Creating the Ideal Customer Experience in Your Store

ideal customer experience

Have you heard of “total retail clienting?” I hadn’t either until I read the PWC whitepaper, “Taking the Total Retail Customer Experience to the Next Level.” 

Total retail clienting is technology that uses a mix of CRM, social media and data analytics to deliver real-time information about each customer to retail salespeople before the sale. PWC offers total retail clienting tools to help big retailers deliver a great experience to their customers, no matter how many locations they have.

You may be asking, “What does this have to do with my retail store?” While PWC’s retail clienting solution is clearly more than small business owners need or can afford, what I found fascinating about it is the product is meant to help big retailers recreate:

“…a time when local shopkeepers knew each and every customer who visited their stores. They knew their likes and dislikes. They knew what they needed, when they needed it.”

In other words, big retailers are turning to technology to help them act more like small retailers.

PWC says the rise of online retailing, social media and mobile technologies are driving the need for total retail clienting by enabling retail shoppers to shop 24/7 wherever they are, get more information than ever before about products they’re considering, and share their retail experiences with their networks instantly.

What It Boils Down To Is This

To create the ideal customer experience and make the sale in-store, retail salespeople are more important than ever before. PWC says:

“Friendly, helpful sales and service associates are vital to creating … moments of truth [that] keep [customers] coming back for more.”

How can you help your frontline salespeople create a total retail clienting experience?

Hire Right

Successful retailing today starts with hiring salespeople who truly like engaging with and helping people—not hiding out in the stockroom or texting all day.

Make Sure Your Employees Have the Information They Need

Hold regular meetings to keep employees up-to-date on trends in your industry, what products are in stock and when new shipments of out-of-stock items will come in.

Investigate Loyalty Management and Rewards Tools

Loyalty apps like LoyalBlocks, Belly and Perka do more than reward customers—they also collect detailed information about customer purchasing history, enable mobile marketing and make it easy to send your customers alerts and emails about products they’d be interested in. Some can even alert you when a loyal customer walks in the door and tell you the person’s name so you can greet them!

Provide the Equipment Needed to Create a Satisfying Sales Experience

Who doesn’t hate waiting in line? Enable salespeople to check out customers anywhere by providing tablets or smartphones they can use to take mobile payments. Put tablets in-store for customers to use to look up detailed info about products they’re debating between.

Create Add-On Services Employees Can Sell

This could include extended warranties or service contracts—or you can even offer to provide small repairs for free or very low cost. This can provide a sense of security and confidence the customer won’t get from buying the product online (and knowing that if something goes wrong, they’ll have to ship it somewhere to be repaired and deal with lots of hassle).

Offer Information and Extras

A friend of mine recently visited a local camera store that’s been in business for decades. After comparing products in-store, she knew she could get the camera she wanted cheaper online—but after finding out the store offered customers free photography classes with a camera purchase, she decided to buy from the retailer. You can offer freebies (like in-store poetry readings at a bookstore), freebies with purchase (like the example above) or even charge extra if what you provide is valuable enough (such as makeup lessons at a beauty supply store or cooking classes at a gourmet food store.)

How do you create a total retail experience at your store?

Shopping Photo via Shutterstock

Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.