In such a fast-changing competitive landscape, it has never been harder for brick and mortar retailers to compete. Competition has never been fiercer and customers have never had so much choice or information at their disposal. With the latest research from Qudini highlighting that service waiting times in retail stores costing the UK economy £3.4 billion a year, brick and mortar store owners need to rethink their business models and identify ways to turn their stores into experiential hubs by identifying recurring pain points which negatively impact revenue such as walkouts, waiting times, poorly organised queues and look to rectify them using best in class in-store technology, such as appointment scheduling software and queue management software, which aligns with the business model.
The ease and comfort of shopping online, as well as the low prices this can offer, means customers are more demanding and more willing to walk away to a competitor than before.
When customers come into your stores, they’re looking for great service and fantastic experiences. Recent studies show when customers have a bad in-store experience, such as a lengthy wait time in a poorly organised queue, 26 per cent will abandon their purchase and leave the store; and the damage continues after they leave the store.
One of the biggest challenges retailers face is that customers are now more than ever, more demanding and impatient. With more options now available to the modern consumer, they are more likely to walk out the door if they have an unsatisfactory experience. Wait times present an insurmountable challenge to retailers looking to convert customers in their stores. Poor wait times can have a detrimental impact to the bottom line of the traditional bricks and mortar retailer.
This impacts retail revenue-generating potential in four critical ways:
1) Service waiting times and walkouts – customers will walk out with or without service
Qudini research found that the average retailer will lose 10% of its footfall due to queues and waiting times for service. With the average retailer’s qualified footfall at 1,100 per month, and the national average spend of a retail customer at £39.72 per visit, and a total of 290,000 retailers in the UK; this means that UK retailers in aggregate lose a total of £15 billion in potential sales each year due to walkouts from their stores. Qudini’s research goes on to highlight that whilst some customers might turn to competitor stores or the internet to continue their purchase, on average 26% of customers will discontinue their purchase journey entirely, costing the UK economy approximately £3.4 billion in potential revenue.
2) Lost loyalty – they often won’t return
After walking out on a retailer, most customers won’t return – 55% of customers have switched to another company after a poor experience. This has impacted retailers to their financial detriment with lost sales accounting to £8.1 billion of sales that just one more visit would have brought in.
3) Word of mouth – most will tell their friends
According to Zendesk, 54% of customers share bad experiences with more than five people. Using a hypothesis, if 60% of those who listen to them visited the retailer in question one more time, this would amount to another £4.7 billion of revenue.
4) Social Media – many will share their experience on social media
With 217 million active users on Twitter and 1.86 billion monthly active users on Facebook, social media can compound the issue of poor customer experience, with a significant impact on revenue, reputation and more.
Invest in your stores and enhance the customer experience
Poor in-store experiences can have a negative impact on customers retention and can lead to negative social media reviews, customer walkouts and propensity to purchase products from competitor stores. To negate this, retailers need to invest in their stores and look at enhancing the customer journey.
Retailers can significantly reduce walkouts from their stores by better greeting customers at their point of entry and through managing their expectations around their waiting times until service. Just doing this makes customers significantly more likely to stay in store. This is because they’re no longer nervous about losing their place, they can use their wait time to enjoy themselves within the store and psychologically, the wait just feels shorter when it has a definite end-point. It’s similar to when you’re waiting for a bus or a tube and there’s no dot matrix billboard stating when the next train is coming. The wait always feels so much longer when it’s indefinite and unclear.
Our latest white paper looks to provide an insight into the existing challenges that brick-and-mortar retailers face in trying to overcome increasing operational costs, efficiencies and customer touch points such as social media and identifying ways of how to overcome them.
To find out how you can rethink your in-store customer experience and transform your customer experience, download our latest white paper.