Customer Experience Strategy
In order to stay competitive in the years ahead, retailers must connect with their customers on a much deeper level than just their products. The days are gone where retailers could solely focus on merchandise. Today, customers crave a fully formed experience – one that engages with them personally, digitally, and one that they connect with, remember, and share with others. The overall retail experience is becoming a major differentiator for customers. According to Gartner research, 89% of companies now expect to compete mostly based on customer experience up from 36% just four years ago.
From the moment customers walk through the door, they want a feel good, memorable, and personalized experience. Otherwise, in today’s competitive retail landscape, getting people back in the door can be very difficult. The first step is to deeply understand your customers.
Understanding Your Customers
We can guess what our customers want, but ultimately you must ask directly. Whether you formally survey or have informal conversations with customers, it is critical to make sure that you leave your bias at the door and really listen to what they have to say. Being 100% honest about what drives business is a critical step for retailers. The customer is what really drives all decision making – from inventory to merchandising to marketing.
The good news is that today, POS software acts as the engine for all retail store operations especially customer management. It is more economical than ever for all retailers to have the tools and features they need to collect, analyze and act on customer data. This is the intelligence you need to know in order to enhance the customer buying behavior and perpetuate a repetitive and positive customer lifecycle.
Measuring the Customer Experience
How do you evaluate and measure the customer experience in your store? In their annual “Customer Experience Index, ” Forrester surveyed over 118,000 U.S. adult consumers, examining 6 factors when measuring the “best of the best” retailers in customer experience. Understanding how to measure the customer experience can provide a simple framework for developing your customer strategy. The key benchmarks for measuring the retail customer experience include:
- Effectiveness: How much value your in-store experience delivers to customers.
- Ease: How easy is it to interact with your store throughout the customer journey.
- Emotion: How good customers feel about their interactions with your store.
- Retention: The likelihood of repeat business.
- Enrichment: The level to which customers will buy additional products and services.
- Advocacy: Whether or not customers will share their experience organically through media or word of mouth.
Taking a baseline measurement for each of these factors, on a scale of 1-10, will help you benchmark where you are today. Using these criteria you can begin to focus on a customer experience plan that addresses each of these measurements to create operational, sales and marketing programs/processes that align with your overall strategy.
At the end of the day, implementing a customer experience strategy is an important step in ensuring success for retailers. Partnering with the Stores Consulting Group will ensure you have the right tools in place to execute on this strategy.