According to a study done by Salesforce, 84 percent of consumers say that customer experience is just as important as a company’s products and services.
In fact, customer experience is one of the biggest factors that retailers have to consider. Happy shoppers equal more sales, and more sales means more revenue.
But what exactly do shoppers need in order to have positive experiences while they’re in your stores? How can retailers make sure they are meeting these customer needs?
What is Retail Customer Experience?
Customer experience, also referred to as CX, refers to all of the interactions a customer has with a retailer or brand. This includes everything from finding products online, shopping in stores, speaking with customer service, or having your products serviced.
CX applies to in-store interactions as well as online ones. Every single consumer touchpoint is a part of customer experience.
Why is Customer Experience Important?
As the rate of online shoppers has increased, so has the importance of consumer experience. Or rather, there are more ways for a customer to interact with a brand or retailer than there ever has been before, so now maintaining those interactions can have a deeper impact on the success of your business.
Because of this, your company should consider developing a retail strategy that focuses on customer experience. Some benefits of this include:
- Improved customer retention and loyalty
- Increased sales
- Improved brand image
When you spend time and effort improving your shoppers’ experiences in your stores, you aren’t just creating a singular positive interaction. You are building lasting relationships with your consumer base. Many shoppers are willing to go out of their way to shop at a store where they feel happy and comfortable.
But the same can be said for the bad experiences.
If people aren’t happy with your store’s products, services, or experiences, then what stops them from just moving on to a different retailer? It’s up to you to ensure your shoppers stay happy and keep them coming back for more.
Strategies to Improve Your Retail Customer Experience
As we continue to move further into the world of omnichannel shopping, some retail CX strategies you might have relied on in the past will need a little tweaking.
So, what can you do to make sure your customers are having the best experiences possible while shopping with you? Here are some tips.
Analyze Your Shopper Touchpoints
Start by identifying every point along the customer journey where shoppers’ experiences can be improved upon. It’s important that you think about every way in which your business can ensure its shoppers have seamless, enjoyable experiences with your business.
Typically, there are four main points in the customer path to purchase:
By focusing your CX improvement strategies along each of these touchpoints, you ensure that you are meeting your shoppers with positive experiences every time they interact with your company.
Incorporate a Human Touch Into Your Customer Experiences
Shoppers want to feel welcomed and understood by the companies they buy from, so it’s important that you try to incorporate a human touch into your CX.
The ability to connect with customers emotionally one-on-one is unique to shopping in-stores. That can sometimes be hard to come by as retail moves further into a digital, technology-based space. Capitalize on this ability at your brick-and-mortar locations.
Personalize your shoppers’ experiences by paying attention to what they like and dislike. By gathering customer info through surveys, emails, and reviews, you can learn more about them and cater to your demographic.
Build strong relationships with your shoppers that will have them coming back for more, knowing that your store is warm and inviting. To do this, make sure your store has clear values, your employees engage in real conversations, and your advertisements are relatable and sincere. These are just a few ways to add some humanity back into retail.
Make Sure Your Store Is Inclusive and Accessible
As a retailer, getting shoppers to make purchases is pretty much your number one goal. So why wouldn’t you make sure that all your shoppers have easy and equal access to your products?
Creating inclusive access looks like:
- Making sure all doorways and aisles are easy to access and fit through, for both able-bodied people and people with disabilities.
- Having ramps or other means of access if there are stairs present
- Obvious, easy-to-read signs for restrooms, exits, or any other important areas
- Decent lighting for ease of reading, navigation
Any of these things and more can be the difference between shoppers leaving your store feeling seen and understood, versus feeling oppressed or forgotten about. It’s important to consider every shopper when designing your store’s layout. Are the aisles intuitive? Are all of the necessities easy to find? If not, consider a redesign.
84 percent of consumers say that customer experience is just as important as a company’s products and services.
Measure Your Current CX & Improve on It
The best way to find out how your customers are feeling in stores is to ask them.
Create a consumer-centric CX strategy by gathering as much feedback from them as you can at each touchpoint. Do so by conducting surveys, running focus groups, and continuously staying in communication with your customer service employees, who will know what issues shoppers are bringing up consistently.
You can’t fix what you can’t see. Consider using software like Wiser’s Shopper Insights, so you can have access to continuous data from your customers that tells you what’s working and what’s in need of improvement.
The importance of positive retail customer experiences cannot be overstated.
As shoppers’ retail options continue to grow, you need to create reasons for customers to choose you and your stores. Try out these tips, continue listening to your customers’ feedback, and don’t be afraid to test different strategies and find what works for you.