Customer experience entails many different elements depending on the industry. However, regardless of the business, this experience directly affects buyer satisfaction and retention rates.
Retail consumers, in particular, must be satisfied with a store's overall operation, including service, transaction, and promotions both in-store and online. Businesses that provide positive customer experiences can increase their sales and profits through increased consumer retention and enhanced reputation.
Customer Experience in Retail
Retail customer experience (CX) refers to the entire experience consumers have with a store or brand, whether it's online or in person. Buyers create an impression of a business from the moment they enter an establishment or visit a website to when they finalize their purchase and receive their delivery.
Businesses must be aware of indirect operations that contribute to their brand's image, such as external promotions, advertisements, and social media customer engagement. Even though someone may not yet be a loyal customer, they begin their experience when they are first exposed to a brand.
How buyers perceive an organization directly affects their decisions on whether or not to purchase an item or return to the store. Studies show that 49% of customers make impulse purchases if they had a positive retail experience. Buyer perception can also drive profits, as 86% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for a product for a better overall experience.
Why Businesses Need a Strategy
From marketing to customer service, retailers should develop a strategy to enhance the buyers' journey. Successful methods have many benefits, including-
- Improved customer loyalty and retention
It is more costly for businesses to run marketing campaigns to attract new customers than it is to actively retain loyal buyers. Retail companies that implement a CX tactic show that they value their customers and are willing to take measures to ensure their satisfaction.
A PwC poll found that 92% of people will completely abandon a brand after just two negative experiences. Therefore, a business must show that they understand, or are willing to learn, consumer wants and needs. For example, stores can present suggestion polls where buyers can rate their experience and recommend any improvements.
- Increased sales and advocacy
Customer advocacy is the best and cheapest form of marketing that can effectively drive traffic and sales. Whether customers have a positive or negative experience, their opinions can spread quickly by word of mouth or online.
According to an Indeed study, 72% of buyers share a positive experience with at least six people. On the other hand, a Sitel Group study found that 30% of consumers that had a lousy experience post about it on social media and review sites.
Experiences are no longer personal as pictures and videos of customer service, retail facilities, and advertisements can be uploaded to social media. Studies have shown that 88% of buyers are influenced to make purchases by online reviews. However, by implementing a CX method, retailers can take advantage of this exposure to attract new customers and increase sales.
- Optimized customer lifetime value (CLV)
Customer lifetime value is a calculation of customers' contributions to a business's revenue by determining how much money they've spent at a store. Higher CLV is a direct benefit from positive customer experience, as well as optimized retention, loyalty, and sales.
5 Ways to Enhance the Customer Experience
To improve customer experience, businesses can implement CX strategies that focus on-
1. Increasing customer engagement
While some customers seek retailers that expedite the transaction process, other shoppers enjoy the experience. Therefore, businesses should create unique engagements for their consumers. For example, Lululemon offers yoga classes at exclusive stores in which anyone can participate or watch. Not only does this provide customers a personalized experience, but it attracts new buyers to increase sales.
Customer engagement is not limited to buyers in the physical store. IL Makiage offers an interactive quiz on its website that buyers can take to find the right foundation shade. The company then offers to send a full bottle of foundation to the customer at no charge for 14 days. If the consumer is satisfied with the product, they pay to keep it, but if they are unsatisfied, they can send it back at no charge.
2. Cherishing the bargain finders
Some shoppers like to hunt for bargains and will go to a retail store for the thrill of finding a good deal. Retailers could capitalize on these bargain hunters by running exclusive deals and dedicating a department or aisle to discounted and specialty goods.
Target stores are developing a new floor plan that will include two entrances for different types of customers. Bargain finders can enter in where they can browse through the seasonal section and unique brands. This strategy can increase traffic flow and sales for limited stock.
3. Inspiring buyers
A retail brand's identity has the potential to inspire consumers not just to buy their products but to excel outside of the store. Retailers with a particular aesthetic and motive can have a significant impact on demographics and create emotional connections with customers.
For example, Dick's caters to individuals that enjoy exercise and active hobbies. Every store has a section dedicated to a specific sport or activity, many of which have interactive elements. Guests can try out a new club by playing virtual golf or test a new bat in the cages. Not only are the customers able to try the product, but they are making lasting memories associated with the store.
4. Saving customers time
With the race of traditional retailers trying to develop their e-commerce sites to compete with brands like Amazon, many are implementing measures to save customers time in stores. Many brick and mortar stores offer curbside pick-up, where consumers buy items online ahead of time, which are delivered to their cars at the curb.
Some grocery stores use kiosks in electronic and deli departments where customers can place their orders and continue shopping while it is fulfilled. This increases satisfaction by saving time for buyers that are strictly shopping for staple items.
5. Sending exclusive deals to targeted buyers
Companies that utilize POS systems have insight into individual customer data, such as personal contact information and purchase history. This allows the marketing team to develop and optimize their campaigns by directing them towards specific consumers.
Businesses should not overload their loyal customers with countless emails, but rather focus on deals relevant to the consumer. This tactic will increase sales on marked down products and save the buyer time while increasing satisfaction.
Retail companies that understand how to enhance customer experience implement CX strategies to maximize consumer loyalty and happiness. Satisfied customers ensure consistent retention and average sales, promoting business reputation and expansion.