5 tips to better manage in-store appointment bookings during Covid-19

Imogen Wethered
by Imogen Wethered

Many leading retailers are using appointment booking software to drive more customers into stores by creating safer and more engaging customer experiences.

During the Covid-19 lockdown period, online sales skyrocketed. But one of the experiences consumers missed the most was being able to consult in-store experts for advice, support and technical expertise.

While the majority of retailers have now reopened, many are still experiencing worryingly low footfall rates. To drive more consumers back to stores, a number of leading retailers such as Nike, Burberry and NatWest are using appointment scheduling software that allows their customers to have a safe, fast and engaging customer journey.

Find out more about how appointment booking software works.

This way customers can simply book an appointment with an in-store or virtual consultant to receive one-to-one service. Here are some of the ways retailers can optimize their appointment booking customer experience:

1) Position a customer host at the front of your store

Dedicating a member of staff solely to greet your customers as they walk into stores might seem like a waste of resources, but during these unprecedented times, having a friendly and helpful store associate goes a long way.

Customer hosts can help check customers in that are arriving for appointments – alerting the relevant store associate that they’ve arrived. They can also oversee a number of other functionalities, such as managing the number of customers allowed in-store at once, creating virtual queues, enabling customers to prebook appointments for later times and dates and simply pointing customers in the right direction to make their journey smoother.

2) Create a seamless booking process

Key to optimizing your appointment booking service is to create an effortless booking process. Make it easy for customers to book an appointment with an in-store or online expert via an app or site where customers can select time-slot that suits them.

A quality booking system should allow customers to see what stores they can book an appointment in, as well as locations, dates and advisors.

The customer journey at IQOS.

3) Prescreen customers with relevant questions

A great way to prescreen customers and ensure they have signed up for the right service is by asking them a number of relevant questions during the booking process.

Before they select a time-slot for their appointment, ask your customers what service they’re looking for, what they’re wanting to achieve or anything else that might be relevant beforehand. This way your store teams can pair customers up with the most relevant store associates, leading to increased sales as your store associates are better prepared.

4) Customize the experience based on the customer journey

Appointment booking software can be used for a number of different use cases. For instance, department store retailer Brown Thomas use it to allow customers to book one-to-one fashion advice and makeup tutorials, as well as furniture and home furnishing sessions. Samsung use it for customers wanting technical advice or support. Nike allow customers to book an express shopping experience in stores where customers can ask store members to retrieve products while waiting at or near the store entrance.

Brown Thomas allow customers to select the expert they’d like to book an appointment with.

The point is that a decent booking software will allow you to customize the experience based on a number of customer journeys, not just one.

5) Allow customers to book appointments all over the store

Another great way to encourage customers to book appointments is by making it easy to sign up for appointments anywhere in store.

Allow customers to sign up for bookings via your shop front window.

Showcase your appointment booking software in creative and fun ways throughout your store.

Allow customers to book appointments from all over the store by scanning a QR code.

Our recently updated appointment booking guide has some great ideas on how to promote your appointment booking service across channels.

Learn more about how appointment booking software can benefit your stores here.

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