Shopping (offline or online) goes beyond just simply purchasing products that meet your needs or wants. The process of shopping plays a significant role in one’s overall impression, experience and loyalty towards a business.
Let’s put it this way. If store A offers high quality products but has poor customer service and a lack of convenient payment options, while store B offers mediocre products but has excellent customer service and a variety of convenient payment options - store B is likely to receive more traffic.
While it’s not to say that product quality is no longer important, it's no longer the only factor to consider when running a successful business. In this article, we'll look at tactical ways to improve customer shopping experiences in modern retail.
How to improve a customer’s in-store shopping experience
Today's consumers have access to a wealth of product information and reviews thanks to the internet. Before they even visit your store, they most likely already know what they want and don’t want. As such, retailers will have to adopt new strategies to capture their customer’s full attention and interest.
1. Let people leave your store with something tangible and memorable
You may presume that window shoppers have no bearing on your business. However, every experience within the four walls of your shop matters.The collective perception of the public determines your company's market position.
- Offer a teaser
For example, if you sell perfume, offer scent strips to give potential customers a taste of what the product has to offer.
- Provide leaflets
It could reflect the unique value proposition of your business and be used as a reference for customers in the future.
- Display relevant QR codes
Display QR codes that will lead to your business’s website or social media pages. While this isn’t a tangible takway, it allows customers to learn more information about your products and who you are as a brand.
2. Invest in training for your employees
Your employees form the basis of your customers' in-store experiences. Retail associates are the store's actual faces. Their interactions with customers will have a significant impact on their shopping experience with you.
- Knowledgeable employees
Retail associates are deemed as a product specialist in the public’s eyes as today’s consumers are seeking more than generic product information.
- Employees should be well-versed in current and future promotions
Retail associates also play an important role in your company's marketing efforts. They have the ability to entice customers with rewarding deals that run all year.
- Employees should understand your audience’s mindset
If your business caters to a specific demographic, you should hire someone who speaks their mind and understands their shopping psyche.
3. Add a service layer to the products that you’re selling
Go above and beyond by offering additional service offerings that complement the product being sold. This will demonstrate to customers that you care not only about what you're selling, but also about them.
- Personalised packaging
If your customers are purchasing your products as a gift for someone else, a gift wrapping service combined with personalised notes will add a personal touch to your products.
- Reconditioning of products
Provide on-the-spot alterations to be made for your products. For example, if your customers bought clothes that require the waterproof coating reapplied, ensure that your staff is trained to get it fixed.
4. Improve the speed of the shopping experience
We live in a fast paced society where people are constantly seeking convenience in everything they do. Customers are more likely to return if they can get what they want in a shorter amount of time.
- Ensure a smooth checkout process
To avoid long queues, offer a variety of e-wallet payment options and accept a variety of credit/debit cards. And if a customer decides to pay in cash, ensure that you have enough change.
- Section your store neatly
Ensure that your store’s layout displays your products in the best order. When customers take a glance at your store, they should be able to pinpoint what they want within a few minutes.
- Retail associates should serve as a guide in the store
No matter how well put together your store is, some customers simply don’t know what they want. This is where retail associates can step in and work their magic in showcasing the best parts of the store.
How to improve a customer’s online shopping experience
Starting your own online business is now easier than ever. However, simply launching an aesthetically pleasing website or displaying a great range of high quality products isn’t enough to thrive in today’s competitive market.
Research has revealed that 53% of shoppers gave up on online shopping due to negative shopping experience or because a competitor provided a better one. As such, online retailers have to stay creative, innovative and adaptive in their strategies to stay relevant.
1. Add a personal touch
Customization is one of the most powerful factors that influence customer loyalty. Adding a personal touch is a sure-fire way for retailers to retain customers’ attention in a highly competitive market.
- Offer personalised discounts
Reward your customers' loyalty by offering discounts for their 30th purchase with you or discounts for their birthdays.
- Provide personalised product recommendations
Recommend a list of products based on your customer’s purchasing behaviours and what products they’ve frequently browsed through.
- Speak to them in their native language
Consider hiring a customer service representative that can communicate with your target audience in their native language to efficiently resolve issues or concerns.
2. Eliminate friction in checkout processes
To increase sales volume, you must first identify the barriers that prevent customers from purchasing from your store. Is your checkout form failing to establish trust? Is your return policy too complicated?
- Offer multiple payment options
Allow your customers to choose from a variety of payment options, especially if the delivery is made overseas.
- Build trust
Make sure your checkout pages are free from “hidden costs” , provide a refund option and ensure that all credible information and sources are visible on your site.
- Allow guest checkouts
A guest checkout is a straightforward solution that enables new and returning customers to efficiently complete a purchase without making an account.
3. Remain active on social media
Major social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram act as a tool for online businesses to stay engaged with their customers.
- Use Facebook to answer FAQs
Chatbots on Facebook can deliver automated messages to streamline order confirmations and customer support.
- Use Instagram Shop
Instagram Shop is a new feature that allows businesses to showcase a list of products that are directly accessible from their Instagram profile.
- Stay updated on market trends
Apply for social media data platforms such as Social Baker or Loomly to discover how to best position your products in the market as it monitors what works and doesn't work on your social media pages as well as your competitor’s pages.
In-store or e-commerce, there are no hard and fast rules to creating an outstanding shopping experience for your customers. It all starts with being attentive to who your customers are, what they want and how they want it.
Once you’ve established that, incorporate the respective tips and strategies above for fruitful results! If you’re in need of any assistance, be it offline or online, we’ve got you covered with more valuable tools here.