The face of retail is changing. With constantly increasing competition from eCommerce websites and shoppers able to buy from their mobile devices any time they want, it’s become more and more challenging simply to get customers into your store – not to mention keeping them there.
With that in mind, below are some ideas and ways you can attract more customers and boost your retail sales.
How to Boost Customer Experience and Sales
Open a Store Within a Store
I recently visited a coffeehouse that devoted part of its space to a small bookstore, owned by a separate entrepreneur. The same tactic can work for many types of retail products.
For example, the owner of a women’s clothing boutique could rent some space to a jewelry designer. Renting space provides you with some steady income, while the additional product line can draw different customers who may shop at your store as well.
Sell Food or Beverages
This area can be a little tricky, because depending on what you sell, you may not want the potential disaster of food and drink spilling on your wares.
However, if you plan carefully and choose to sell foods with minimum mess potential, refreshments can be a way to keep shoppers in your store longer. For instance, if you own a children’s toy store, a coffee cart to keep the parents’ spirits up while kids play could be a great idea.
Set Up a Vending Machine
Search online and you’ll find many services that provide vending machines to be installed in local businesses. Vending machines don’t just sell candy anymore. These days, you can find vending machines that sell everything from cosmetics to consumer electronics.
Look for a product that’s complementary to yours. Place the vending machine where it can be seen from your store window to draw in curious customers.
Offer In-Store Charging Stations
Keep customers in your store longer by providing free charging stations for their mobile devices. This is also a great way to prevent impatient companions (men) from dragging shoppers out of the store. If Steve discovers he can charge his phone while Sue browses, he’s likely to be much more patient.
Poetry readings, book signings, puppet shows or musical performances by local bands or singers – depending on what you sell and who your target customer is, there are many types of entertainment you can provide.
Hosting entertainment is also a good way to get publicity in local publications or on community websites that might not normally write about a retail store. Promote a weekly entertainment event, and you could find a whole new audience of shoppers.
Try a Pop-up Shop
Opening a temporary, secondary space for a limited time is a great way to test new markets. If you’re considering opening a second location in a nearby town, you can test the waters with a pop-up shop to see if consumers in that area like what you’re selling before committing to renting a full-on retail store.
Pop-up shops also enable you to take advantage of seasonal marketing opportunities, test new product lines and benefit from the excitement of a limited-time concept. Pop-up shops can be set up in empty retail spaces. But you can also use the pop-up concept in a slightly different way by opening a kiosk or cart in a local mall, shopping center or busy Main Street retail zone. Make sure your pop-up shop succeeds by staffing it with an experienced and trusted employee.
What creative retail ideas have you tried in your store to attract more customers and boost customer experience?
Coffee Image via Shutterstock
In this age, you really need to keep churning out new ideas on how to sell some products and services. This generation of consumers always need some fresh experiences.
Randy E. Davidson
Improving the customer experience has nothing to do with offering me a cup of coffee or allowing me to charge my mobile device when shopping in a store. Three key elements of improving the customer experience are:
1. Seamless Omni-Channel Experience. 67% of customer are part way through the buying process before they even enter a retail store. Therefore providing customers with a seamless experience between all shopping channels (store, web, call centre, etc.) for making their purchase, providing options for fulfillment like ship to home, pickup in store or if an item is not available in a store providing the ability to find it in another store and have it shipped (at no charge) to their home, reserved in another store or pickup at a later date. Providing seamless returns and exchanges from any channel regardless of which channel the purchase was made from.
2. Customer Recognition. Knowing your customers, their buying habits and preferences and recognizing them as a loyal customer. This is more than just a rewards point program. It’s about recognizing them for their brand loyalty and providing them with rewards and benefits. This also includes providing them with relevant and targeted promotions.
3. Good Ole Fashioned Customer Service. Ensuring the staff in the store are accessible, attentive and knowledgeable.
After I’ve had a great experience shopping I’ll meet my friends or family at the coffee shop for an espresso or the pub for a pint and some live jazz.
Randy E. Davidson
Retail Industry Professional and Thought Leader
For eCommerce site I think personalized marketing is also one of the best ways to treat your customer well and make them feel special.