What would you consider to be the ideal experience a customer should have when entering one of your stores?
Besides actually buying something, some of the top factors on your list might include an attractive or elegant shop front that draws them inside, an impressive range of products that are carefully laid out to grab their attention at precisely the right time, and helpful, friendly staff that can answer all the questions they might possibly think to ask.
While it might not always be obvious, over the last few years what attracts consumers into stores, what causes them to stay inside and what keeps them coming back time and time again has changed.
With the evolution and adoption of digital technology, modern consumers have the power to decide how they spend their time; meaning they no longer have to do the mundane tasks they’d rather not, like spending hours waiting in a store before being served.
But that doesn’t mean consumers have stopped loving to shop – or to experience new things. Here are some tips to build long-lasting relationships with your customers by creating great in-store experiences:
Why retailers are investing in experiences
Online shopping might be big right now, but 88% of consumers pre-research online before making a purchase online or in-store – and 92% of first-time visitors to a website do not intend to make a purchase.
The option of buying everything online is there, but most people don’t live their lives like that – nor do they want to. Just as people still enjoy visiting cafes instead of relying on a delivery driver to drop off their latte every morning, so do they enjoy visiting shops to see products in-person, discover new items they didn’t come across online, and learn more about what your brand is all about.
Interestingly, our new survey of over 2,000 consumers in the UK found that 40% of Millennial & Generation Z consumers are adamant about trying before they buy.
To remain relevant, consumer retail brands know they need to expand beyond the traditional confines of their transaction-based models and start creating experiences that their customers crave.
For example, Samsung’s innovative new experience stores have moved beyond focusing solely on their products and services, instead shifting their attention to a range of different avenues that appeal to their customer-base. In these stores, consumers can tag on a wall using the Galaxy S10, create miniature, egg-shaped figurines or selfie collages that they can take home, or brush up on their gaming or DJing skills.
Keep your customer’s eyes on the prize
When a customer visits your store, what is it that you want them to remember? Perhaps you want their attention to be on your new line of products, or the relaxed, family-friendly ambience you’ve worked hard to perfect? Or do you want them to remember having lined up in a queue stretched out the door before they were served by a flustered and overworked member of staff?
Our research shows that poor in-store experiences and long wait times leads to 10% of UK customers walking out of stores – meaning the average store in the UK loses £52,000 every year directly from walkouts and poor in-store experiences, or £15 billion a year in total.
In today’s digital age, where digital queuing systems and appointment booking software is becoming commonplace, customers no longer have the patience to wait around with no end in sight before they’re served by a member of staff.
As an example, Samsung’s stores in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Canada and the Netherlands use Qudini’s digital queuing system and appointment scheduling software to allow customers to set pre-booked times with store staff to receive sales advice, after-sales support and repairs. As a result, the Samsung stores have eliminated queues for services in store and significantly reduced the number of store walkouts.
Experiences develop into relationships
With modern technology the way it is, so long as we’re connected to the internet, we are constantly consuming – and, as a result, the relationship between retailers and consumers has transformed significantly.
While modern consumers might possess the research skills of an investigative journalist, there’s still plenty of evidence to suggest that they want to build authentic relationships with brands – but it’s up to brands to make the first move.
Invest in building authentic relationships with your customers by focusing on the things that interest them. Help them to learn new skills, or discover new products or technologies.
To provide an example, in the aforementioned Samsung Experience Stores, they run a series of workshops that are focused on the needs of their customers, such as coffee-making courses, or travel and photography classes – anything that’s relevant and interesting to their customer-base.
Retailers that can think outside the confines of how things have been done previously will stand to gain the most – after all, a store is just a space within four walls, it’s what you do inside those four walls that counts.
Qudini work closely with retailers to transform their in-store experiences and boost sales, streamline operations and create lasting, valuable customer relationships. To learn more about how we helped Samsung, click here.