Retail is evolving, possibly faster than at any other time in history. Here’s how small businesses can keep up with customer expectations.
“Retail as the Third Space” is the key trend affecting small businesses. Today, retail is all about knowing and fulfilling customer expectations. This has been going on for a long time, but it’s really starting to take hold now.
Brick-and-mortar retail will more and more be a “third” space. In addition, it will be one that is only partly about transactions. As eCommerce and mCommerce become more common, retail space is evolving and adapting to the challenges.
This means, among other things, customer service, the customer experience, and creating a distinctive, engaging environment.
5 Things Customers Want in a Retail Store
1. Personalized service is expected.
Customers demand face-to-face service that isn’t available online. This is critical for your store to stand out from the one-dimensional internet purchasing experience.
According to recent research, customized treatment from a sales associate is a major factor in the retail business. In fact, it is a significant component in deciding where to purchase for at least 75 percent of consumers. Customers are more than happy to give personal information if it will help you provide better service.
What to do about this customer expectation:
Compile client information and use it to tailor offerings and interactions. However, keep in mind that your workers put the “person” in “personalization” in a brick-and-mortar store.
Therefore, make sure your salespeople are well-versed in customer service. In addition, see to it that they have the authority to provide a great customer experience. Personality is vital. You can teach someone how to use a cash register. However, you can’t teach them how to deal with people.
2. Customer expectations include online and offline access.
Customers are looking for a similar experience across all channels. Even the big retailers are catching up where this is concerned. Customers want to have easy transitions from your internet store to shopping retail.
For example, according to recent research, 56 percent of consumers want to have a shared shopping cart that crosses all channels. They would like to be able to put something in the basket on their desktop and have it appear on their phone. However, only 7% of retailers provide this feature.
In addition, shoppers want to be able to order items online and pick them up in-store. Further, they would like to be able to order items online and return them to a local retail location. Only 29% of shops, on the other hand, offer customers the option of buying online and picking up something in their retail store.
What to do about these expectations:
If your company has both an eCommerce and a brick-and-mortar presence, make sure the two experiences are connected such that one complements the other.
Look at shopping cart software that allows users to share their carts across several channels. Additionally, examine your store and website in detail. Ask yourself if your brand is consistent both online and offline.
Furthermore, try visiting your website as if you were a consumer. Pay attention to how easy it is to browse and buy. Ask yourself if your eCommerce experience on a phone and a laptop are the same. Finally, consider incorporating click-and-collect into your store.
3. Retailers and shoppers take full advantage of mobile technology.
In your retail store, how are you using mobile technology? It’s used for a variety of purposes by your consumers.
According to a recent poll, 63 percent of shoppers use their mobile phones at stores to compare prices, check inventory, look for deals or coupons, and more. Therefore, consumers expect to receive mobile discounts and coupons on their phones.
Furthermore, 67 percent say that promotions like these have a big impact on where they purchase. Additionally, 40% believe they are more likely to shop at a location with a mobile point of sale.
What to do about these customer expectations:
Use mobile technology to empower salespeople so they can stay up with their consumers.
Within the next three years, according to studies, three-quarters of shops expect to have devices in the hands of their employees. Only 16 percent have them in-store now and believe they are effective. In addition, 20 percent have them but believe they could be better.
With a mobile POS, your salespeople can complete sales floor transactions the moment a customer decides to buy. This will decrease line waiting and provide salespeople more time on the sales floor to interact with customers. According to recent research, the latest POS trend is that 22% of merchants allow customers to check out using their mobile phones.
4. Customers expect loyalty rewards.
It’s great to be able to recognize loyal customers during checkout. However, what if you and your staff could recognize loyal customers as soon as they enter the store?
Almost two-thirds of the consumers polled say they don’t mind if shops recognize them as they enter the store. This is true as long as they get something good in exchange.
What to do about this expectation:
Look for loyalty rewards schemes that allow you to track customers in-store using their smartphones.
You’ll need to give incentives to persuade clients to sign up and reveal their personal information and location. However, invitations to special events, early access to new products, and personalized promotions are all popular and effective loyalty bonuses.
5. In-store financing is expected.
Credit cards are typically unavailable to cash-strapped and debt-averse people. Without credit, paying for expensive retail goods might be difficult.
Therefore, to address the problem, an increasing number of retailers are providing financing. This allows consumers to divides payments into smaller pieces. It’s identical to traditional layaway. The difference is that clients get their products immediately.
Retailers benefit from this as well. According to one survey, 36% of respondents think that financing allows them to purchase more expensive items than they might otherwise.
What to do about this expectation:
Financing isn’t simply for big-ticket items.
Because it’s something they are demanding, even clothing companies have begun catering to younger customers and are starting to provide it.
If you want to target this market, learn more about how to offer installment payment choices. In addition, you can check out other companies that provide in-store financing and how it works for them.