9 Tips to Improve the Customer Experience in Retail
By the customer engagement experts at Paystone
If you think about some of your favourite companies, they probably all have something in common: a really great customer experience.
The retail landscape and the ways that customers shop have changed a lot over the past few decades (remember when online shopping seemed risky?). And now, it has never been easier for customers to discover new products, read reviews, compare prices, and make purchases: all it takes is a few taps on their smartphones.
Without a doubt, the digitization of the retail landscape has made life easier for customers to get the best products at the best prices in the most convenient ways. But it’s also made it more difficult for retail businesses to remain competitive and differentiate themselves from businesses selling similar items. So in order to thrive in the retail world, you’ll need to create the best brand experience.
Here are 9 tips to improve your retail customer experience:
Prioritize customer service
Have you ever loved a brand but had a terrible experience with their customer service team? Or perhaps their customer service team just straight up ignored your problem? If you’ve had this experience, chances are you’re not likely to return to the business, and you’ll probably tell all of your friends.
In general, customers are willing to forgive a defective product if you handle it professionally and promptly, but they’re less inclined to come back if they’ve experienced poor service. This means you should be empathetic, prompt, and professional when you handle complaints. Make sure you’re responsive on your social media platforms, Google Business Reviews, and emails.
Learn more about how to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one.
Train your team
Aside from being able to provide great customer service, you’ll want to make sure that your team is trained to upsell and cross-sell effectively. They should be knowledgeable on your product offerings and price points so that they can offer personalized recommendations and answer any customer questions. Depending on the products you sell, consider offering in-store demos and samples for your customers.
Get to know your customers
Did you know that about 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers? Make sure you get to know your core customers so that you can build an experience that fits them. If you haven’t already, create a couple of target personas. These personas are representations of your ideal customers. Who are they? Where do they live? What do they care about? As you get to know your core customers, you’ll be able to craft an experience that truly resonates with them.
Collect customer feedback
Encourage your customers to give you feedback so that you can keep improving your business and customer experience. You can ask your customers to leave you a public review, or you can get feedback more privately through loyalty tools or digital receipts with rating and feedback prompts.
If you use a smart payment terminal, like Poynt, you also have the option to respond in real-time to feedback in the same email or text thread. In the event that your customer is unhappy with their latest trip to your store, you have a chance to quickly reply and offer them a discount for their next visit.
Track inventory performance
Whether you use software, an app on your point-of-sale, or something a little more robust, try your best to periodically monitor and measure product performance. These metrics will give you insights into which products are your top-sellers and which ones you might not want to restock. Better inventory management will help you to give your customers more of what they want and ensure that you never run out of your signature products.
Depending on which app you use, you may also be able to access sales performance reports, which give you insight into your busiest times and top-performing salespeople. You can use this information to schedule employees more strategically and train your team to sell more effectively.
Keep your store tidy
“Konmari” your store. Or in other words, make sure that your store is organized and stocked full of things that “spark joy” for your customers. A tidy store creates a better customer experience. It’s easier to find merchandise if it’s in the correct location, and a display of neatly folded sweaters is a lot more appealing than a table of rumpled up, inside out sweaters.
One of the easiest ways to connect with your customers and continue their experience with your brand is to leverage your social media accounts. Ask your customers to tag you in their posts and share their content on your own page (with their permission and appropriate credit, of course). And if your customers comment on your posts, be sure to continue the dialogue. This is your opportunity to let your brand personality shine.
Learn more about how your brand can benefit from sharing your customers’ content.
Reward your customers
According to a recent Visa report, only one in five small and medium-sized businesses currently offer a loyalty program, but earning recognition and rewards are important to your customers. In fact, 78% of customers are more likely to choose a business that has a loyalty program compared to one without.
Take some time to investigate your options and create a program that shows your customers some love. You’ll be able to collect some valuable customer insights, build a stronger relationship with your core customers, and maybe even create some brand ambassadors!
Invest in a quick and easy checkout
Finally, your checkout experience is the last impression that you’ll leave your customers, so you’ll want to make sure it’s a good one. Make sure that you have enough cash trained employees, especially during busy times so that your customers have a quick and seamless checkout.
You can also consider upgrading your payment terminals to something that easily accepts all forms of payments (i.e. credit, debit, NFC, mobile wallets) and offer your customers some eco-friendly, branded digital receipts.