Providing Stellar Customer Experiences in-store

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“Between ecommerce sites, subscription services, and shops, consumers have plenty of choices. To stay competitive, traditional businesses need to offer consumers compelling reasons to shop at the store,” –

Experiences define human existence. People undertake all manner of experiences in a bid to explore reality and to find themselves. A holiday often refreshes travellers, while delays in transit can stress the vacation experience. Similarly, thrilled parents applaud their child’s academic success in school, but may fret when the child travels to distant lands. The duality of experience applies to commerce as well. Modern business enterprises operate equally in the online and offline domains, but the fact remains that stellar customer experiences can boost business outcomes. Therefore, traditional businesses must create top-notch in-store customer experiences in an effort to boost customer service, win the loyalty of customers, and thrive in the long term. We shall examine some mechanisms of constructing stellar customer experiences below.

Traditional brick-and-mortar enterprises must realise that their business model offers certain innate advantages. The shopping experience is more immediate when compared to online commerce. This fact affords traditional businesses an opportunity to serve the customer in novel ways, thereby creating stellar customer experiences. For instance, a business owner may choose to interact personally with visitors to his or her shopping establishment. This action immediately helps the business to create a rapport with customers. We note that such rapport is priceless and may drive sales volumes at said establishment. In addition, customers enjoy the benefit of interacting with human staff and having their queries answered in a systematic manner. In light of the above, we may state that stellar customer experiences inside business premises enable these enterprises to vault head of competing business models.

Employee motivation and training is a cornerstone in the creation of in-store stellar customer experiences. We note that employees interact with customers on a daily basis and therefore, businesses must ensure that all employees are familiar with merchandise, pricing, after-sales service, etc. This enables them to interact competently with visitors and customers, thereby projecting a positive image of the business. For instance, a sports goods retailer must be ready to entertain customers of every hue. The business must ensure that its employees are familiar with product attributes, applicable discounts, and the best possible product for every customer. These personnel are critically positioned to create stellar customer experiences in the in-store business model. Similarly, a jewellery brand should ensure that its employees have achieved sufficient competence to field customer queries. Therefore, brands and businesses should ensure staff training on priority.

Customer engagement represents an important plank in crafting stellar customer experiences. Brands and businesses should align themselves with best practices and ensure that their staff members invest effort to deepen customer engagement. For instance, employees working at an electronic gadgets retail business must interact closely with customers with a view to boosting engagement. Staff members should wield their training in soft skills and leverage their familiarity with product information in a bid to increase customer engagement. The intent is to help customers find their desired product and boost customer satisfaction through stellar customer experiences.

The use of in-store technologies can help brick-and-mortar businesses to create top-notch customer experiences. This trend is gaining ground in traditional businesses because technology has a heavy presence in the customer’s daily life. For instance, a jewellery business can boost in-store customer service through consumer tablet devices. Sales personnel can utilise these devices to illuminate the various product categories. Customers can interact with these devices and peruse electronic images of multiple lines of merchandise before arriving at a purchase decision. We note that such actions precipitate stellar customer experiences and enable businesses to win repeat customers.

Further to the above, we note that businesses can deploy relevant electronic technologies in a bid to help customers discover desired products. In a similar vein, a shop owner should install faster payment and checkout mechanisms in a bid to reduce congestion near payment counters. We note that these tactics can reduce stress build-ups inside customers who prefer brick-and-mortar businesses. In addition, these technologies may induce customers to shop regularly at certain establishments.

Clean and well-organised retail spaces help to attract larger numbers of customers. For instance, a large-format supermarket can elect to enforce regular housekeeping practices in a bid to fashion an organised retail environment. We note that such practices are instrumental in creating an impeccable brand image. The smooth division of labour among staff ensures that floors remain spotless; merchandise is presented in an orderly fashion, while store operations proceed in lock step. These measures help the business to project a consumer-friendly image and expand its market share. Further, this approach helps the business to create stellar customer experiences and win customer accolades.

Traditional businesses should promote the inclusion of in-store collection of merchandise booked by customers through online channels. For instance, a grocery business can empower its customers by offering them a choice between home delivery and in-store collection. This approach promotes customer convenience because they can select (and pay for) the merchandise via online channels and pick-up the goods at a physical store. This approach helps to create stellar customer experiences while ensuring that traditional businesses retain significance and validity in the face of soaring e-commerce businesses.

Light refreshments and seasonal beverages empower businesses to create stellar customer experiences for in-store customers. For instance, a clothing and apparel retailer may offer select customers hot beverages and snacks in a bid to whet their shopping appetites. The gesture assumes significance because shoppers that arrive in the evening can avail the benefits conferred by hot beverages. In a similar vein, brands and businesses are advised to deploy trained staff to engage young children that accompanied their parents to the shop. This action ensures that shoppers are not disturbed in the course of their shopping expedition.

Small product samples can be offered gratis to visitors and shoppers that prefer in-store shopping experiences. For instance, a beauty products retailer can create sachets of lotions, creams, shampoos, and conditioners in a bid to create stellar customer experiences. The immediate payoff can manifest in the form of higher sales, but the significance of the gesture lies in the fact that it can encourage repeat customers. We note that such businesses must invest in such activities in a bid to retain customers and to expand the customer base. Further, such gifts encourage customer conversations thereby helping the brand to raise its public profile.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the techniques that enable businesses to create top-notch in-store customer experiences. Brands and businesses must acknowledge the fact that in-store experiences are a vital part of a brand story. They must work to refine such experiences and expand the scope of customer engagement. In addition, modern businesses should deepen customer engagement through fine customer service practices. Further, a combination of smart thinking and leveraging the immediacy of the in-store experience can empower traditional businesses to pull ahead of Internet-borne enterprises. That said, we note that businesses should promote a rich visual experience of actual products in a bid to attract more customers and improve the in-store experience. This tactic assumes significance because the visual element is limited to on-screen displays for e-commerce operators. The  actions mentioned can form part of a coherent long-term policy designed to earn customer loyalty and drive business outcomes.

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