3 Strategies to Improve the In-Store Customer Experience
It goes without saying that delivering high quality products and services coupled with creative marketing techniques are essential to having a successful business. But, in the modern day era in order to achieve sustainable growth, you need to focus on the customer experience and building strong customer loyalty.
It’s become clearer that you’re not just competing with the shops in your local community – you’re competing on a global level with every online business, thus businesses can no longer compete on price alone. Customers have more choices, and are seeking more personal connections with the brands they choose, so you need to create a competitive advantage and differentiation – a customer experience that keeps them coming back for more!
American Express recently found that 60% of customers have abandoned a purchase in-store due to a poor customer service experience.
Harris Interactive research shows that 86% of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience.
A Nielsen-McKinsey study shows 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
If you look at Apple, they have greeters at their store welcoming customers by name. At Trader Joe’s if customers need help finding an item, associates bring them directly to it instead of just giving directions. So while certainly your staff should properly be trained to be a part of making the in-store customer experience better, there’s also 3 strategies you can implement in order to manipulate the in-store customer experience and they are: sight, sound and smell. We’ll cover all three of them below.
If you’re not familiar with this concept, smell is an exceptional way to create a “scent-sational” customer experience. The sense of smell can be used as a powerful marketing tool, to promote customer conversion, advocacy and loyalty.
Scent marketing can capture a brand’s essence and ingrain more valuable associations with a business in customers’ minds, for longer-term results. Why? The sense of smell is the most closely connected with the brain’s limbic system, responsible for processing memories and emotions.
As a result, scent marketing creates sensory triggers which directly strengthen emotional engagement with products and services. it has also been scientifically proven to increase brand loyalty, awareness and customer engagement.
Scent marketing can:
- Increase the desire to buy;
- It can increase dwell time in store;
- It helps to increase concentration;
- It reduces the perception of time;
- Feelings of stress, fatigue and anxiety are decreased.
While the 80’s heavy metal band Quiet Riot famously sang “Come on feel the noise”, soundscapes (a.k.a. in-store background music) is by far more than just noise. Though strategically underused in a business environment, atmospheric design: (in-store music sound) can hone in on sensory details, or stimuli, and trigger positive behaviors .
A Journal Of Retail Article by business professor Philip Kotler states; “music can be more influential than the product itself in the purchasing decision.”
Numerous studies show that effects that different aspects of sound and music have in influencing positive behaviors such as:
- creates a better atmosphere for your customers
- puts customers in a good mood
- increases the desire to buy;
- encourages customers to browse for longer,
- have more patience when required to wait,
- increase the likelihood of them returning;
Interactive Video/Digital Signage
Interactive video or digital signage delivers dynamic messaging in a variety of forms whether it be a video wall, an interactive display that allows customers to browse the store’s catalogue, or it could very well be a kiosk that allows customers to place orders for shipment to their home.
A custom in-store video is a solution that will act as that friend who helps them search , research, provides reviews and most importantly give customers the confidence to make the purchase before stepping out of the store. These solutions help the business gain customer’s trust and make shopping quite a uniquely spectacular experience.
These interactive displays capture the customers’ details (demographics, interests, preferences etc.) and provide the business an opportunity to tailor their offerings dynamically. Also, with so much data captured, it opens up plethora of opportunities for the business to understand their customers better, their changing requirements and new product/services/offering introductions.
The bottom line is it’s a step towards the direction of understanding the needs of the customer better, and in-turn allows businesses to provide for a better, more tailored customer experience. It has found to be extremely effective in increasing the footfall, generating inquiries, improving brand awareness, reducing perceived wait times, improving operational efficiency and most importantly, making the customers’ visit a fabulous experience.
The customer experience in-store is vitally important for businesses looking to build long-term relationships and adapt and grow with consumer needs. Businesses must create a unique and engaging experience for shoppers to differentiate their brand, build brand loyalty and trust, and ensure that customers will keep returning.
What’s the bottom line? Though a variety of relatively unexploited forms of marketing noted above, you’re able to make the customer experience a more memorable, engaging and ultimately a more profitable one. Keep in mind the old retail adage: “Customers remember the service a lot longer than they remember the price.” So much so that a Peppers & Rogers Group, Customer Experience Study shows 81% of companies with strong capabilities and competencies for delivering customer experience excellence are outperforming their competition.