Engagement—or the ongoing interactions offered by the company and chosen by the customer —is necessary for companies to gain and sustain business.
Companies should strive to make these interactions as effortless and rewarding as possible for shoppers, so customers see value in strengthening their emotional investment over time.
In-store engagement was a top investment priority for retailers in 2019. Businesses view customer engagement as a path toward greater personalization, an improved retail experience, mobile integration, and enhanced responsiveness that will set them apart from their competitors.
How to Drive Consumer Engagement
There are countless ways to drive in-store engagement. Among the most popular:
Mobile apps: Through 2020, retailers will continue to offer more mobile services to include personalized shopping recommendations, a wealth of purchase information, and more targeted promotions. Advancing technology will allow retailers to offer shoppers smartphone-enabled checkout, advertise through in-store games, and send targeted push offers.
Loyalty programs: Loyalty rewards might come in the form of providing a discount after a shopper buys a certain amount of goods or it might be a system where purchases translate to points, which can be redeemed for a special reward such as a gift card or free hotel stay. Some loyalty programs include generous perks for loyalty program members only, like free ship-to-home, early shopping hours, or free clothes tailoring.
Experiences: Overwhelmingly, consumers are valuing experiences over “stuff,” but who says they have to choose? Businesses can invite guests into a convenient retail space where they can shop and experience something fun and unique as well. Personal appointments, workshops, and classes are rewarding ways to complement and add value to the products carried.
Knowledgeable Staff: Sometimes a “reward” can be as simple as helping a customer with a solution to a problem in a friendly, efficient manner. Training staff members to offer intrigue, show customers something new, and provide enlightening information is an art form, but one that can pay dividends if it’s done well.
The Benefits of Rewarding Engaged Customers
Rewarding customers for in-store engagement requires thoughtful planning and investment, but here’s why it’s worth your while…
Rewarding engagement actually breeds true loyalty.
The average consumer belongs to more than 13 reward programs. This is good news because repeat shoppers spend an average of 67% more. Even though there seems to be much competition, the reality is that 77% of loyalty programs fail within the first two years because they reward customers for purchases, rather than engagement. Just a quarter of loyalty programs offer rewards for engagement, so this is a great area for differentiation and garnering true loyalty.
In-store engagement ensures the viability of a brick-and-mortar.
More than 9,100 brick-and-mortars shuttered their doors in 2019. The word on the street is not that physical stores are dead, but rather, that the landscape is changing. People are still flocking to shops in droves due to the customer support they find from retail representatives. Nearly 60% of customers say they are more satisfied with the service they receive in-store vs. online. Similarly, 62% of shoppers ranked “friendly” and “knowledgeable” employees as the most important aspect of their in-store experience, followed by “the ability to find items easily” and the “speed/ease of checkout.”
Engaged shoppers spend more.
There are many ways to measure engagement, but one measure would be a consumer who becomes a social media follower, reads a company’s posts, and routinely likes, shares, or comments. One study found that shoppers who engage with brands on social media were found to spend 19% more. Other studies have found engaged customers purchase 50% more frequently and spend 200% more annually.
Engaged shoppers visit more often and refer others.
Forrester found that customers who had a better in-store experience were less likely to go elsewhere and more likely to recommend it. Engaged omnichannel shoppers visited brick-and-mortar stores 23% more often over a six-month period and were more likely to recommend the store to others.
In-store engagement improves the in-store experience.
At one time, retailers perceived digital technology as an impediment to business. However, mobile engagement is now viewed as one way to vastly improve the in-store experience for shoppers. Most consumers say they are open to receiving notifications by smartphone while in-store for better personalization. They don’t just shop on their mobile phones, but they use them while shopping in-store, too.
In-store engagement allows for more efficient operations.
Engaging customers is not just more convenient for shoppers, but it’s more efficient for retailers, too. Stores are implementing mobile checkout, staff members equipped with real-time inventory data, curbside and in-store pickup, free in-store returns, and digital information kiosks to make a trip to the store quicker, more convenient, and less stressful. Employees who may have once been trapped behind the cash register can now meander freely through the store, assisting customers one-on-one and checking them out wherever they happen to be.
Engaging customers is not just more convenient for shoppers, but it’s more efficient for retailers, too.
Shopkick Offers Rewards for In-Store Engagement
Shopkick is a mobile shopping app that allows retail and brand partners the opportunity to engage customers in-store. To achieve results in loyalty, you need to give shoppers what they want—a horizontal brand experience across channels. People have few apps on their phones these days, so it’s beneficial to partner with a third-party app they’re likely to already have: Shopkick.
We are so much more than a loyalty app; we reward people for engaging with brands in meaningful ways. Want to offer gift card rewards for in-store engagement? Contact us or read about our partners to get inspired.
Image courtesy of Dean Drobot