The retail experience customers are looking for is constantly changing at a pace that can be difficult to keep up with. For true omnichannel retailers who sell through both online and brick-and-mortar channels, customer experience is the next frontier to improve beyond great, agile data integration.
Follow the 5 tips below for how to take your business to the next level beyond great data integration and automation with in-store customer experience.
1. Offer In-Store Pickup With Integrated Order Management Systems
Consumers are researching and shopping on all channels at home, at work, or at the cottage prior to making a purchase either buying online to have delivered or picked up in store. An integrated retail order management system with your ecommerce store will offer enormous benefits for both retailer and the customer as it will also able to synchronize orders across various channels.
For example, as a DIY home renovator, I have a few projects on the go and for planning out my projects I take my time deciding what tools I need, materials or decor related items that will complete the project. For the projects I work on, I realize not every product is going to be online order friendly and researching what products I need and the price I am looking for is often going to be a decision I’ll make prior to heading out to a Lowes or Home Depot.
With Home Depot’s integrated commerce strategy, customers like me use an online channel to buy or reserve a product pick it everything else while seeking advice from in-store experts. This extra personalized touch can often help avoid a mistake for a DIY home renovator. This strategy can be adopted to other retailers and not just companies like Home Depot. The retail experience should be inviting customers to come and spend their time, a well merchandised and clean looking store is what will keep people coming back time and time again.
2. Enable Free In-Store WiFi For Customers
Fantastic! — You have customers drawn to the store from an online channel or promotion. A part of the research and buying process, consumers are going to look at online reviews or product comparisons when faced with the challenge of choosing brand x over brand y. Since customers will use their phones or mobile device anyway, retailers should offer free WiFi. The benefits are it will help draw more customers to the store, and they will stay longer and allow for more conversions, enhancing overall customer experience as a result. Retailers can engage and influence customers as they shop in store by integrating their loyalty programs and offer in-store promotions or coupons. Enabling free in-store wifi for your customers can offer a personalized experience.
3. Hire And Train An Amazing Staff
Friendly and personable staff who will go above and beyond to provide useful or helpful information will play a huge role in creating that customer loyalty and keep them coming back to your store. Retailers who have embraced technology in their stores offer more convenience for customers by being able to look up products faster, order history, or provide recommendations based on what are the hot sellers in their store. A staff with a mobile or cloud based POS will be able to engage better with the customer and provide an opportunity for the retailer to upsell or cross-sell.
4. Customer Loyalty Programs
Retailers can benefit from offering a loyalty program for customers that will buy online but also visit the retail store. Offering in-store only promotions is a great way to keep a customer coming back into the store. Capturing customer emails through a POS system is a great way to send out promotions, coupons or special programs focused on drawing people into the store. Many POS systems can integrate with marketing programs such as Mailchimp. Retailers can send emails to groups of customers based on certain purchase preferences or history. This level of engagement goes a long way to building a solid in-store experience and repeat business.
5. Positive Return Experience
Believe it or not, dealing with a return is historically time consuming for both the retailer and customer but it doesn’t have to be and part of the overall in-store experience as well. Keeping track of order or purchase history not only speeds up the process for the staff making the return, it is also more convenient for the customer who perhaps forgot their receipt. A positive return experience can also go a long way to help the overall bottom line.
Written by Wayne Thompson, Strategic Partnerships at VL OMNI