Businesses all over the globe are revamping their retail customer experience strategies to ensure their brands get the attention it deserves. By making use of robust online presence technology, retailers can provide consumers with a continuously engaging shopping experience, no matter where they are.
What is Retail Customer Experience?
Whether shopping takes place online or in-store, retail customer experience is defined as the experience consumers have while engaging with a particular brand. Customers are constantly comparing the level of positive touch points they have while shopping and that includes everything from the pre-purchase research, packaging, delivery, purchase, and post-purchase experience. With that said, it is crucial for businesses to make the shopping journey for customers as pleasant and positive as possible. It is also the most important aspect to take into account when it comes to business success.
Retailers are well-aware of the fact that irrespective of their brand, social media engagement, and advertising, customers have clear preferences when it comes to interacting with brands. For that reason, businesses need to adapt by providing the perfect mix of both online and in-store experiences. With a staggering 63% of all shopping experiences taking place online, retailers need to ensure customers have a positive experience while shopping virtually. Many businesses incorporate strategies that include a user-friendly online presence and communication, innovative product placement, and design as well as logistics that prioritizes convenience and efficiency.
Why having a Good Retail Customer Experience is Important
#1 Customer Retention
Building customer retention and loyalty is one of the key aspects to take into consideration when determining the importance of customer experience. With competition in the retail industry being cut-throat, making customers feel valued is a surefire way to ensure they will turn into return customers. This transition is important since it was discovered that repeat customers actually spend 61% more than new ones.
#2 Customer Advocacy
Customer advocacy online could make or break a brand as the world of digital technology reaches far beyond the in-store scenarios a few shoppers might notice. Research has revealed that 30% of all customers share negative reviews and experiences on social media while 49% opted to share positive reviews and experiences online. While the majority of customers will only share positive reviews, consumers will notice negative reviews far more quickly than positive ones. For that reason, companies need to ensure the positive reviews and experiences shared online vastly outweigh the negative ones.
#3 Customer Loyalty
Outstanding customer experiences build up trust, and with that, customers form a connection with the brand. This will make the customer instantly recognize the brand and will promote the chance for another purchase to take place. With each purchase, the customer’s expectations are met, leading them to decide on that particular company as their go-to brand for a positive experience. In creating a virtual circle where customers and companies consistently provide each other with favorable outcomes, the brand has room to grow and can exceed customer expectations; a win for everyone.
How to provide a good Retail Customer Experience?
Retailers need to not only be consistently present but also be present everywhere customers expect them to be. While shopping, customers use two or more devices when engaging with a brand. This includes comparing prices, reading reviews, watching videos, and partaking in live chats regarding a particular product. Thus, retailers need to ensure their eCommerce adheres to all factors on an equal level.
Over 42% of all consumers expect retailers to provide a seamless experience across all devices. Unfortunately, not all retailers have access to the correct tools to enable them to provide what is expected. However, with a set of CX strategy-specific operations, businesses can build a customer-centric company that provides top-quality experiences every single time.
#1 Social Media
Whether for small businesses or retail giants, social media is a powerful tool to communicate with others and connect customers with you.
Customers tend to use multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok to ask questions about products before buying them and even find out about sales before anyone else does.
As a retailer, having a presence on these platforms and a good social media strategy can help you create an enjoyable shopping experience for your customers. You can use social media to share information about new products and sales, host contests, and showcase your brand values and mission.
You can also use social media to engage with customers on a personal level by responding directly to your customers’ questions in comments and posts. This allows you to interact with them on their terms, where they feel most comfortable. Making them feel that they are listened to and that their voice matters. This can help build trust with your audience, which will encourage more people to become customers.
#2 Forums and Online Groups
Forums are a terrific approach for developing brand communities, as demonstrated by Sephora, The Beauty Insider Community, a network linked to Sephora’s free loyalty program offers members a space to exchange beauty advice and look for inspiration, in an exclusive social setting. Customers typically seek counsel from friends, family members, and even influencers. Sephora was able to create a cohesive and immersive relationship-based experience leveraging the power of its online community in order to drive purchases and retain customers.
In addition, it is not always possible to provide timely answers to customers’ queries, be it for small businesses with limited manpower or big conglomerates that may sometimes receive thousands of customer questions at once. Hence, online groups and structured forums can be extremely helpful in giving customers peace of mind as they would be able to get answers to their questions from like-minded users.
#3 Live Streaming
Another way of providing a good retail customer experience is by taking a more personalized approach to customer interaction. Customer engagement can take place in a number of ways and includes live streaming.
With live streaming, not only do customers receive personalized experiences but the entire shopping journey becomes more memorable and personal. Cutting-edge technology such as BeLive’s LORA, a Live Commerce SaaS solution for improving customer experience provides companies with the ability to form a personal relationship with each and every shopper from anywhere in the world. And now, companies can adhere to consumer needs by not only providing online shopping experiences but by live streaming their products. The possibilities of this are endless and include how particular products can be used as well as interacting with consumers interested in purchasing the same product in real-time!
Customers also often connect delays in answering questions and acting on queries to a negative experience. This experience may lead them to disassociate themselves from a brand. Live streaming allows the host to answer questions instantly, adjusting the flow of the show and presentation of key features on viewers’ terms based on their interests. This, in turn, creates a highly positive retail customer experience.
While in-store shopping still accounts for brand presence, technology is at the forefront of connecting brands with customers to form a partnership for life. It has been proven that consumers want to interact with their favorite brands without having to leave the comfort of their own homes.
There are many channels brands can tap on to improve their customers’ retail experience. Whether you leverage social media, forums and online communities, live streaming, or all three, the key is to create a setting for open communication and authentic connection with and among your customers. And companies that are able to provide their loyal customers with that experience ensure a profitable outcome.