As consumer behaviour continues to evolve, the in-store customer experience must also adapt accordingly. Despite the rise in online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores are still important avenues for business growth, especially as these storefronts allow customers to interact directly with your business.
According to the Australian Retailers Association Retail Review 2022, both the online and in-person retail customer experience need to be intertwined. For instance, the emergence of click-and-collect shipping in clothing stores means that customers can set up appointments where they can learn more about styling their new clothes.
Furthermore, the study mentioned that over a third of customers still enjoy the in-person shopping experience. This only drives home the point that businesses must invest in ways to enhance the customer experience in their physical stores.
This article outlines tips on how to improve customer service in retail stores, which can serve as a starting point for you to revisit your own business practices on customer experience optimisation. Below, we’ll talk about:
- Personalising services
- Creating a comfortable shopping environment
- Increasing in-store safety
- Integrating the in-person and online shopping experience
- Enhancing existing checkout options
Let’s get started.
Understanding your customers
You cannot build the ideal in-person shopping experience without first understanding your customer base. Demographics such as age, gender, income and location are all crucial in building a customer profile that will inform how you structure your store. This kind of research is also necessary if you want to reach out to new customers.
Additionally, you should analyse your store’s current performance to identify any existing trends. How much foot traffic does your store get, for instance, and what are the busiest days of the week? Does your store generate a lot of in-person sales, or do people mostly browse around?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you adjust your retail counter displays accordingly.
Conducting surveys and running focus groups are other great ways to get direct insight from customers, making them well worth the investment.
Creating a customer-centric environment
Personalisation is the name of the game when it comes to creating a customer-centric shopping experience. Research done by Retail World indicates that 49% of Australian consumers prefer to shop with brands that offer individualised services.
For fashion retailers, styling appointments or fittings can be a great way to enhance in-store personalisation as they give you the opportunity to get to know your customers better. To spread the word that you are now providing these services, you can use brochure stands and plate displays.
You can also opt to have in-person shoppers who will browse around the store while customers lounge in a designated area, perhaps even with a refreshment or two. Your customers will definitely feel pampered by such exceptional service!
Your sales associates play an important role in enhancing the in-store customer experience. Some ways they can level up the customer experience in retail stores include:
- Addressing customers by name when they pay by card
- Striking up a conversation with customers to figure out what they’re looking for
- Providing in-depth training about your products so they can make authentic, personalised recommendations
Bonus tip: if your store has social media-friendly design components, encourage your sales associates to help customers out with their photo-op!
Enhancing in-store safety
Improving the retail customer experience isn’t just about adding plush chairs and bright lighting to make your stores more welcoming. Safety is also an important factor to consider when revamping your customer experience design.
For starters, your store should be cleaned and sanitised on a regular basis. Displaying items in acrylic containers helps keep them safe while still allowing customers to inspect the items, and you’ll want to make sure these containers are wiped down at the end of each day.
You may also want to invest in air sterilisers that can be placed throughout your store. These sterilisers don’t impart any smells and aren’t particularly noisy, and having them around your store shows customers that you take their health seriously.
Placing signs regarding sanitisation practices — or even just to warn shoppers about a wet floor or a display still being set up — enhances safety by creating a secure path that customers can follow while browsing your store.
Improving the customer experience during checkout
Regardless of how much foot traffic your store gets per day, investing in alternative checkout processes can go a long way in improving the in-store customer experience.
Some customers simply want to shop and go without distractions, so offering self-checkout options is a good idea. Consider investing in one or two self-checkout counters to improve the overall customer experience in your retail store.
The checkout process is a great opportunity for sales associates to reach out to customers. Having a simple conversation about whether your customers found what they were looking for can provide valuable insight into their shopping behaviour and help you craft a better in-store customer experience strategy.
What’s more, you can integrate your online and offline stores at checkout. Having a click-and-collect shipping option grants you the best of both worlds, as it encourages customers to browse online and visit your physical store.
Checkout counters are typically the last impression your customers will get of your store, so outfitting these with point-of-sale displays can showcase products your customers might have missed.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that most Australians don’t mind waiting in line when shopping in person. So, on days when your store gets really busy, these displays make for great visual merchandising — they can check out your products (and may even be tempted to buy!) as they’re queuing up.
Fit out your store with the help of Shop for Shops
When it comes to retail customer experience, the key is to make sure your store is as well-designed and easy to navigate as possible. Our team at Shop for Shops can walk you through the ins and outs of crafting the perfect store display that allows customers to browse easily while showing off your products in the best possible way.
If you’re in need of inspiration and want to learn more about how to improve customer experience in your retail store, reach out to us at Shop for Shops. Call us at 1300 11 SHOP or send us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org.