How good is your in-store experience?
It seems barely a week goes by without news from across Europe of high street stores closing and retailers suffering – but is this the true reality for the industry?
According to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and high street analysts the Local Data Company (LDC), the UK saw 16 stores close every single day in the first half of 2019, with only 9 a day opening. Major brands are closing branches, thousands of jobs have been lost and some of the biggest names in retail have grouped together to lobby the UK government for changes in legislation – specifically to lower the business rates they have to pay.
It paints a bleak picture but the reality is actually much brighter and more positive. Yes, it’s a challenging time for brands with bricks and mortar stores but there are also countless success stories of innovative, forward-thinking brands who have transformed their in-store experience and are going from strength to strength.
With the likes of Daniel Wellington, Happy Socks, Aesop and Eytys leading the way, there’s a clear model in place other retailers can follow. Back in 2017, 44% of retailers in the UK, US, Japan and Germany said improving the in-store experience was their top priority but many have been slow to change and evolve.
Here’s five tips to help you transform your in-store experience and ensure success now, and into the future:
1. Know who you are…and what makes you different
The most successful retailers have a clear, concise and compelling vision of who and what they are. They are incredibly clear on who their consumer is, what their speciality is and what their product offering is. They know what sets them apart, what makes them different and why people choose them.
Getting this right is the foundation of your success. By being able to clearly articulate your purpose and your unique offering, you’ll be more appealing to both consumers and to your employees – who are another key piece in the jigsaw of transforming your in-store experience.
Ask yourself who you are, what you do, who you do it for and why you do it. Once you have the answer to these questions, your journey towards creating a first-class in-store experience really begins.
2. Turn your associates into storytellers
As mentioned above, your employees are the secret ingredient in your recipe for success. The emphasis of what your store associates are there to do is fundamentally changing. They are no longer there to simply operate cash registers and ensure the store looks pretty. They are your ambassadors, storytellers and the guides for your customers.
Think of it this way, your customer is the hero in your story – like Luke Skywalker. This means your employees are Yoda (only not so green and with less wrinkles). They guide the hero, show them the way and help them step into the light (or at least purchase the goods they were looking for). Consumers are increasingly savvy and have growing expectations to match. The brands who succeed are the ones who don’t just meet these expectations but exceed them. And they do this by having employees who lead the way.
3. Look after your employees
If your employees are the key to your success, then it goes without saying that you need to look after them. Happy employees are more productive, deliver a better service, are more loyal, take less sick days and make your business more profitable.
Keeping them engaged by having a strong rewards and recognition programme, looking after their health and wellbeing, having great communication, giving them flexibility over the shifts they work and making your company an amazing place to work will help you build a bulletproof business.
4. Give your customers what they want
After a positive customer experience, 69% of people would recommend the business and 50% would return to buy again. So give your customers what they want! Whether it’s a self checkout option, hands on help from your associates or minimum fuss transactions, you need to be able to give your customers what they want, when they want it.
Of course, to do this, you need to know who your customers are and what they want – you can find out more about the different types of customer here.
5. Use technology to help
The last decade has seen a huge transformation in retail with the rise of e-commerce and the ways in which business can reach and engage with their customers. It’s when this is connected with bricks and mortar stores that retail businesses can realise their true potential.
You need to be able to sell anywhere and fulfill everywhere. Systems like Sitoo help you do this. Omnichannel helps you unlock efficiency as well as giving you the ability to provide an amazing in store service that makes life easy for consumers.
As Tim Larcombe, Sitoo MD, says: “Where Sitoo fits in is as the missing piece of the jigsaw that allows the different elements of a retail business to be connected and empowers brands to deliver a compelling experience that generates sales and ensures the consumer leaves with a smile on their face. Sitoo enables the two worlds of bricks and mortar and ecommerce to join up and make sure that clear, concise, compelling proposition is followed right the way through to the finish line.”
If you’re looking to stay ahead of the competition and embrace the future of retail today by meeting the needs of all your customers then we’d love to help you do it. Sitoo’s can help you transform your in-store experience, enabling you to seamlessly meet the needs of all your customers.
If you’d like a demo of any of our products then please get in touch and we’d love to show you what the future of retail looks like.