The retail industry is currently in a state of transition. The efficiency, convenience, and cost-effectiveness of online shopping have driven retailers to think creatively about new ways to add value to customers’ lives. Some brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to keep up with the rapidly-changing landscape. Others are leading the field with innovative customer engagement ideas and groundbreaking store concepts.
One thing remains constant in the chaos: the retail customer experience is still every retailer’s highest priority.
Whether you’re improving site speeds, training staff on experiential retail concepts, or investing in mobile marketing innovations, your company is pursuing advancements that will have a positive impact on UX. With the right strategy, you can use these improvements to transform average shoppers into brand advocates.
The following tips will help your company create a retail customer experience that increases awareness, deepens brand loyalty, and improves your chances at securing greater market share even as the market continues to evolve.
5 High-Impact Tips for Improving the Retail Customer Experience
In the age of effortless online shopping, 58% of Gen Z consumers say going into physical stores is still their first choice—and, according to Salesforce, older generations feel the same way. The following tips will help your company retain that loyal majority by improving the retail customer experience:
1. Invest in your employees. Face-to-face customer service is the only thing customers can’t get from an online store. In-store interactions with staff are more crucial now than ever before, and companies are reframing the way they invest in employee training, equipment, and compensation as a result. Let’s start with the fact that 53% of Millennials think retail staff aren’t prepared with the tools necessary to provide excellent customer service. If consumers are picking up on this deficit, it’s easy to imagine how frustrated employees must feel. Major retailers are already making great strides in providing for the professional and personal growth of long-term employees—but increasing investments in training and technology will make an even bigger impact on your target customers in the years to come.
2. Perfect your digital shopping platforms. Today’s retail customer experience is a complex blend of digital and in-person interactions. In 2017, 71% of consumers began their shopping experience on a digital platform. That number has since increased to 87%. Because most customers are interacting with your brand through online touchpoints first, it’s crucial that your app or online store functions as quickly and conveniently as possible. Improving site speeds, cart progressions, and direct-to-purchase funnels on social media will significantly improve UX for the vast majority of your customers.
3. Pursue experience over price. Retailers used to snag customers from rival stores based on price alone. Walmart built an entire empire on this principle. But in the age of Amazon Prime, there’s absolutely no way for brick-and-mortar stores to beat the price of online goods. Guaranteed free shipping was the nail in the coffin for price-based marketing. Today, customers come into stores looking for the experience of shopping more than the goods themselves. So, give them the spectacles and attractions for which they’re interested. Schedule pop-up events. Open unique store concepts. Introduce a build-your-own element to your product. Companies can’t win on price alone anymore—but you can attract customers with a really great retail-tainment experience.
4. Personalize your marketing. Eighty percent of customers reported that they’re more likely to purchase from a retailer who personalized their messaging—and 88% of retailers believe their marketing effectiveness has been improved by personalization. Those statistics are enough to make any retailer start personalizing emails, creating buyer personas, and targeting messages to specific consumer cohorts. If you’re looking for a quick solution, one of the easiest ways to personalize your marketing is to reach consumers directly through a rewards app like Shopkick. Through the app, consumers are welcomed to your store with a personalized greeting upon entry, and you get an instant boost in engagement.
5. Connect with digital natives. A growing majority of shoppers today are digital natives who’ve spent their entire lives with the internet as an omnipresent resource. As a result, retail stores are facing a growing need to meet these digital natives at their level, with increasingly creative outreach efforts and share-worthy visuals. Some stores, like Anthropologie, respond by crafting perfectly Instagram-worthy window displays and store concepts that change with the seasons. Others use their stores to build community, through in-person events like yoga classes and celebrity meet-and-greets. The goal is to provide customers with excitement and curiosity. In return, they reciprocate with user-generated content that could be potentially more valuable than all of your Adsense budget combined.
The goal is to provide customers with excitement and curiosity.
The Ultimate Impact of Retail Customer Experience
Let’s say you take all of these tips in stride and incorporate them into a full-force integrated marketing campaign starting tomorrow. You invest in creating happier and better-prepared employees. You upgrade your digital presence, personalize your marketing messages, and create engaging experiences for your digital native consumers.
The impact of all of these efforts is two-fold. First, customers who come into contact with your brand tomorrow will receive a better experience than those who encountered you yesterday—showing long-term customers that their loyalty was worth it. And, as a natural result, those regular shoppers might just develop into fully-fledged brand advocates who spread your messaging far and wide.
This is the power of an improved retail customer experience. By making strategic adjustments, your brand can harness that power to create an even bigger impact on the market and achieve true top-of-mind awareness for years to come.
Interested in a quick way to improve the retail customer experience for your brand? Consider innovating your mobile shopping experience with the most innovative shopping app on the market. Our partners use Shopkick to reward consumers for engaging with their products, resulting in increased brand loyalty and overall market share. Check out their success stories or contact us to get in on the action.
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