Exceeding Customer Retail Expectations
There are lots of things that retailers can do to compete with online giants but one of the most substantial ways that they can be superior is via customer experience. When you buy something from Amazon, you click a few buttons and your product shows up a few days later. Great. But what if today’s customer wants a little more? To be successful in this, rather than selling them a product they can get from a few different locations, you need to sell the experience surrounding it.
Luckily, there are 7 major ways that you can provide a superior experience to help attract and keep more customers.
- Create a cycle of success for your employees. Good customer service comes from well-trained, content, and confident employees - regardless of department. Your business operations do not exist in a silo, so problems in your accounting department will eventually result in problems for your customers, who then will be spending more time with your customer service team. One major way to do so is by centralizing all necessary business functions via an ERP that is designed for retail in particular.
- Have incredible products - and make sure they are available. How you select them and their quantity should derive heavily from your business intelligence, social monitoring and other similar efforts to ensure that you have the products your customers want.
- Listen to your customers. In the era of social media, email, smartphones, chatbots, and just about every other imaginable method available for customer conversation, there’s really no excuse for not knowing what’s actually going on with your buyers. But don’t just ask for their opinions and ignore them, really listen. Listening to your customer doesn’t just mean responding to their comments and questions, but also getting a ‘pulse check’ on how your brand is viewed as a whole - and whether or not your branding and marketing efforts are sending the right message.
To make the collection of this data a bit easier, a business intelligence solution such as Retail Analytics can be connected to your ERP so that you can seamlessly generate key reports about every aspect of your customer’s journey. This means that you will have the ability to focus on the specifics of their individual experiences while also getting a greater overall view of how your operations are supporting it.
Collecting and organizing all of this information may seem daunting, but trust us, it is well worth it in the end.
- If you decide that an ERP is the way to go for your data management and organization, choosing the right partner to help the implementation and any related tasks is essential. Businesses can be intimidated by the transition process, but by having the right partner the risk of data loss or disruption is minimized greatly. They can also become a valuable resource for your employees while they are getting accustomed to the new system. An added bonus? The right partner can also help you to save money by making the most of any existing IT infrastructure, like a SQL server, that you already have in place.
- Be where your customers are! There are tons of opportunities to personalize the experience for your customers, ranging from in-store promotions sent straight to their device (did you know that 35% of global customers use their phones in-store to search for discounts or coupons? ), to having multichannel customer service, the idea is to meet the customer at their preferred buying location and to create a buying experience from start to finish that is suited to their tastes.
- Remember that it doesn’t stop with the sale. An existing customer that you have is 50% more likely to try a new product and 31% more likely to spend more when compared with totally new customers . The other side of the coin is that your customers can become the biggest advocates for your brand. Think about it: who are you more likely to listen to about a product? A commercial on TV or your best friend who has already purchased the item you are considering? Now imagine another scenario where a customer has bought your product and your retail brand takes the time to create a positive aftersales environment that encourages interaction and makes getting assistance easy.
- Be consistent. This means in your branding, policies, product quality, pricing, and more. If your website looks different from your mobile app and your customer service team members are all saying different things, it’s not only confusing for your customers but it’s messy for your operations. Set your standards, expectations, and color scheme from the beginning be sure to stick with it. Having a single ‘dashboard’ that allows you access to your website, mobile app, social networks and other branded forms of communication can help to ensure this consistency.
Customers might be more sophisticated and have more access to information than ever before, but that only means that retailers have more opportunities to amaze and engage their buyers. By following these essential seven processes, you can be sure that the results will make the effort necessary completely worth it.
You may have noticed that there is one thing that remains the same across all of these points: they are based around the customer experience. The reality of retail today is that competing in price and selection with giants like Amazon is impossible. However, smaller retailers do have the major advantage of being able to provide a customer experience that goes above and beyond what Amazon can achieve and what will be the driving force behind the success of your business for years to come.
Interested in getting the right tools and tips to start enabling your new customer experience strategy? Make sure to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your complimentary consultation.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Systems Limited, or any other entity related to Systems Limited.