When was the last time a customer raved about their shopping experience with you? Because happy customers return, a great customer experience is critical to a company’s success.
Unlike the traditional shopping experience, which focuses on how customers interact with and serve your storefront and brand, today’s shopping experience focuses on how customers interact with and help your storefront and brand. Their experience should get built around a customer-centric, omnichannel strategy that prioritizes your customers.
Why Is the Retail Shopping Experience Important?
Customer experience is increasingly popular in retail services. It is cited as one of the vital factors for the customer decisions on whether to purchase a product or not. As you can see in the above image, 96% of the retail executives believe that providing relevant experiences helps to build loyalty.
Improving the shopping experience for your brand is the key to long-term success. In short, the retail shopping experience, both online and offline, is a customer’s perception of your brand and they will share this perception with others.
They are more likely to return if they enjoy interacting with your product. It is similar to how we prefer to spend time with people we like. A branded shopping experience is necessary because, nowadays, customers are more alert and knowledgeable than ever.
In past years, retail stores had product information and focused on sales over providing a customer experience. This is not the case anymore. Today’s shoppers have continued access to information about products and reviews via the internet. What does this mean for retailers?
Retail brands must leverage extraordinary customer experience to stand out to shoppers and competitors. They need to focus more on customer experience, delighting customers rather than making sales.
5 Ways to Improve Your Customer’s Shopping Experience
You need to take vital measures to delight your customers as a retail business. Here are some ways to help you achieve the ideal customer shopping experience:
1. Implement surveys at the right time.
Are you looking to improve the retail experience of your customers but don’t know where to start? The best way to learn about their shopping experience is by implementing a retail feedback system to understand customer behavior and conduct customer satisfaction surveys.
If you think you can do without surveys for your retail brand, you may risk losing customers relationships. Customers who have bad experiences don’t waste their time before switching to another brand.
However, if you can keep customers satisfied, you are building loyalty. According to a Customer Loyalty Study, 37% of customers report that they prefer to consistently shop with the same retailer.
One of the biggest challenges is to ask the right questions to your customers. Questions can vary depending on your niche and its requirements. Here are a variety of retail survey questions you can include in your survey:
General satisfaction questions for retail feedback
- How would you rate the shopping experience you had today?
- How do you rate the behavior and support of the staff at our store?
- How do you rate the ambiance and cleanliness of the store?
- How would you rate the return policies of our store/website?
- Do you feel that the exchange policies of our store/website?
- How would you rate the work of our staff at the billing counter?
- How would you rate our store in terms of ease and quickness of shopping?
Product-related questions for retail feedback
- Are you able to find what you were looking for?
- How easy did you find searching for what you wanted?
- How satisfied are you with the information related to products on our website?
- Were the store staff supportive enough to assist you in finding the items of your choice?
- Do you feel the items are fairly priced at our store?
- How satisfied are you with the product varieties available at our store/website?
Service-related questions for retail feedback
- How much are you satisfied with our customer service?
- How would you rate the efficiency of our staff in terms of proactive assistance?
- Are you happy with the after-sales services provided to you?
- Do you feel that our customer service can be made better?
2. Personalize the customer experience
Personalizing the customer service won’t be going away any time soon. 80% of the customers are more likely to purchase from companies that provide some personalized experience.
If you are working with customers, a surefire way to create lasting relationships is to get to know them. Some customers might have doubts and want to talk to sales associates in the store.
But the best way to keep track of customer preferences is via an omnichannel loyalty program. 62% of customers prefer personalized offers based on their preferences. By implementing a loyalty program, you can track customers’ buying habits and product preferences and offer them relevant rewards.
Tori Erickson, Owner of Loyal Tree Boutique, has to say about loyalty programs.
“I have multiple customers that use their rewards every day. They look forward to it. They say, ‘I got the text; I get $10 off today.”
But providing exclusive customer offers isn’t the only way you can personalize your experience. Here are some simple ways shopping malls can implement personalization:
- Focus on the customer in front of you.
- Introduce customers by name.
- Go the extra mile.
- Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
2. Add social media touch to your in-store experience and gather feedback
It is no secret that people love sharing their experiences on social media channels. Because of this, many retailers are using social media backdrops.
Create an area in your store where customers can sit and take photos. They can easily share their experiences on their social media. The key is to cover events that align with your brand and sync it with social media themes.
You can also go one step further and set up a pop-up shop in your store. If you have a large store, have temporary “pop-in” shops. You can partner with another brand to make it happen for the best results.
A famous swimwear brand Segara did it. Segara partnered with Cuyana, a California-based retailer that sells women’s essentials, to hold pop-in events in their location.
As a store, you need to gather customer feedback via social media. Your end goal would be to sell your brand. And the easiest way to do this is by asking questions. Retailers like Best Buy do an excellent job of asking playful questions while featuring their products.
3. Make the checkout process seamless.
No one likes to wait in line, and they shouldn’t!! There are various ways to make the checkout process as painless as possible.
- From scheduling customers for appointment shopping and ensuring they respect social distancing.
- Keep your checkout line marked and add appropriate distancing.
- If there is a cloud-based POS, equip staff members with iPads so they can help customers check out.
The checkout experience is your last chance to finalize a sale and also set the tone for any future visits to your store. Here are some tips on how the staff can make the best impression during the checkout:
- Ask for feedback.
- Tell every customer every policy.
- Give paying patrons a gift.
4. Don’t neglect post-purchase experience.
The shopping experience doesn’t end at the checkout process.
Stay in touch with your customers after post-purchase via email or phone call; ensure to check-in with customers after they have shopped with you. These actions show that you care about your customer as a person and not a payment.
Try something like this:
Keeping customer satisfaction after purchase helps customers feel more comfortable reaching out for customer support or sharing constructive feedback. How you allow customers might dictate how they will interact with you in the future. In fact, post-purchase care is most likely to turn shoppers into loyal customers.
Customers have come to expect a certain level of service from businesses. With so much competition, the bar for customer service is set high, and it will likely continue to rise as retailers innovate their business models.
Having a highly trained team that understands customer needs and is equipped with cutting-edge technology to support them will aid in the development of long-term customer relationships. Staff will be able to create connections with customers that go beyond a simple sale and pave the way for future purchases by allowing them to focus on the people rather than the nitty-gritty of inputting manual information.
Author bio: Kaumudi Tiwari, experienced Content Writer and Digital Strategist, been in the IT Industry for the last 5+ Years. Associated with the Zonka Feedback. Passionate about writing customer experience, customer satisfaction, customer feedback, and net promoter score.