When most people think of marketing and communications, they think of things that relate to acquisition strategy – getting new customers through the door. But what about after they walk through the door? What about the in-store experience? The customer experience is just as important as the effort it takes to get them there, but is often neglected by brands and franchisees alike.
No matter your niche, when customers are happy and enjoy being in your store, their ticket and frequency will increase. All you have to do is optimize the in-store experience.
How to Optimize the In-store Experience in 5 Easy Steps
1. Create a Customer Experience Strategy
How do you want your customer to feel while at your store? Are you more concerned with driving sales or increasing loyalty and shopping frequency? By creating a customer experience strategy, you can decide what’s most important.
Customer experience is not the same as customer service. With the former, you’re focused more on each customer’s shopping experience. Does your store make them feel happy or sad? Did they find what they needed or did they have to search for it? These factors and more make up the customer experience.
To create a customer experience strategy that works, you should:
- Track ROI over a certain period (weeks or months) after implementing a new marketing strategy
- Request customer feedback as often as possible
- Capture demographic information from your customers, including their retail interests
2. Make Your Employees a Top Priority
While customers are clearly the number one priority, don’t forget about your most important brand ambassadors. Your employees have the most direct contact with your customers and if they’re happy and excited, it will shine through. According to Dale Carnegie Training, $11 billion is lost annually due to employee turnover, and companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%. Empower your employees to communicate openly with management and form direct relationships internally and with customers. Showing employees that you value them will motivate them to make customers feel valued as well. What goes around comes around!
3. Don’t Push – Educate!
Rather than focusing solely on selling a product to make a profit, spend time educating your customers. This will convey that you not only care about their needs but also respect their ability to make an informed decision. It will also position you as an industry expert with credibility. Publish informational blog content or hold in-store classes or demonstrations. Limiting pressure to make a purchase will make your customer feel comfortable, gaining their trust and encouraging them to return the next time they need advice.
4. Use a Point of Sale (POS) System
A point of sale (or point of purchase) system is used for easier customer checkouts. Like any technology, POS systems have evolved over the years. Some can now be used to gauge brand loyalty by analyzing product information, order data, customer frequency data and other key performance indicators. Customers will appreciate the speedier checkout process and shorter lines, and you’ll benefit from the functionality of the POS system.
5. Make Use of Digital Menu Boards and Other Digital Signage
Part of providing a good in-store experience for customers is ensuring that information is easy to access when they need it. Think of all the places within your store that provide information to customers… whether it’s a menu, directional signage or POP displays, the inside of your store is a great place to reach customers. Take advantage of their attention and incorporate digital signage to provide the content they want in a clean, modern format.
While there are countless benefits to digital signage, there’s no doubt that it first and foremost improves the customer experience.
In a world where online shopping has made it difficult for brick-and-mortar stores to compete on price and convenience, improving the customer experience is crucial. The good news is that it’s never been so easy to optimize the in-store experience for customers. Implement these tips and you’ll be providing the experience they want in no time, all while building loyalty.
Need help creating a positive customer experience? No matter the industry, Burkhart can give your brand the overhaul it needs to connect more with customers. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more!