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Customer expectations in the retail industry have changed considerably over the last few years, especially as more consumers are considering factors other than product price and quality. They’re looking for an enjoyable shopping experience and if you can’t provide it, they’ll head to your competition or online marketplaces. A well-developed customer experience strategy can help you hold on to the customers you have and earn new ones, but there are additional benefits as well.
Satisfaction levels are higher for both customers and employees when you transform shopping into a memorable “wow” instead of just swiping a credit card. Your approach to the customer experience is also powerful for brand building efforts, as you’ll gain a following of fans online and offline. When you exceed customer expectations, you’re positioned to capture market share and boost revenue. Have a look at these ways to develop a strong customer experience strategy and you’ll soon start reaping the rewards.
Develop a consistent customer experience strategy: Your customer experience strategy should be based upon a methodology intended to remain consistent across your organization. No matter who a customer encounters in multiple touch points over different sectors of your company, the message must be the same. Loyalty is driven by these conversations and how well each member of your team delivers according to customer wants and needs. Your patrons need to see just one entity when they deal with your company – from sales to service to marketing.
Get a head start on real-time retail selling: There will come a day when retailers can identify the wants and needs of their customers by mobile device when they walk in the door. Most consumers have invested time and effort researching products long before they’re ready to buy, and companies need to develop the customer experience around this notion now. You need to know that you have certain items in stock before the customer arrives – or you’ll risk disappointing them, losing business and developing a reputation for not carrying the items they need.
Take advantage of multi-channel retail opportunities: Shopping habits aren’t what they used to be even a few years ago. Consumers are reviewing products online and via their mobile devices well before they head to a physical store. And many times, they place an order online if it’s easier and more convenient. Retailers must adapt their customer experience strategy to this phenomenon by offering higher service levels than what consumers can gain online. They must also present a seamless blend of all the channels that customers typically access before making a purchase.
Get the most out of your POS: A POS is so much more than a way to make change for sales and process credit cards. Mobile POS devices work well in retail environments where checkout is best handled where the customer is located within the store. For example, hair salons can process payments at the chair – including products that customers want to purchase and take home. Avoiding the queue at the checkout ranks high on the customer experience list. POS technology is also ideal for managing loyalty programs, as these solutions can track purchases that eventually lead up to an earned reward.
Use technology to supplement the customer experience, not generate it: You can’t rely entirely on your POS or other solutions to handle the customer experience for you. Technology is great for automating tasks and managing inventory, but your focus shouldn’t be on what it can do: Your software should enhance the customer experience with tools like customer relationship management and targeted marketing. Develop your technology around the customer experience rather letting solutions direct your strategy.
Keep the customer experience grounded in their individual needs: This two part component to improving your customer experience strategy starts with knowing what they want, and then delivering accordingly. There’s no real trick to figuring out how to exceed customer expectations: Companies that excel at experience-making simply talk to their clientele and ask how they can do better. Service levels, pricing, product selection and quality, promotions – all of these offer opportunities to improve the customer experience and lure prospects away from the competition.
Even as you implement one or more of these tips, keep in mind that it may take some time to see results. Loyalty isn’t built overnight, but a great customer experience that facilitates the route to the checkout counter will pay off. Patrons will be coming back for more when you exceed their expectations, and they’re sure to spread the word about your company.