Customer experience deeply impacts repeat business and conversion rates for physical stores. In an era where online shopping has become commonplace, it’s even more critical to provide customers with a satisfying, unique in-store experience. How does your customer feel when in the store? The in-store experience not only has to compete with the ease and convenience of online shopping, but it has to surpass it. Below, check out five ways to improve your customers’ in-store experience:
1. Feedback It’s hard to make improvements without feedback from customers.
An effective way to get usable feedback is the secret shopper. Audits by real customers as secret shoppers can focus on common problem areas such as:
• Sales associates — were they friendly, helpful, surly, hiding, knowledgeable?
• Was the store clean? Well-lit?
• Store layout — simple to navigate?
• Was the signage easy to read?
• Were products in stock, if not, how were your needs met?
• How easy and fast was the checkout process?
Direct feedback from secret shoppers or from customers filling out a short survey after checkout can be invaluable. It makes it easier to pinpoint weaknesses and change as needed to improve customer experience.
2. Visual Merchandising
Visual merchandising in a physical store has the ability to appeal to shoppers’ desires, even if they just popped in to pick up a need. Displays have to be fresh — updated at least every two weeks with day-specific holiday displays removed after the celebration date. Generate foot traffic with eye-catching front window displays using color, themes or spotlighting a new, exciting product. Make displays well-lit and interactive. You want shoppers to pick up the shirt and feel the fabric or test the buttons on the stand mixer. While they’re interacting with the display, be sure all prices and product information are easy to find and read.
3. The Power of De-Cluttering
Visitors to your store must be able to navigate aisles easily, explore the racks, access items from shelves, and feel a sense of spaciousness even in a boutique with a small footprint. Too much clutter, including stacks of products, can create feelings of claustrophobia and the urge to exit the space. Clutter also may be equated with disorganization, a lack of caring and dirt — three things you never want a customer to associate with your store.
4. Personal Interaction
The key factor a physical store has over online shopping is personal interaction. The attitude and actions of store associates often make or break a sale. All associates need to be trained and brand-aware. Knowledge is power; they should be able to answer questions about products, prices and store policies as well as have the tools to find the answer to the unexpected question. They also need to be engaging and friendly. A smile goes a long way.
5. Provide Unique In-Store Only Experiences
Unique in-store only experiences entice new customers to come in and check out products, but they’re also a way to engage your regulars. Product demonstrations, how-to or creative classes, and entertainment have more impact when provided in-store versus online. Mobile retail e-commerce sales are expected to hit $267.47 billion in 20191. However, by improving the in-store experience, you can attract new customers and retain your loyal base while increasing sales.