How To Improve The In Store Shopping Experience
Have a read of our top tips and ways on how to improve the in store shopping experience.
Many retailers struggle to compete against online stores… I mean can you blame them? Ordering a new pair of jeans from the comfort of your own bed? Yes please!
However there is something that you as in-store retailers can offer the customers that online brands can’t… a personal shopping experience. The human race thrive off of interaction which is what you can offer!
We believe the three main areas you need to focus on are:
- Customer service (staff training)
- Visual Merchandising (Take a look at this blog on visual merchandising by our parent company Euronet).
- Overall appearance and branding (advertising, deals and physical)
Within this blog we’ll be covering these three areas so you can improve the in store shopping experience!
It’s no secret that a main priority for a retail store is providing great customer service. It’s important that your employees can positively represent your brand and make customers feel welcome at the same time.
In the interview stage it’s important that you assess your interviewee’s behavior. This means, analyzing their mood and if they could keep a cool head in a stressful situation. You want to hire the employees that you know are going to represent your store in a positive light.
The one rule that everyone in retail follows is “The customers is always right, even if they’re not.”. And this doesn’t mean, if you’re getting treated with disrespect from a customer that this is okay behavior. This means, being able to deal with conflict management. No matter the situation, you must remain calm and figure out a solution for the customer. You don’t want to start having an argument with a consumer because that’ll give your business a bad reputation.
There are certain games you can play to help your employees understand what you want from certain situations. These can include things like role playing and random quizzes during staff meetings. This game will show you what employees are great active listeners and who aren’t, for you to further train:
“Tell me what I said” game.
In one of your meetings, gather all your employees and give them paper and a pencil. Completely out of the blue tell them a random story such as:
“Yesterday at 3pm I was walking my dog to the park. Once I got there I counted 5 brown dogs, 3 white dogs, 9 black dogs and cat who was sat on the blue climbing frame.”
Get them to write down exactly what you just said. You’ll get all sorts of funny responses that weren’t even similar! Then do the same thing but this time, tell your employees to “listen closely”. We guarantee you one or two people will get every word you said this time round.
This game illustrates how someone should be listening to customers from the first word that is spoken, not just when they’re told to listen. Being able to apply this skill will install a great sense of understanding and make customers feel more valued.
Product training is just as important when it comes down to customer service. There’s nothing worse than an employee who has no idea what you’re asking about, it makes the store untrustworthy.
Ways you can improve this is by coming up with fresh and fun ways to motivate your staff into learning everything. For example you could announce a competition where you pick a specific (high gross) product and employees have to promote and sell them and the highest amount of sales wins some predetermined prize. Using this technique to train product details not only gets the employees motivated to encourage more sales but they’ll also learn more about that product to be able to sell it! Clever right?
You could even do a monthly quiz and make them fill out certain questions and whoever gets the most answers gets a little treat or something like that, giving your employees some sort of incentive is always a good way to encourage them to co-operate.
Visual Merchandising is a huge marketing technique that stores use to capture the customers attention to take them on their purchase journey. It allows you to be creative with the layout of your store and your products! What you need to keep in mind when merchandising in your store is your brand image and how you can influence purchasing habits.
By focusing on your brand image we mean the layout in which your products and shelves are. For example navigation should be easy otherwise customers get frustrated, especially if they’re in a rush. You should try having your shelves at a below average height so that your shop appears more open plan, this will encourage a better customer flow to products.
Influencing purchasing habits is a lot simpler than you’d think. If you position your most consumable products at the back of your store, this will encourage your customers to walk past prime merchandising areas on their way back, hopefully encouraging them to pick up some extra items on the way! You could set out a stand of generic products (e.g. birthday cards) to encourage any new customers to come in.
Displaying your items in-store in a way that catches customer attention is difficult at best. But just remember to keep items consistently grouped throughout the store and categorise it into sections. Make sure you’re smart about the layout, you want customers to feel welcome not crowded and confused and you’re all good to go!
Overall appearance and branding (advertising and deals)
The first thing to remember is that first impressions count! If the front of your store looks dirty and dingy its more likely that customers won’t take that first step inside. A spruced up store will do wonders for your curb appeal… it’s all about creating a fresh and welcoming vibe to encourage them inside. Did you know that store window displays are a valuable marketing asset now a-days? Just make sure you don’t overcrowd them! Once they’ve made that step inside you need to keep up that fresh atmosphere… having filthy, crowded shelves is not a great look. Keep it clean and you’ll be increasing footfall in your store in no time!
Taking advantage of deals and offers is always a great way to increase customers in. Who doesn’t love a bargain? We’re not saying constant discounts are a great idea, you don’t want your sales rates to drop. But when a popular holiday is on it’s way, come up with a few fun deals to get your customers engaged and excited!
Advertisement is what promotes a store and their offers. How will your dormant customers know about the fantastic deals you’re offering if you haven’t physically told them? A door drop with a leaflet could be a nice way to encourage locals and customer to visit your store, or even discount posters for seasonal offers.
If you want to learn more about how you can increase footfall, check out some of our other blogs!
There are so many ways you can improve the in store shopping experience for your customers, it’s just down to you to make that first step! For more tips in retail check out our blog page!