Thanks to the rise of big data and better internet connections, shoppers have more options than ever before to part with their money. In fact, there’s probably never been a time in history where the world of retail has changed so dramatically and so profoundly as it is changing today.
With so much competition and innovation, how is the small retailer supposed to keep up? By offering what customers want, of course. Recently, Retail Rebooted released a new report on what customers want, based on data gathered from big retailer chains. Although the report collected data from the larger players, it contained many takeaways that apply to all companies in the industry. Here are the things customers wanted retailers to deliver, according to the report.
Personalized Customer Service
Right at the top of the list of things that consumers wanted from retail outlets was personalized customer service. More than anything, they want in-person service that they can’t get online. The trick here, according to the report, is to make sure that your salespeople are fully trained in giving customers a personalized experience. This means that staff need to focus on asking questions and finding out as much as they can about all the people who come to your store. Hire employees based on personality, finding only those people that you know will deliver a consistent and engaging service to customers. Anybody can learn to use a cash register, but teaching great people skills is a heck of a lot more difficult.
Make Shopping More Fun And Enjoyable
Customers are expecting much more when they go shopping than a bunch of products on shelves. They want an experience and to be entertained in store. This means that stores have had to work a lot harder on both their front and back ends to make sure that expectations are met. On the back end, many retailers are now using high risk merchant accounts to allow them to transact both in store and online using a single payment provider. This is important because customers are increasingly blending their online, mobile and retail shopping experience. Often a customer will go into a store, try on a piece of clothing, and then later order it online through the store’s online payment gateway.
On the front end, stores are now offering a sensory experience and turning their stores into relaxing retreats, designed to help customers get away from the stresses and strains of daily life. One of the ways that they are doing this is by pairing up with neighboring cinemas, coffee shops and leisure areas, like parks. A shop is no longer a place just to do shopping: it’s also a place to chill out and have fun.
A More Curated Experience
Marketers know that consumers can sometimes get overwhelmed by choice and this can lead them to abandon their plans to buy through sheer information overload. It’s important, therefore, that boutique retailers avoid this by curating their products. We already see this online with things like “featured product” or “best buy.” But there’s nothing to stop physical stores from doing the same by having a “suggested product” stand or emphasizing certain products in a display.