With technology advancing and offering new customer-centered digital services, many brands wonder what can be the new role of retail stores.
Retail stores, despite the high pace of digitization that the fashion industry is experiencing, are still a key component of your customer journey and one of the most relevant touchpoints with your clients.
How can your brand take full advantage of what retail has to offer to create meaningful and memorable experiences that leave your customers in awe?
A strong experiential dimension in retail is what can make your brand stand out and create a connection with your audience that moves past the “noise” of traditional fashion communication.
In this post, we’re discussing 5 ways to make sure that your retail stores are able to add value to your customer’s experience, by delighting and surprising them.
#1 Have a Human Touch
The starting point of our list is the human touch.
It can be suggested that as customers conduct most of their customer journey online, by the time they reach the store, they know all there is to know about the product they’d like to buy.
Moreover, after having conducted online research, your clients will also be aware of the exact price of the products they want and would be coming over to your shop, simply to see the product physically, before conducting the transaction.
This may leave very little room for you and your team to provide a value-adding experience.
The starting point, however, may be in creating that connection that technology cannot provide.
- Knowing your customers by name.
- Investing time to create a sense of familiarity, or even looking into some hospitality courtesies, like offering coffee or refreshment can be the starting point of a different dimension of shopping that technology can’t match.
Ultimately, if the product component of the experience is already given for granted, invest in the service component, in customer service. It is now widely acknowledged that customer service is the new marketing, and developing a team capable of promptly assisting your clients can be a huge driver of sales.
If you’d like to explore more customer service best practices, in this post, we’re looking into the 10 rules of excellent customer service.
Great, let’s now move on to the next tip.
#2 Be Genuine and Unexpected
As you develop your customer service and create an experience that can’t be provided “on a screen”, remember that it can take very little to build upon that sense of surprise and wonder that makes a shopping experience memorable.
But how can you do that? Here are some ideas to think about.
- Maybe, some of your items are not advertised online.
- Maybe some of your items are only shown to returning customers.
- Maybe certain services (like tailoring) are only mentioned to special customers who have been to the store more than once.
We need to remember that fashion retail often follows Pareto’s Law or the 80/20 rule.
According to this principle, 80% of our revenue comes from only 20% of our customers. This is why our experiential efforts should be primarily focused on retaining our existing customers as opposed to being only looking into new clients. Retention allows for much higher profitability, as the customer acquisition cost is much lower for retained clients.
Allowing customers to realize that your store experience entails a few extra perks that you can only learn about as a returning customer can certainly contribute to developing higher retention, as customers will also have to invest a bit of time in your store, to access these benefits.
Great, let’s now move on to the next tip.
#3 Making The Store Experience on Brand
Another important dimension of your retail store has to do with branding.
Think about the brand you developed and think about the associations it suggests in the mind of your customers. Is the brand about luxury? Is it about comfort? Is it about performance?
Whatever the case, you need to remember that that series of feelings your brand is able to conjure up “in the belly” of your clients need to be echoed by your store experience.
How can you do that? Here are a few examples.
- Is your brand about luxury? Offer luxurious services like a private collection unveiling experience for a selection of your best clients.
- Is your brand about sport? Gamify your store with a treadmill to test your running shoes.
- Is your brand about convenience? Offer multiple sales and discounts to maintain that sense of getting a good deal on your shopping.
Making your store experience on-brand is something that requires a clear strategy and vision. You need to be able to understand what makes your customer “click” and engage in a loyal, long-term relationship with your business.
If you’d like to read more on the subject, in this article, we’re looking at some tips to make sure your clients will move seamlessly between the digital and physical parts of their
#4 Value Your Customer
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you give value to your customers’ time.
For as much time it takes to design an experience that wows your audience, it can take very little to destroy all of your hard work and create a negative shopping experience that may lead to bad reviews.
What are some of the most common challenges?
- Maybe your prices are not coherent with the ones that can be found online.
- Maybe the wait time for your customer to get in and out of the store is too long.
- Maybe your customer service is not providing the experience your clients are looking for.
At the end of the day, the harsh reality is that customers are not required to come to the store to access the products they want.
They can just simply purchase everything online and have it delivered to their doorstep.
When clients come to the store, we need to make their time worthwhile and spend extra care in the way we make their experience valuable.
On the bright side, those clients who engage in positive shopping experiences will be wanting to come back for more.
So what is it that makes your customer want to come back for more? We’ll be exploring this question in more detail in this post, focused on customer retention and profit increase.
Let’s now move to our final tip.
#5 Be Different.
At the end of the day, if our goal is to be meaningful and memorable, we need to be different.
It’s only by spending time and understanding what points of difference set us apart that we can rise above the noise and make ourselves noticed.
The fact of the matter is that the fashion industry is a competitive industry, and it’s only by delivering to market a fresh, vibrant vision that we can overcome unforgiving odds of developing a successful, global brand.
Great! Now that we’ve covered all relevant topics, it’s time to draw a few conclusive remarks.
There you have it! To delight and surprise your customers, attention to detail is everything, and in this post, we’ve explored 5 different tips on how your retail business can enhance its customers’ experience and make sure that each and every one of them is able to access a positive, on-brand experience.
It’s hard work to make customer-centric operations run smoothly, but what can we say? Practice makes perfect!
If you’d like to read up more on the subject, here’s a book we recommend reading to build a customer-service culture in your business: Thanks for Coming in Today: Creating a Culture Where Employees Thrive & Customer Service is Alive from Charles Ryan Minton.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Fashion Industry, don’t hesitate to take a look at our course “The Fashion Industry: Explained”. Our in-depth class covers a wide range of topics spanning from understanding fashion customers and markets to developing immersive retail experiences for your customers. Here’s a link to the course, if you use the discount code BLOG20 you can access a 20% discount. Enjoy!