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How to Create the Ultimate Shopping Experience

by Sinke Car

The way in which we shop is changing.  It’s been changing for quite some time now.  Technology has long been helping the retail industry to shape customer experience in new and exciting ways.

Even the bigger retailers among us need to think deeply about how they appeal to the broader market.  What is the ultimate modern shopping experience?  It’s time to ask yourself a few questions.  For example:

  • How can I improve my customers’ experience in-store?
  • How can I link their online and offline experiences?
  • How can I leave a lasting positive impression and keep buyers coming back for more?

To craft the ultimate experience, you’re going to need to see things from the shopper’s perspective.  It’s all about adding value – and helping to convince your market that you are the best at what you do.

In this guide, we’ll look at some brilliant practical ideas you can look at getting started with right away.


Create Inspiration

People are inspired to buy things.  They should be motivated to buy from you, and no one else.  Are you doing enough in that regard?  It may require more than a little bit of basic marketing.

You need to actively show your customers how their lives could be changed for the better with your products.  Here are some great ways you could do that:

  • Offer in-store demonstrations of various gadgets.
  • Set up a hands-on station where customers can try your.
  • Get creative with your marketing.
  • You could also use genuine case studies.

A great way to create inspiration and loyalty, too, is to be unique.  Consider a couple of real-life examples:

  • In the UK, Lush, the popular vegan beauty and bath store, is well-known for their hands-on approach to customer service, with attentive staff and free product demonstrations.
  • Disney, too, as a colossal brand, has revamped its in-store approach. Their fresh focus on installing family-friendly interactive units has helped to capture the sense of wonder the brand is famous for.


Reward Your Customers

Modern shoppers don’t just want access to the goods they want.  They want them at the best prices.  They want to know why they should shop with you, and not the competition.  How are you going to inspire loyalty, and on a long-term basis?  Here are some ideas you could put into practice.

  • An obvious first step to take is to start a loyalty scheme. Statistics show that you could generate up to 18% more revenue from cardholders than those who don’t shop regularly.  What’s more, up to 73% of consumers believe this is an effective way to engage consumer loyalty.
  • You could give loyal customers the chance to sample new products and services first. You may even charge a small fee to do so.  People like to feel special!
  • One reward scheme, similar to the Flying Club at Virgin Atlantic, could work in tiers. The more your customers spend, the bigger the rewards may be.  They could earn exclusive VIP product access, money off items, and more.

Bear in mind, too, that it could cost your business up to 25x more to find new customers than to encourage repeat shoppers.  The math is simple – it pays to re-engage and reward.


Blend the Online and Offline

Is your online service communicating with your physical storefront?  People want to be able to see what you have on offer, not just in-store, but online, too.  They want to be able to add things to their online basket and to pick them up when they next visit you.  That is part of what is called an omnichannel approach.

Statistics show that up to 73% of customers use multiple channels while shopping.  That means only a small fraction of people now shop exclusively in store, or online.  Most are using both avenues.

  • You could take advantage of this by offering in-store discounts via online accounts.
  • Your store shoppers might sign up for an online account for exclusive deals.
  • The development of an app or e-commerce platform might help you make in-store shopping easier. For example, you could allow customers to find stock on-app and buy it in-store.  Plenty of big brands, such as Argos in the UK, have been supporting customers in this way for years.

The lines between online and offline are blurring, and while the physical storefront may be under threat of change, it makes sense to embrace it.


Feedback and Follow Up

Everyone likes sharing an opinion.  Therefore, it makes sense to encourage feedback actively.

You could ask for feedback via social media, email, or SMS.  While you may not think SMS to be the most attractive of these options, it holds considerable engagement value.  It’s all thanks to SMS’ incredible feedback response rate, which has been well-documented.  Email engagement is valuable, too, as many people have specific accounts set up for feedback and promotional mail.

Let’s look at IKEA, the popular furniture outlet.  Having struggled at post-shopping engagement with its customers, the brand was able to increase its response rate from up to 9% through email to up to 15% through SMS.

TextMagic says that 82% of text messages are read within minutes of them being received. That’s mostly due to people having their smartphones with them at all times.

However, never discount the power of social media.  Up to 67% of shoppers now go directly to Facebook or Twitter for problem resolution.  That figure is only likely to rise as time goes on.  People like using social media to give feedback as it’s transparent.  Brands appear keener, too, to resolve problems if they are out in the open.  The effect that may have on brand reputation can seem scary, but when handled well, it can make all the positive difference.

Keep social media channels active, and reach out to customers via email and text.  They may be more likely to open SMS than email, but it never hurts to have all bases covered.  Make yourself known.


The Bottom Line

So, what is the ultimate shopping experience?

Even some of the bigger brands out there have completely revamped the way they engage with shoppers.  Modern shopping experiences leave lasting impressions.  Are you doing enough to imprint positively on your customers’ minds?

The bottom line is simple.  Consider the points discussed above, and work with your customers to drive a unique, positive experience that people will want to talk about.