Customer experience is the backbone of retail success. It’s as simple as that.
Happy customers tend to return, make repeated purchases, and even consider subscribing to your loyalty programs. In other words, customer experience can make or break your retail business.
Having said that, how are you planning to optimize your retail customer experience before the holidays kick in?
Don’t sweat it — you have landed just on the right page! In this extensive guide, we will have an in-depth discussion about some of the most successful strategies that will take your retail customer experience to the next level.
These strategies will help you improve and reimagine retail touchpoints, and more importantly, push you to view them through a customer’s eyes.
So, let’s dive right into it and boost your omnichannel CX strategy!
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What is retail customer experience (CX)?
A retail customer experience or retail CX essentially refers to the overall experience of customers with a retail brand, throughout their buyer journeys, and across online or in-store interactions (emotional and cognitive).
It is both a qualitative and quantitative performance metric that helps retailers determine how smoothly customers can go about their buyer journeys and is often used to improve customer experience.
In other words, retail customer experience is the sum total of positive and negative experiences delivered by a brand across a customer’s touchpoints.
Therefore, it makes excellent sense to improve retail CX. After all, success in retail requires impeccable customer engagement.
Let’s read further to understand how important it is to track retail customer experience as a metric to render a brand successful.
Why is customer retail experience important?
Here are some of the most crucial reasons why retailers need to improve customer experience.
1. Improves customer retention rate
One of the most important reasons why we recommend retailers consider customer experience is to keep their customers from leaving them. The modern-day customers are bombarded with ads left, right, and center.
Moreover, they have the internet and endless alternatives. A thoughtfully planned CX strategy will ensure the customers feel valued at your store, a feeling that is quite rare. A content buyer journey will often lead to higher customer retention rates.
2. Higher loyalty program sign-ups
Customer loyalty programs are driven by positive customer experience. Retailers get to make the most of loyalty programs as these encourage customers to make purchases, earn points, and make more purchases to redeem them!
A personalized customer experience based on data collected through buyers’ touchpoints will push customers to be a part of the loyalty program and strive to climb to higher levels.
The more sign-ups retailers get for their loyalty programs, the more the chances of repeated purchases.
3. Increase sales and CLV
Today’s customers do not shy away from sharing their online purchase experiences no matter how bad they were.
Such bold customers take to social media to spread the word. In other words, retailers open doors for positive word-of-mouth if they deliver positive customer experiences.
Positive customer experiences lead to more sales and even more customer lifetime value. CLV is a result of customer retention and loyalty, which increases with improved customer experiences.
4. Boost brand reputation
Believe it or not, each of your customers is your brand ambassador. Retailers who realize this simple fact find the task of improving customer experiences more meaningful.
It sure is a time-consuming and effort-intensive task, but it comes with an excellent payoff — an improved brand reputation built on highly personalized and consistent customer service.
The moment retailers neglect customer experience, they are setting themselves up for failure in this fiercely competitive market.
5. More customer engagement
The customers engaging in a conversation with you are your biggest assets. These are the customers that really want you to improve as a brand and provide better services.
As you strive to improve retail CX, you will have to consistently solicit customer feedback — giving customers opportunities to speak their hearts.
The process of improving CX allows retailers to work toward answering/resolving customers’ queries and issues, collecting feedback across buyer touchpoints, facilitating self-service experiences, and more.
Top 12 retail customer experience strategies
Now that we are well-acquainted with the definition and importance of retail customer experience, it’s time we discuss some of the top retail customer experience strategies.
1. Increase customer touchpoints across channels
There’s no way around this. Retailers will have to make data-driven decisions to ensure their efforts don’t go to waste.
Improving customer experience involves empowering every member of your team with essential customer data points, which can be collected across touchpoints.
Also, the more data you collect, the better you will strategize. Therefore, we highly recommend increasing the number of touchpoints in the buyer journey across all your online and physical stores.
2. Develop consistent CX across channels
Customers expect consistency from their favorite brands, especially if they function across multiple channels. Not just that, retailers need to be consistently present on these channels too!
Did you know almost 42 percent of consumers expect seamless CX across devices and channels? This key CX strategy will easily put you ahead of the competition and render your retail brand a customer-centric company.
3. Double down on personalization
Pull them with personalization. Customers want retailers to personalize their experiences, especially when they agree to share their personal details and complete surveys.
One of the most effective and profitable CX strategies for implementing personalization is customer loyalty programs.
Providing highly personalized and exclusive experiences by harnessing data related to customers’ past purchases and buying patterns will help you retain 75 percent of the consumers.
4. Leverage AI and machine learning
Technological advancements like artificial intelligence and machine learning have helped derive meaningful insights from customer behavioral data.
AI systems are even capable of reading and collecting information from large quantities of surveys, reviews, and other business-customer interactions.
The technology allows retailers to dive into customers’ preferences and develop a holistic oversight for their upcoming customer experience strategy.
5. Enable predictive analysis
Traditional surveys like CSAT and CES can only take you so far. We highly recommend a more modern approach to CX by introducing predictive analysis — a strategy to assess and leverage historical data, evolving patterns and trends to predict the future.
In this case, retailers can use predictive analysis to analyze evolving customer behaviors and easily maneuver their CX strategies to meet the changing demands.
6. Build a customer loyalty program
Most retail brands have a customer loyalty program to lure customers into becoming members. A customer loyalty program is essentially a scheme that helps retail customers earn points or rewards whenever they make purchases at your store.
Members of the program can be subjected to exclusive offers, benefits, discounts, products, and experiences. Such exclusivity makes customers feel cared for, which eventually leads to improved customer experience.
7. Use the right technology
Almost 55 percent of customers want their brands to rely on advanced technology to provide excellent customer experiences.
