How To Make Retail Customer Experiences More Memorable?
Many entrepreneurs are looking towards giving a much better retail experience to their customers these days and most of today’s discussion on retail innovation is related to the digital experience. Many experts believe that the retail industry has put a lot of faith in new technologies.
When it comes to the use of technology in the retail industry, there are two schools of thought. Some brands sum up the entire generation that currently living in this digital era as the generation that is always looking for digital experiences. However, many experts believe that digital experience is not a thing.
We all have different types of experience each day, such as transportation experiences, work experiences, entertainment experiences, etc. Most of these experiences are technology-enabled but we do not call them technological experiences. May brands misunderstood this concept and are making some wrong decisions.
We can see that many of the retail brands are going down the wrong road. When you walk into some of the retail stores, you will see a lot of screens, which is simply an attempt to get the attention of this generation who they believe are the “digital generation” who want to look at screens. However, these brands are not realizing that the reason why people are getting out of their house is to get more real-life experiences.
The good news is that many retail brands are taking a more logical approach to technology. The real problem with the purchasing of a product is that the consumers are not getting the right information about the products they want to buy and they are not getting the opportunity to try those products before buying them. Some brands want to alleviate or minimize these problems with technology.
How To Stay Ahead of The Competition?
The online retail stores are giving great competition to small convenience stores and wholesale stores. Many of the consumers are going for online retail stores as they are offering products and services at a more reasonable price. Most of the brands that are losing customers do not have a clearly discernible value proposition. The customers cannot tell whether this brand is exclusive or if it is convenience-based. People who own small retail stores often find it hard to compete with these online stores.
The advancement in the market is showing that there are two kinds of players emerging in every category. The first one is the brands that mainly focus on the user experience and we can call them a high convenience player. These brands will do everything to provide a better user experience, like easing the buying process and lowering the input costs to reduce the price. These brands also try to create a very strong cognitive connection between the product and consumer, so when a consumer thinks of a particular product, they will immediately think of that brand.
We can take the example of Amazon as a high convenience player. Today, Amazon is becoming the go-to place for product searches. Around 44 % of the whole product searches online takes place on amazon only because they are providing a better user experience and is now a global marketplace for everything. Like this, a lot of online retail stores have taken out the friction in the buying process and customers are choosing these online stores over convenient and wholesale stores.
The other kind of players that we see in the market are high fidelity retailers. Unlike high convenience players, they are more about exclusivity, not convenience. They are looking mainly at much deeper customer experience and building a strong connection with the consumers. It is also about giving the customers a much better feeling about purchasing that product and making them feel good about what they purchased.
When you look at the market, both these types of players are doing well. They all are doing good business but the ones who are being cleaved off are the ones who come in the middle of this spectrum. Studies are showing that many of the department stores and convenience stores are facing this predicament and they have to change accordingly to stay in business.
How To Improve Customer Experience?
Many experts in economics and retail business demand that the customer experiences have to be improved to bring more customers to the business. They also say that people do not like to wait in long queues in retail stores to buy products and that is one of the main reasons for the popularity of online stores. That means the retail stores have to improve the customer experience to make sure that their business is booming.
Product discovery is an effective way to improve the customer experience in a retail store. Many of the retailers are doing everything in their power to fill their stores with products that are not familiar to the general consumer. Most retailers are claiming that their new experiment was a huge success. Customers are loving it when they find a new brand that they have never heard of in the retail stores. Usually, they only discover new brands through online stores.
This is one of the easiest things a retailer can do to improve the customer experience. If the retailers are thinking that the products they sell are available in every corner of the city, then they have to come up with some unique way to sell those products such that people will get a different experience than usual. For example, if you are selling ice cream and there are many other places in the city that sell ice cream as delicious as yours, you have to come up with a unique way to sell the ice cream and make the customers feel that they never had ice cream like this.
These are some of the easiest ways to improve your customer experience and grow further in the retail store business. However, if you are still clinging to the old business mindset and are not ready to change, then you will soon be out of business. Online retail stores like amazon are growing rapidly each year and unless you are finding a new way to improve the customer experience, you can start thinking about closing down your retail store.
Other Ways To Innovate The Retail Business
Indeed, product experience is a very innovative way to improve your retail business. But it is not the only one. The first innovative thing to do is to change the conversation with the vendors. Many of the retailers and manufacturers are agreeing that the old conventional buyer-selling conversation is ending and the retailers are becoming aware that the customers are now holding all the cards. They have to be flexible in terms of selling their products to the customers.
With a wide range of online retail stores, the customer has easy access to a variety of selection and choice. So, if the retailers do not want to run out of business, they have to come up with a better service to the customers and make sure that they get a better user experience. If you are unable to provide a better experience, the customer will move on to the next one.
Generally, most of the retailers and vendors are in a transactional behavior that is all about sales per hour, a gross return of investment, etc. If the retailers are not ready to change and keep going on the same path of using old metrics, they cannot be more productive in the coming years. Retailers have to create better experiences for their consumers to become more productive. We can see that some brands are questioning their real estate investment and downsizing their stores. This will not help in the long run and will negatively affect your business.
Most retail stores that are downsizing are doing so because of the drop in sales. However, it won’t help in improving your sales, instead, it only keeps the customer away from the store. What the retailers have to remember is that each retail store is a brand outpost in the market and has a certain value. You have to understand that the current set of metrics that you follow are outdated and need to follow a new set of metrics that allows you to improve the retail customer experience.
What The Retailers Need To Do
Recently, b8ta has defied the conventional retail models and started to charge rent for the spaces their products are occupying in a store. They stopped following the traditional wholesale-to-retail model. What b8ta is doing is charging the brands for data and insights about the behavior of the customers with their products. This is a huge benefit for the brands as well. This will allow them to improve their marketing as well as the quality of the products.
As long as the retailers are tied to sales per square foot and mainly depend on the revenue that you get from the four-wall sales of the retail store you own, you can only carry the products that are guaranteed to sell. Unfortunately, those products tend to be the same one that other retailers also carry. This will make the stores extremely predictable and it will negatively affect the sales.