Customer experience is critical for retail businesses to maximize their revenue and expand their customer base. In fact, 54% of experts confirm excellent customer care is imperative to build brand loyalty. A 2020 report by Forbes Insights and Treasure Data reinforces this notion, finding that 74% of customers are likely to make a purchase solely based on customer support.
Ultimately, retail stores must focus on optimizing their customer experience to drive long-term growth. However, in competitive markets, it can be challenging to find authentic strategies to drive positive customer experiences. Fortunately, this guide will outline the top five innovative customer experience strategies for retail stores.
How Important is Customer Support for Retail Businesses?
Positive customer care is paramount to successful companies, as poor customer service drives 61% of a company’s buyers to their competitors. A survey by Forrester confirms that buyers are 2.4 times more likely to keep supporting businesses that provide quick and helpful customer support. Retail consumers value customer care too much for companies to ignore this. And fantastic customer support does pay off, as almost 90% of buyers share good brand experiences with their friends and family.
Moreover, retail brands that deliver personalized, excellent customer support have a greater chance of securing brand loyalty. Thanks to changes in the retail environment, including advances in marketing (digital and traditional) and technology, there are many authentic strategies retail businesses can use to drive customer engagement and satisfaction. Let’s explore a few of these strategies next.
5 Expert Retail Customer Experience Strategies
Here are the top five strategies to deliver exceptional customer experience in 2023.
- Leverage Technology
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven widespread digitalization, and retail businesses must adapt to keep up with the latest technology trends.
While some business owners may prefer traditional marketing, leveraging technology will positively impact customer experience. The best technology solutions to use for retail stores in 2023 include:
- Mobile payments: Contactless payments between smartphones and an appropriate payment terminal.
- Social commerce: Digital shopping from a store’s app or social media platform (such as Instagram’s Marketplace).
- Inventory management systems: Platforms to digitally manage inventory.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) systems: Digital platforms to integrate and manage customer data.
More than 60% of retail customers say technology has improved their shopping experience, so retail businesses must be proactive and implement the above technology trends.
- Use Omnichannel Communication
Omnichannel communication describes integrating all your customer communication channels, so buyers can receive the same level of support regardless of the channel they use. You can foster strong brand-to-consumer relationships by delivering personalized, accessible communication.
In addition, omnichannel communication will help build brand loyalty—when customers feel they can rely on your business for efficient, helpful service, they are more likely to continue purchasing your products or services. This marketing approach will also help you reach new customer segments, as you will gain more insights into what content and channels different customers prefer.
Moreover, companies with well-designed omnichannel communication retain 89% of their customers. Another study confirms that 90% of retail leaders believe omnichannel communication is critical to business success.
Furthermore, omnichannel communication is highly valuable because it makes customer support seamless. Making it challenging to communicate with your business will only further aggravate unsatisfied customers. But with an omnichannel communication strategy, customers can rely on effortless support available through various channels.
- Host an Experiential Marketing Campaign
Experiential marketing is a modern marketing technique that involves engaging your customers by having them participate in a branded experience. A fantastic example is the “Flavored Rooms” experiential campaign by M&M—the chocolate brand.
M&M offered their audience an immersive experience by decorating several rooms, each dedicated to a flavor the brand offers. These rooms shared the same color, fragrance, and aesthetic of their respective flavors. Adding to this experience, M&M included snack and drink lounges with themed cocktails and food.
Experiential marketing for retail works, with 40% of stores confirming they will be prioritizing experiential events in 2023. These marketing campaigns are effective because they give targeted customers a first-hand, immersive experience of your products. Use this opportunity to share your brand values, identity, and voice. Additionally, implement a campaign that leaves an impression on your participants and encourages them to share the experience with their peers.
- Create an “Instagram Wall”
You may be wondering, “what on Earth is an Instagram wall?”. Well, this is a dedicated wall or space in retail stores where customers can take pictures. With almost five billion consumers on social media, it is clear that buyers enjoy sharing content about their lives and experiences. An Instagram Wall allows businesses to encourage customers to take photos in their stores and share this content on Instagram (ideally tagging the business or using a branded hashtag). What’s more, because Instagram Walls are interactive, this will increase in-store customer engagement, resulting in an improved overall customer experience.
Winky Lux, a cosmetics brand, delivers an Instagrammable experience to its target audience of young shoppers. For $10 each, customers can pose and take pictures in seven different rooms, each dedicated to a unique Winky Lux product. While this retail brand makes in-person shopping more engaging, they have also found new channels to increase revenue, gain user-generated content and leverage its customers to build a social media presence.
- Provide Personal Face-to-Face Interactions
While technology has transformed how customers shop and communicate with retail businesses, it is essential to remember the value of face-to-face interactions in physical stores. Business owners must ensure sales reps are well-trained to deliver exceptional in-person customer support and successfully de-escalate aggravated customers.
Here is an example of how to optimize physical customer interactions—customers visit a retail store and have the option of purchasing through self-service kiosks. Nonetheless, the sales representatives are still happy to welcome customers, guide them through the self-service kiosks, answer any questions, and recommend the best products. So, although customers can purchase through digital means, initiating face-to-face communication makes every interaction more personal.
Delivering an exceptional customer experience is crucial for retail stores to build brand loyalty and increase sales. To stay ahead of the competition and keep up with this landscape’s demands, retail companies must focus on authentic, personalized customer experiences. Retailers can adopt various strategies, such as leveraging technology and experiential marketing, using an Instagram wall in their stores, designing an omnichannel communication strategy, and optimizing in-person interactions. By implementing these strategies, retail businesses can differentiate themselves, attract and retain customers, and drive business growth.