With the right technology, retailers will find it easier to have more human interaction with the customers, while ensuring omnichannel shopping experiences for them.
Retailers’ tech inventory should comprise social listening tools, chatbots, experience management software, and other marketing tools.
8. Ensure the human element
Despite adding modern tools and relying on technologies like AI and machine learning for improving CX, retailers should strive to connect with customers on a more personal and human level.
The human element in the buyer journey ensures that customer experiences are more intuitive, which is only possible if you keep collecting customer data across all touchpoints.
The data will help you address specific customer needs — showcasing your retail brands’ intent to listen to customers.
9. Smooth digital experience in physical stores
Modern-day customers have accepted the digital nature of modern shopping. This gives retailers an excellent opportunity to use tech to simplify the customer experience.
Retailers should install digital devices (digital kiosks) in their physical stores to uncomplicate the buying experience.
Moreover, the use of multi-channel sync apps will not only help add consistency to this CX strategy but also make it easier for retailers to fix any technical errors in the digital CX experience.
10. Prioritize customer security
As retailers tend to add more and more tech to their arsenal, the risk of security breaches has significantly increased.
Customers want fast, hassle-free buying experiences and payments too! In this ultra-fast world, retailers should double-check their security measures and ensure solid customer data management.
Not just that, you should consistently reassure customers of the efforts you are taking to secure their experiences at your store. All this adds up to the customers’ experience.
11. Celebrate the most loyal customers on social
Why not? These customers have been with your brand for a long time and are willing to make more and more purchases. Celebrate your most loyal customers on social media to show how much you care about them.
Allowing these customers to create user-generated content for your brand will also help with referrals! Shower them with love in the form of exclusive discounts, free products, special coupons, and experiences.
12. Solicit customer feedback regularly
We already mentioned the need to add predictive analysis to your CX strategy. However, it is important to create a balance between predictive analysis and the traditional approach to seeking customer feedback.
We highly recommend retailers conduct CSAT and CES surveys regularly across channels to ensure active customer engagement, which in return, will provide you with honest feedback, reviews, and opinions to build an impeccable CX strategy.
How to measure retail customer experience?
What are some of the important metrics retailers need to measure in order to improve retail customer experience? We have shortlisted the metrics that can help retailers determine the state of customer experience at their online and offline stores.
Let’s discuss them briefly.
1. Customer experience
We have covered customer satisfaction in some of our previous guides. Retailers can use customer feedback surveys and social media metrics to determine the quality of interactions across channels.
It’s crucial to learn about customers’ experience inside the store. This can be done by determining the CSAT survey score with questions like — “How would you rate your satisfaction with the most recent experience?”
Retailers must have an idea of whether or not customers find the products in their store valuable enough to make a purchase.
We suggest running a CSAT survey with a question similar to — “Was the product you purchased worth the amount you paid?”
Customer Effort Score
It is important for retailers to make the shopping experience in their offline and online stores relatively seamless.
They should determine the Customer Effort Score by asking survey questions like — “How easily did you purchase the product or get your problem resolved?”
Customer engagement is the cornerstone of running a successful retail business. You should know how well and quickly your team connects with a troubled customer online.
Make sure you figure out the total number of customers engaged with or replied to in a time period, also called the Response Rate.
Customers might leave dissatisfied despite you providing them with an excellent solution, especially if you didn’t attend to them quickly enough.
Timing is everything. So ensure your team tracks the average time it takes for your brand to respond to customers.
Are you even providing a complete solution to the customers’ problems? And if you are, how long does it take for you to resolve their issues? Retailers should have an idea of the average time it takes for their team, agents, or customer reps to complete an action.
2. Customer behavior
A good reflection of satisfied customers is the number of times they make purchases from a retail store. The more the number of transactions per month, the higher the chances of customers rating your store for satisfactory CX.
Spend per visit
How much do your customers spend every time they make a transaction at your store? Retailers must realize that customer behavior and patterns can be mapped by tracking the average spend per visit, also called basket size per transaction.
Since retailers have an array of products to sell in their stores, they should ensure proper product segmentation to track revenue by category. Moreover, they need to track how well they perform upselling or cross-selling their products.
3. Business results
Net Promoter Score
We have covered Net Promoter Score in incredible detail in some of our previous posts. So make sure you go through them to use NPS as a profitable tool.
Net Promoter Score is essentially a tool to measure customers’ willingness to recommend your retail brand, product, or service to their network.
Word-of-mouth is the oldest form of marketing, and it still works!
Retailers should ask questions (CSAT survey) encouraging their customers to refer their brands to friends and families — “On a scale of 1 to 10, how willing are you to refer our store to your friends and family?”
Customer acquisition cost
Another factor that helps determine customer experience in retail is Customer Acquisition Cost. This is because retailers should know how much they have to spend to bring in new customers.
A high cost of acquisition can be related to poor retail customer experience.
This is the most dreaded performance metric for all business owners. Customer Churn is essentially the percentage of customers a business loses over a time period. The higher the churn, the lower the customer experience at your retail store.
Customer retention, loyalty, advocacy, and lifetime value are all highly influential factors that impact retail businesses, and luckily, you can improve them by optimizing your existing retail CX strategy.
The idea is to build a holistic retail experience that complements your omnichannel experience strategy.
We believe the set of retail customer experience strategies mentioned in the guide will help you take the right action and make decisions that facilitate a seamless shopping experience for customers.
Lastly, we would suggest retailers frequently touch base with changing customer behaviors and evolving retail industry trends to give their CX a more contemporary makeover. Did you find this guide helpful?
Let us know if you have any questions. Also, don’t forget to check out other informative posts on the blog!