Everything comes down to retail experience
The old adage, “the customer is always right” is no longer enough. The 2018 retail customer is always on, and that reality is forcing physical retail brands to raise the customer experience bar across the entire retail market.
This means the always-on retail customer:
- Places a higher value on customer experience
- Demands the same personalization that e-commerce provides
- Investigates which brands deliver this level of customer experience
A recent study by Salesforce on the current state of retail experience revealed that 53% of shoppers simply do not have faith in most brick-and-mortar retailers to deliver great customer experiences. The same study indicates that more than 60% of shoppers feel that retailers don’t understand their needs. And 58% of shoppers place a high value on personalized in-store experiences.
Personalized Customer Experience Matters
Personalized in-store experiences are becoming increasingly important because there is no one-size-fits-all retail experience in 2018. Each customer who enters your store has a very specific motivation for entering your store.
For instance, some shoppers are utilitarian. They could care less about a flashy display case. Others are tactile shoppers, and they like to touch and feel products before they buy. While others, simply enjoy the experience of a retail environment.
Translation: today’s shoppers need modern retailers to act like modern retailers. In other words, the future of the brick-and-mortar retail needs to be rooted, not only in customer experience, but in customer obsession.
This really means that in order for retail stores to evolve, they need to obsessively listen and take action on customer feedback.
Four Steps Towards a More Customer-Obsessed Retail Experience
1. Collect Customer Feedback
This seems like a basic step, but the harsh reality is that most of us have been doing it wrong. A simple comment card, or a customer satisfaction survey no longer does the trick.
For many retailers, the Net Promoter Score® (NPS) framework is a great way to measure and take action on customer feedback, as it can give you a real-time pulse of how your in-store experience is impacting your customers.
By using NPS as a feedback-gathering mechanism at every possible customer-to-brand touchpoint, you’re able to gain valuable insight into how you can improve experience to meet the needs of every customer.
Collecting customer feedback is a huge step forward in your journey towards customer-obsessed retail experience. Afterall, how can you optimize in-store experiences if you have no idea what what your customers say or think about your store? Spoiler alert! It’s impossible without a dedicated solution for collecting and taking meaningful business action on that feedback.
2. Communicate Feedback through the Entire Company
This is where the customer-obsession car starts to really take off. After gathering customer feedback, the crucial next step is ensuring that feedback gets into the right hands. By creating a mechanism for delivering that feedback to the right department or team member to take the next best action, you are rapidly creating a retail culture that is obsessed with customer feedback.
3. Take Immediate Action
Have you ever had a boss ask for honest feedback? When you obliged, did they do anything with that feedback? Did they improve processes? Did change happen quickly?
The reality is that simply gathering customer feedback is never enough. If you really want to wow your customers, show them that you’re really listening by implementing their feedback throughout your store.
What if you were able to gather customer feedback at the point of purchase, implement the requested feedback instantly? How would that impact the shopping experience? How would that help you stand out? According to Forrester Research, by focusing on customer experience you are investing in a 4% year-over-year revenue bump above your competitors.
4. Turn Your Customers Into Brand Advocates
You don’t need to look far to learn that your customers are some of your best marketers. In fact, according to Nielsen, your customers are 4-times more likely to buy when referred from a friend. So it’s not a big stretch to imagine how powerful it can be to turn your happy customers loose to spread the gospel of your in-store experience.
These ‘true’ advocates will promote your brand because they want to, not because of some incentivized offer. By asking these customer advocates, to talk about their shopping experience, you are activating them to prove out that you are a customer-centric retailer.
Embrace Retail CX Obsession as Your Competitive Advantage
While there may be a lot of moving parts to gathering and acting on customer feedback within your retail space, the end goal is simple. Every retailer wants to create in-store experiences that excite customers to keep returning with their friends and family. Delivering on that experience requires a constant stream of customer feedback so you can make quicker, smarter decisions to optimize the retail experience for business growth.