Whilst in-store sales remain the main concern for retail managers, it is clear that today’s customers demand more memorable experiences in order to maintain customer retention and ensure repeat purchases.
Marketing and advertising can only go so far, and recommendations through positive word-of-mouth are a powerful tool that can ultimately change habits for fellow shoppers.
Creating these ‘retail ambassadors’ who are proactive in telling others about their positive shopping experience is key, and, along with great customer service, technology is proving to be an integral facet.
>See also: How mobile technology is disrupting retail
People involuntarily listen to their friends and family when it comes to making decisions about their shopping habits, so creating a retail experience that is worthy of mention is essential.
This can be achieved in a number of ways including good customer service, a seamless customer journey and effective in-store technology.
Whilst technology should be used to ultimately improve the functionality of a retail environment, it can also act as an effective marketing tool that becomes etched into the minds of shoppers, particularly examples that are innovative, or unique in some capacity.
An example of this can be found at opticians Vision Express whose ‘Try-On’ app allows customers to visualise a pair of glasses or spectacles on their own face, before they even step into the store.
Similarly, furniture retailer IKEA has utilised augmented reality to the full by designing an app, which allows shoppers to visualise furniture into their own homes. These are prime examples of how the customer experience can be taken to the next level and get people talking.
However, the key to customer retention is to make the shopping experience as smooth as possible, allowing customers to locate their products of choice easily, before completing their transactions and leaving the store in as little time as possible.
One common complaint often heard from shoppers is about the long queues at the end of their shop. Stores have begun to realise the benefits of a single line queuing system, where retailers move from using multiple parallel queues at each checkout to a single one.
This gives the customers a greater choice of open checkouts and ensures that they are served in the order they arrive, helping to eliminate frustration and queue rage.
Stores with Automated Electronic Call Forwarding systems have already reported a 30% rise in the speed of processing customers and shorter waiting times for customers.
With competition across the retail sector increasing all the time, it is important that businesses continue to adapt to avoid being left behind by their competitors.
Technology should be at forefront of these changes to improve service, which in turn will lead to more positive reviews and new loyal customers.
Creating ‘retail ambassadors’ takes considerable time and effort, but it is well worth the investment. Retail experts predict the cost of customer acquisition is five times greater that it is to retain existing customers.
Sourced from Rebecca Fennell, Tensator Group