Why do you return to a store? Will you go back to a store that doesn’t make you feel welcome? If you were offended by one of the store’s staff, will you still want to shop there next time? Customer experience is everything when it comes to retail. No matter how great the products you have on the shelves and racks, if your customers don’t feel welcome and valued, they would rather shop somewhere else. Remember that you are in direct competition with everyone. What can separate you as a business is the kind of experience your customers will have shopping in your store.
Your customers’ journeys start the moment they arrive in the parking lot of the building where your store is located. You should not only make sure there is space available, but you should also ensure that the asphalt paving of the parking lot makes for easy maneuvering. If your customers don’t feel comfortable in the parking lot, that’s a smudge on their experience.
And then, when they arrive in your store, the ambiance should be inviting. It doesn’t have to be intimidating even if you have high-valued products. They should feel welcomed both by the store’s atmosphere and your employees.
Above anything else, you should train your employees on how to manage the customers. They are the face of your brand. They should be open to questions. Even if a customer gets too annoying, a salesperson should know how to handle these situations. Invest in training your employees on how to provide great customer experience. This is truly a critical element of a buyer’s journey. The way your employees respond to customers is usually a trigger for them to either buy or walk out of the store.
Not all your customers have kids, but some of them have and they might bring them when out shopping. What’s so wrong about having a kid’s corner that many stores don’t implement this little store tactic? A box of crayons or a train set will make all the difference in the world. The parents can shop in peace, leaving their kids in a little corner to play. With the kids not rushing the parents to go to the toy store, the parents can look around the store and buy something. That’s a kind of customer service that parents with little kids in tow want to see.
There are three things that customers are looking for when they enter your store: speed, cleanliness, and product selection. Surprisingly, speed comes on top of what they want from a store. If you keep customers waiting, they will likely leave without buying anything. It’s the same principle applied to online stores. If the homepage or landing page does not load in under five seconds, the web visitors will likely close the window and go to another website.
Don’t keep your customers waiting. If possible, hire seasonal workers during the busy times of the year. Train your employees to multitask so they can attend to multiple customers at once.
If you have regular customers, reward their loyalty. Give them exclusive sneak peeks into your new product lineup. Give them a loyalty card where they earn points for every purchase they make. You can also host special invitation-only events for your regular customers. They will feel valued and appreciated. That’s going to separate you from all the other brands that they support.
Not many store owners put too much value on the music they play in their stores. You should. Choose the right music and the right level of volume. If your employees have to turn the volume down to hear what the customers are asking, then the music is ruining the experience for everyone. Also, choose an engaging soundtrack that fits your target market. You may want to play 90s music if your market is mostly millennials.
People are naturally social beings. Your consumers are not any different. They crave human interaction. That’s what you should bring to your store. When they enter the store, they should feel at home and safe. They should be comfortable. The staff should be friendly, and the atmosphere should be something they want to spend their time in. This is the objective of creating a great customer experience. Your store should make your customers want to keep coming back.
A store is more than the products it carries. It’s about providing a hub for your customers. It is the place where they will ultimately decide whether to buy something from you or not.