“The customer is always right” is a saying that still rings true. Arguably even more so today, when customers can voice their opinions about a company via online reviews. Not to mention, social media has opened up an entirely new space for brands to be vetted.
While the pandemic led to an increase in online shopping, customers are starting to return to stores to make purchases. That means having a top-notch in-store customer experience is essential to building your company’s business.
As a business owner, you may think you know what your customers want. However, no matter how great your store is, you’re still competing with the convenience of online shopping. Because of this, customers expect stores to have certain amenities in place. If you want your store to be filled with returning customers, read on to learn four ways to enhance your in-store customer experience.
1. Offer Wi-Fi
To put your store on par with online shopping, it’s important to offer Wi-Fi. This allows customers entering the store to feel as if they are at home. It also communicates to customers that you want them to stay awhile, not rush them out of the door. In turn, this evokes a positive feeling as customers feel welcomed and invited in. The vast majority of your customers will arrive phone in hand, so adopt a small business Wi-Fi solution that provides the connectivity they expect.
Once you have Wi-Fi for your business, you can also track who is using it. Whether it’s your employees or your customers, you’ll be able to monitor when people are using the service. This helps you keep tabs on store traffic and manage how much time your employees spend scrolling on their phones. Display your Wi-Fi password in a prominent location near the entrance so customers know you are offering it.
2. Provide Unique or Special Services
Depending on your business, you may be able to provide in-store services to entice customers to visit. For example, if you sell kitchen or home items, you could offer free knife sharpening with each purchase. Or if you sell clothes, perhaps you can offer basic in-store tailoring like Lululemon and Nordstrom. Personalized monogramming is another service that will set your store apart from others. These complimentary services provide a reason for customers to visit your store instead of shopping online.
To get the most out of the services you provide, you need to market them. You might send out a marketing email to your customers announcing your new service. You can also use social media to spread the news. Educating your employees about these services and relaying this information to in-store customers will also help get the word out.
3. Be Family-Friendly and Accessible to All
You want everyone who walks into your store to feel welcome. This includes a parent with young kids, an older individual in a wheelchair, or someone with special needs. Being mindful of who is entering your store and how can make a big impact. It shows your store cares and is conscious of the customer’s entire experience. And it helps create a gracious environment that may put your customer at ease, allowing them to focus on shopping.
Making your store family-friendly and accessible might mean adjusting your store’s layout. If your store entrance has steps, you’ll need to add a ramp. Adding a small play area for young children will allow parents to shop on their own with little distraction. Keeping aisles clear gives space to those that require extra room to move around. These types of adjustments, while they may be small, show that you prioritize inclusivity and accessibility for everyone.
4. Host an Event
After more than two years spent at home, everyone is craving in-person events. Hosting events at your store is one distinctive way to capture people’s attention. You might focus these events around a new product launch, holiday, or store anniversary. Creating a particular vibe or feeling can go as far as your imagination. You could even collaborate with other brands for an exclusive pop-up, which may draw more customers to your retail location.
To market your event, social media will be your best friend. Start posting about your event early to give customers enough notice to plan ahead and visit your store. You might create a post teasing the new product you’re launching or a special discount for customers who attend. This sense of surprise can build genuine excitement around your business and thus your brand as a whole.
Upping Your CX Quotient
Customers are demanding more and more every day. This is especially true as physical stores are competing with the convenience of online shopping. To meet your customers where they are, you will want to enhance your in-store experience. Small changes can make a big impact, showing that you care about your loyal and new customers.
You don’t need to implement all of these changes overnight. Start small, maybe by offering Wi-Fi and planning an event for a future date. Be sure to let your employees know why you are making these changes. The more you communicate with your employees and your customers, the more likely you are to see positive results.
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