Setting yourself apart from the competition is definitely one of the top priorities of any store owner. In a world where customers can choose to shop online or at the boutique down the street instead of at your establishment, enhancing the experience your customers have at your store is definitely something you should be working on.
As with most things, this is easier said than done, as there are many changes to implement to truly make your store the best it can be. However, with a bit of careful planning, this process is made a lot simpler. Here are 5 changes you can make to improve customer experience at your store.
1. Keep Your Customer Service Warm
The first and most important thing to keep in mind when thinking about how to improve customer experience is to evaluate how your customer service is doing. A huge part of customer experience has to do with how your staff treats your patrons. Your employees are there to represent your brand; are they doing the job correctly? Shoppers are impressionable, and bad customer service is almost always more than enough for them to never return. In fact, according to a survey run by American Express, 78% of customers may choose not to complete an intended purchase due to poor customer service.
You can ensure your customers have a good experience by treating them with the respect they deserve. Welcome them with a warm smile and a genuine, friendly greeting upon their arrival at your establishment. Have someone offer them assistance, but ensure that they aren’t being too pushy. No one likes a nosy salesclerk, after all! Make sure that whether it’s you or your employees assisting your customers, it’s done in such a way that you are quick to please and be helpful without overstepping boundaries.
When your customer leaves, regardless if they’ve bought anything, thank them kindly for taking the time to stop by. You want to make sure their impression of your business is a positive one even if they didn’t make a purchase. It’s these little things that can help make someone’s day and have them raving about your business to friends and family!
2. Rethink Your Layout
When thinking about customer experience, it’s important to note that human beings, generally speaking, are visual creatures. You want to make sure that your products are laid out in an attractive manner, and that everything is where it should be—in essence, that things are easy to find. While it’s imperative to keep everything spotless and your displays looking as attractive as possible, have you considered your store layout?
Aside from product placement, your layout will determine how customers see and navigate your store. The ease of finding products adds a great deal to customer experience; no one likes a messy layout. Planning out your floor plan is a difficult task with plenty to take into consideration, and it’s important to get everything just right. You’ll find that a layout conducive to your business will really improve how your customers perceive your brand!
3. Play with All the Senses
As previously mentioned, people are visual creatures, but that doesn’t mean that the engagement with the senses stops there—at least, it shouldn’t! There are five senses to appeal to, and you should do your best to make sure that your customers get a full sensory experience when they are in your store. It’s no doubt that you have to make things as eye-catching, beautiful, and unique as possible to capture your audience’s visual interest. How about the rest of the senses?
While you might have a difficult time engaging with taste if you don’t sell food at your store (but if you do, consider: free samples!), the rest of the senses are easy enough to get involved. Encourage your customers to touch and feel the various things you have on sale. Play soft, relaxing music throughout your store to lift the spirits and keep your customers feeling calm. You can also opt to spray a delicate fragrance throughout your store if you’re not already selling fragrant things like food or flowers. Try refreshing scents like lavender, mint, or cotton. Getting enough sensory involvement will really boost your customers’ experiences at your store.
4. Eliminate Wait Times
Slow checkout lines are bad news for any store. They give your customers more than enough time to rethink their entire purchase, and test everyone’s patience. You want to make sure that your wait time is as short as you can make it. One way to do this is by investing in mobile points of sale (POS) systems. Using mobile registers, employees can just ring up customers right on the floor. This saves everyone plenty of time and will make your customers happier, since nobody likes to wait in line.
However, even with a mobile POS, it can still be difficult to avoid lines from forming on particularly busy days. When this happens, ensure that your registers, mobile or otherwise, are fully staffed and attended to. This may be difficult, but the important thing is that your customers see that you’re trying your best to fill demand. Train your staff to smile and attend to customers waiting in line and you’re more likely to diffuse any hot tempers.
5. Reward Your Customers
Lastly, you want to make sure that customers receive service that makes them feel important. You want to reward customer loyalty, and this can be done in a number of ways. You can celebrate your customers’ birthdays by either sending them a birthday card, or letting them know about a special birthday offer you have for them.
You could also offer incentives to shoppers to keep their loyalty in the form of discounts, gifts, or other promotions. Try a referral program where a customer gets a special reward for referring a friend or relative to your store. You also have the option of offering customer satisfaction surveys for your patrons to let their voices be heard. Plus, your store will benefit from the feedback!
The Bottom Line
Your customers are the most important thing to your business, so it’s imperative to ensure that they have a positive experience at your store. Following these tips will help you keep your customers’ loyalty and give them all the more reason to rave about your shop!