It is becoming increasingly commonplace for the consumer experience in retail and in other industries and businesses to be cited as one of if not the most important factors when it comes to customers deciding whether or not to purchase a product or not and whether they consider returning to the shop, retailer or outlet to purchase more items.
The changes and updates in the retail sector have also meant that one of the biggest determining factors for consumers and customers choosing where to buy products are their experience. This is in sharp contrast to traditional views and values which centred around the product or goods in question.
Strong Customer Experience Drives Competition
Strong and positive customer experiences can make your company stand out from other competitors in the market and in the same industry.If your brand is able to successfully differentiate its brand identity with its products and the overall retail experience, it can help to not only build brand loyalty amongst consumers, but evidence has shown that it can also help with providing higher conversion rates.
To Make Your Brand Instantly Recognisable
Building on outstanding customer experiences, whether with excellent customer service or stunning layout design of the retail outlet are some of the possible ways to achieve both significant recognition as well as increases in returning customers. You can help to make your brand stand out from the crowd, leading to repeat custom in the future.
By making your brand instantly recognisable (provoking positive reactions from the consumer) you can help to increase the likelihood of brand loyalty, which is something all companies hope to achieve. Also, loyal customers will act as brand ambassadors for your brand, something always positive for all businesses.
Growing Consumer Expectations
Another factor which is making customer experiences in retail far more important than ever is the growing consumer expectation of retail firms in general.
Nowadays, consumers expect as standard a more personalised customer experience when purchasing products.Thanks to the considerable rise in technology enabling new ways of purchasing products, it means that the pressure has increased in terms of what traditional companies need to do in order to adapt and transform their business models to remain competitive, appealing to customers and ultimately, in profit.
Importance of Human Connection in Retail
Whilst more people than ever are purchasing products online as opposed to traditional in-store purchasing, there is still something unique about customer experience in retail: the people who run the business and the shop floor. In a survey carried out by PWC in 2007 called the ‘Total Retail Global Survey,’ 59% of shoppers stated that human contact was the most important part of the experience in-store.
As a result, it is vital to focus on ways to increase customer engagement in-store in an ever-competitive market.
This can be achieved in a myriad of ways, such as providing a compelling customer experience: recent studies have indicated that the average customer will pay more for an item if their experience is better overall. This research shows that not only does excellent customer service provide a way to develop strong brand identity through reputation, but it can also be potentially profitable for your business; a win-win, some might say.
It Helps Deliver Business Growth
If your company is able to provide a consumer experience that connects every interaction that a customer has with the brand and imagery to achieve this in a creative way, it can help provide the firm with a competitive advantage and enable business growth.
This may mean focusing on a particular part of the consumer experience that your firm would like to be especially known for. Or, focusing on the retail consumer experience may enable you to reach a whole new audience. For example, you may decide to use digital technology in-store to help reach a younger demographic with your brand.
Overall Customer and Brand Relationship
Making sure that consumer experiences in retail are made a top priority with regards to customer strategy can also help businesses to analyse overall customer and company relationships,as you can monitor the customer journey, and their interactions with your brand.
This can also allow you to improve or monitor the overall customer experience, to see if there are areas for improvement.
Strong Customer Experiences In-Store Can Build Trust
By creating a strong customer experience in your store, you can help build trust for your company and brand. But what are some of the best ways of building trust for your firm in-store?
You can do this by focusing on things that are typically cited as some of the biggest inconveniences for customers which prevent them from returning to retailers and businesses.
For example, in a recent study conducted by Brighter Business, over 40% of participants in the study stated that long queues in-store tended to be the biggest barrier to a positive experience in the shop.
Meanwhile, 24% revealed that inconvenient opening hours and slow checkouts were also a major hindrance to their shopping experience.
You could help to tackle some of these issues through the physical design of the retail unit: for example, certain design elements may help to subtly improve the experience for the customer, making the experience just that bit more memorable than usual.
This could mean a number of things: such as improving the number of changing rooms that are available in order to reduce waiting times, or simply making the retail layout less confusing, to make the overall consumer experience more enjoyable.