In today’s world, customers have almost endless options when it comes to where they want to shop and how they want to interact with a brand. This means stiff competition for retailers, especially for traditional brick and mortar stores competing against online retail giants. Come on, who doesn’t want to do their shopping in pajamas, while eating a bowl of chips and watching Netflix? That being said, the battle isn’t lost yet and people do still enjoy shopping in a physical store, especially ones that work at making the experience exceptional.
Here are some tips to differentiate yourself from the online experience and to keep customers coming in your door:
Before you can even think about creating an exceptional customer experience, you need to make sure that customers are actually finding you so that they can have an experience. Whether or not someone actually purchases an item online, they generally start their search there. Invest in improving your search results for terms relevant to your products and make sure that you have a good website where clients can get the information they need on your products, your location, your hours etc. Your website is often a client’s first interaction with you – make sure it’s a good one.
Create a Community.
Differentiate yourself from your competition by becoming the local authority or hub for the products you sell. If you sell bikes, start a weekly riding club, sponsor a charity biking event, do a demo or send a speaker to events that target your clientele. Start a blog or a YouTube account offering tips and other interesting info. The more community you can build with your customers, the more they will come back and the more they will refer you. The more fun you’ll have too.
Empower and Arm Your Staff.
Employees have the potential to be your biggest differentiator from an online competitor. Who wants to wait on hold with customer service for an hour, or pay for shipping to return an item that was wrong in the first place? Turn your employees into technology wielding, customer service ninjas. Give them the power to make quick decisions regarding discounts, taking returns and addressing customer complaints. Arm them with tools that allow them to quickly check pricing, inventory, upcoming specials and more as they interact with customers.
Listen and Take Feedback.
Don’t forget the power of face to face interaction. In a physical store, you have the ability to actually meet your customers in person and hear what they have to say. Talk to your customers and find out what they like and don’t like, ask for feedback in person or offer a reward for completing an online survey. Watch for those who are unhappy or unsatisfied and try to rectify the situation. We all know that an unhappy customer will tell far more people about their experience than a happy one. Don’t miss an opportunity to turn a poor experience into a great one.
Make it Memorable.
At some point along the customer’s journey, from finding your website to walking out your door, make sure that they FEEL something. It might be telling them the story behind your business, or peaking their curiosity with a well-designed window display, or offering them a coffee while they’re in the store. Whatever IT is, make sure that it creates a feeling or experience that they will remember.
If you can master even a few of these tips, you might just prompt your customers to get off their couches, out of their desks, away from their computers and return to your store, over and over. Keep in mind that you have weapons unavailable to the online world and use them to your advantage. Make sure you don’t miss Part Two of this article, when we’ll look at how you can also add strategies from online retailers to your arsenal.
If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss getting the right small business insurance or insurance for personal risk management, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!