory, he can ask a staff member already stationed in the stockroom to check on the shoe in question.
Further, if a customer cannot find their desired shoe style or size on the shelf, a well-placed kiosk outfitted with intuitive technology can help them complete their sale.
Speaking of technology
Diving a little deeper into on-site customer experience technology, let’s make sure every person that walks in your store leaves happy to have found what they need.
Customers not finding their desired items on your shelves can lead to massive disappointment and bringing their sales dollars to a competitor. Avoid this pitfall by making your entire inventory available in a few clicks on a customized touch screen.
Positioning in-store ordering kiosks can create brand loyalty bridges between your audience, your employees, and an optimized user experience.
Intuitive kiosks placed strategically throughout your stores enable customers to find the items they want, purchase the items, and schedule a delivery to their closest store or their homes.
When users run into hiccups during the kiosk purchase process, a “call for help” button can alert an employee that a customer needs assistance to complete their sale.
Integrating the kiosk with the mobility systems of employees means that your staff can respond in-the-moment when a customer needs a person to help them navigate your omnichannel sales and inventory solutions.
Choose DFY (done for you) over DIY
There’s a massive difference between a “software and systems upgrade” and a completely customized, integrated system of store automation, customer service, and fulfillment optimization.
While it can be tempting to handle your upgrades internally, investing in the help of a team of architects, designers, and software specialists makes sense. Instead of spinning your wheels in retail customer experience trial-and-error, Storeworks helps you nail the customer experience the first time.
The team at Storeworks are master guides in shepherding their clients to deliver top-tier retail customer experiences, expand your audience, build brand loyalty, and never miss a sale.
When your customers do not have to wait in long lines, can locate their items quickly, efficiently, and at the best price, and can count on their health and safety while in your stores, everyone comes out a winner.
Discovering your unique in-store, online, and integration challenges takes experience and expertise. Creating, curating, and implementing those precise solutions is where we excel for our clients.