31.8.2021

What is Retail Experience? Amazing Experiences for Your Customers Every Time

Written by Aine Hendron

retail

Online shopping has completely transformed the traditional retail customer journey. Previously, customers were limited to physical stores in close proximity to them. The only options of what to buy were those that they could see, in front of them. As the e-commerce world developed, so to did advanced marketing strategies, and competition from afar became more of a threat. 

From the perspective of a retailer who is now reaching a wider audience, this is great. You can advertise to consumers all over the world, ship orders to people in different countries, and reach a whole new level of success on a previously untapped market. The only problem is that if you can do those things, your competitors probably can too. 

The solution to this is to create an enchanting, enticing retail experience. But what exactly is a retail experience? How is it created, and how can you make sure that your customers choose to stay loyal to you, in this era of endless choice? We answer these questions, and more, below. 

What does a great retail experience look like?

The exact experience you provide will depend largely on your store. There’s a lot of factors that combine to form your overall experience. Some include:

  • The type of products that you sell
  • Your selling format - brick and mortar, online-only, omnichannel
  • The accessibility of your products both online and in-store
  • Typical audience and target audience
  • Your customer experience strategy 
  • Your pricing strategy
  • Incentives and customer loyalty programs
  • Your marketing strategy
  • The typical customer journey, including browsing, selecting, ordering and delivery

You’ll want to consider all of these things when trying to provide the best shopping experience for your customers. 

Be accessible to customers

Regardless of how you operate, one thing you’ll have to nail for an unbeatable retail experience is excellent customer service. While online giants like Amazon are renowned for their wide selection of products at an affordable price, many people also associate these companies with slow, frustrating, and non-effective customer service. 

We’ve all faced the situation where you’ve tried to contact what feels like the non-existant customer service department of the company you’ve just made a purchase from. Once you’ve been passed through the unhelpful FAQ section to the email enquiry form with the 5 day response rate, you might be lucky enough to find an automated telephone line, or better yet, a live chat option. Unsurprisingly, 75% of consumers say they would much rather have a conversation with an actual person about their customer service queries, either in person, over webchat or on the phone [1]. 

Expand your online presence by creating and maintaining profiles on the social media platforms that your customers frequent. Having multiple platforms as well as an up-to-date website is a great credibility booster, and it increases public awareness of your brand. Make sure these channels are packed full of useful and relevant information, but still provide reliable contact details for when customer need to get in touch. This should be an integral part of your marketing and growth strategies

Your top notch customer service is what will separate you from large, faceless brands. Sure, they can deliver your product, maybe for a few pennies cheaper too, but they can’t completely replicate quality human interactions.

Go omnichannel

Taking it a step further, if you’re on social media for outreach purposes, you should consider turning your platform into a new sales channel. Omnichannel commerce is when merchants provide multiple different platform options for customers, each focused on delivering a consistent brand and shopping experience. For example, selling in store, through your e-commerce website, on an online marketplace (like Ebay or Amazon) and on social media, say via Facebook and Instagram. 

There are so many perks to offers multiple ways to access your products. 

  • Once your ecommerce website is integrated with an order processing system, there is very little maintenance or staffing required. 
  • With reliable payment processing, you can make sales 24/7, since customers simply buy online. 
  • Omnichannel appeals to a diverse range of customers and highlights that your business is willing to accommodate customer preferences. 
  • It prioritises customer convenience by allowing customers to buy a range of products from the same place without having to navigate elsewhere.
  • If you link your e-commerce platform with your POS, you can get a better insight into which platforms generate the most traffic or sales, and spend your marketing budget more efficiently.

Create lasting customer relationships

From the second customers arrive on your premises, or click onto your website, they should feel assured that they’re in for a straightforward shopping experience. First impressions are important. So, if you have the numbers, place a staff member at the door to greet customers as they arrive. 

Failing that, it’s essential to have staff on the floor, floating between customers, greeting them, and offering assistance. Staff should be knowledgable, friendly and approachable, and confident enough to chat to customers about their personal recommendations. Not only will this help customers feel at ease, it also opens up the opportunity to upsell. However, the intention behind the interaction should always be to meet customers’ needs, not an agenda to push extra items on them. 

Reward loyalty

A whopping 95% of consumers say that customer service is essential for brand loyalty [2]. So, why not build upon your existing bond with customers by creating a mutually beneficial loyalty program

Some people may assume that loyalty cards only work within hospitality business, but this isn’t strictly true. Makeup and beauty retailers Beauty Bay have recently launched a loyalty program where customers can accumulate points that are calculated based on how much is spent. For every £1 spent, customers receive 5 points. The more points, the more exclusive offers are available. Once customers reach a certain level of points, they’ll receive a free gift card to redeem on the website [3]. 

Irish sportsware company O’Neills have been using a similar model for years for their online customers, as have Superdrug. 

Offer reasonable pricing

Deciding on the right price for your products can be one of the most challenging parts of opening and running a business. If you set your prices too low, you won’t be able to make a profit. If you set them too high, you might alienate potential customers. A reasonable pricing strategy will help you attract more customers to your business with a well-valued product. 

Your pricing strategy will likely be influenced by the formality of your business, and your branding. If you own a suit shop, or jewelers, tailored towards aspirational, success-driven customers, a prestige pricing strategy might work well for you. 

Or, you might run a more homely type of retail business, like a children’s school uniform shop. A cost focus strategy may work best for you, as this strategy takes narrow profit margins into consideration. This will also work well for a convenience store

Manage all your prices from your EPOS

An efficient store needs competent equipment to go with it. Epos Now Retail point of sale system is designed specifically to improve operational efficiency, and simplify daily tasks within retail businesses. There are 100s of customisabile integrations and add ons available, allowing you to select only what you need to help your business grow. 

  • Track single item performance so you can forecast with accuracy
  • Receive stock alerts so you never miss a selling opportunity
  • Easily add, edit and bundle items to create new revenue opportunities
  • Create automatic purchase orders so you never run out of stock
  • Full barcode management. Import, update, and manage 1,000s of products
  • Customize your reports to see what matters to you​
  • Access reports and data from anywhere​
  • Track sales, profit, and trends in real-time to understand more about your business​
  • Identify your top-performing products and staff members

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