The retail industry isn’t where it was before the internet. The ability to buy things online and not take a step out of your home is appealing to more than a few, but as a whole, humans are social.
We like going out. We get stir crazy. It’s a thing. Ask anybody that was forced to stay at home when they didn’t want to for whatever reason.
Personally, I enjoy the process of physically trying something on, liking it, and then buying it. Call me old school, but waiting, even if it’s a day, for something that may not fit is a serious turn off for me. Don’t even get me writing about the anxiety I get when I need to return something that I bought online.
Which is why physical retail stores may not have seen their demise just yet.
What makes more sense at the moment with the tech that we have? A or B
Do you think that will ever change? Will your answer be the same in 100 years?
Well it could but until then we need to keep our customers wanting to come back and having the best customer experience.
So what do you need to do? Here are 11 tips, tricks and recommendations on how to make your customers give you money for your goods and come back for more:
Create an experience that is immersive and engaging
If you don’t have the brightest minds working on your immersion and engagement, don’t worry you can always contact us. You can also check out our portfolio to get some ideas. In the meantime here are few really great immersive and engaging strategies that others have implemented in to their physical stores:
Use technology to give the customer the feeling that the future is now. With today’s tech, adding interactive features isn’t as expensive as one might think. Oak labs have revolutionized these experiences by integrating touch screens on mirrors in fitting rooms. These rooms identify what clothes you enter with and give you images of the clothes on models. You are also able to change lighting, interact with an associate to help bring over other possible accessories or different sizes and you could even checkout.
Trigger all your customers senses. All our senses are used to create a feeling. If you can ignite the right feeling, you can retain your customer for longer converting to dolla dolla bills and it can also make them want to come back to get that feeling again.
Live music, taste testing, diffusers, the list goes on. The idea is seeing, and touching shouldn't be the only senses that customers engages with, where it be consciously or sub-consciously.
Make sure your customers are having a good time
You may think that having an immersive experience is enough for an in-store client to have a good time. It may be, but you also have employees which that can make or break the experience.
Remember that time when you went into a store and you felt like the sales person was just trying to reach their numbers. Suddenly everything looks great on you and today's special is a must!
Well that needs to change. Be honest, explaining to sales reps that you may lose on a single buy, but the honesty is what gets the client to comeback meaning more sales in the future.
It’s part of the buyer experience and being fake isn’t something that many people do well, and many people are able to catch on.
Don’t waste your customers time
This is a big one. Well they all are.
First, never argue. Trying to explain more than once why the client should buy something isn’t the most efficient thing to do. Try giving them other options before doubling down. Remember the last paragraph being honest will make a difference. It will help you connect with the client and eventual make it easy to sell.
Make sure your employees are happy
This is also a big one, surprise, surprise!
Think of it this way… happy significant other, happy life. Same goes for your employees. A disgruntled employee can easily infect, yes, infect the rest of the bunch. Next thing you know you have a rebellion.
So, for that not to happen here are a few things you need to do:
- Give employees what they need. Don’t give them 50% of the company, give them the tools they need to sell better.
- Communication needs to go both ways. You aren’t running a democracy, but you do need to listen so that listening is a 2 ways street. Make the atmosphere approachable.
- Make sure everyone is engaged. Don’t expect ever single employee to be a part of everything but make sure they give their input they are the boots on the ground. Remember if they become passionate because they have a feeling of empowerment of their own project you will see it in the work.
- Pick favorites. This might seem like the opposite of what you should do but your employees aren’t your children. You need the make sure they don’t leave because if they are good and someone else gets their hands on them they will try to poach. Also, if you have a good employee worrying about their job it will make them start looking anyway.
Stores for adults that are kid friendly
We aren’t saying get clowns into your store but if your main customer is a parent with 1+ children keeping a child amused and removing them from their parents worried list should be a priority.
As a store owner you need to remember that kids may not have the money, but they do drive sales. Making sure that they are just as engaged and immersed in the buying experience can be very beneficial.
For those reading this that have children. Imagine if your kid really wants something. How difficult is it to say no? It’s very difficult.
Train employees to connect to your customers
There is a great back and forth about training employees:
Critic: “Aren’t you afraid that after you train these employees to be amazing they might leave?”
CEO: “I’m more afraid if I don’t train them and they stay.”
I will just leave this at that and you can think about it.
Shorten the checkout lines and if you can’t…
Your checkout lines aren’t lines to enter clubs. Customers abandoning checkout lines because they are in a rush is an issue. But sometimes you can’t just because you physically can’t add more checkout counters. So what do you do?
- Add self-serve checkouts. This makes people move quicker as they are the ones holding other back. And pyscologically if there is a bottle neck it's because of a customer, not the company.
- Create a wall of goodies. Filling your waiting-line with attractively priced goodies, trinkets and toys that can get children excited are a great way to increase revenue and gives the client something to look at relieving their mind about how long the lineup is. It is also a great way to funnel traffic, so it doesn’t interfere with other customers.
Nobody likes to wait in line, make it as enjoyable as possible.
Gift and Gift again
Double gifting. It’s a thing. Again, I want you to use your imagination. You are at the checkout and you already know you are getting the store wide 15% off. How amazing would it be if you get an addition 5% discount surprise?
Or if you would like best of both worlds say that they get an addition 5% if they post their purchase with a branded hashtag.
Celebrate customer birthdays
Give them a treat they deserve it they were able to live another year in this demanding world. But give them a little time they may be in the Bahamas.
Spy on yourself
There are many companies out there that send out fake customers that are basically quality assurance testers for your employees. They come back and report how their experience was. Doing this double blind is strongly recommended. Not even you should know who the spies are.
You can even give them a list of things that you want them to report about. Was the rep polite? Were they helpful? Were they truthful? This can help give you a real insight on how your works really do engage in selling.
Remember that you are still going to need to be online.
You still need to go digital. There is no reason to fight it, you can’t fight it.
Make sure you have the right hybrid digital/physical strategy.
Physical stores aren't dead in a lot of niches at least until we go all-out Star Trek with replicators.
We are getting there but not quite there..
ASTOUND and I hope that this article will help you improve your customer retention and show that the Physical retail world still has so much to offer!