The following excerpt is from the article 6 Things Customers Want from Retail Stores and How You Can Deliver written by Rieva Lesonsky, and published on SmallBizTrends.com. Check out her full list for even more ideas on how to offer an excellent customer experience.
Personalized Customer Service
Customers want in-person service they can’t get online. This is crucial to differentiating your store from the one-dimensional online shopping experience.
What to do: Make sure your salespeople are well trained in customer service and empowered to make the customer experience outstanding. Hire for personality. You can teach someone to work a cash register, but you can’t teach “people skills.”
A Sensory Experience
Retail locations that are visually attractive and appealing are a big draw. Sensory experiences can take opposite forms. If your target market is kids or teens, you might want sensory overload with lots of excitement. If it’s moms, you might want a restful, relaxing escape from the stress of daily life.
What to do: Look at your store with a critical eye to how it looks, sounds, even smells. Something as simple as playing the right music or adding comfortable chairs where customers’ friends can relax while they shop can make a huge difference in how much time customers spend with you.
Fun and Entertainment
Customers no longer have to go to stores to buy, so you have to work harder. It’s always been the case that retail is competing for discretionary dollars, but today it’s even clearer that your store is competing with other leisure activities like going to a park, museum or sporting event.
What to do: Hold events that make your store a fun, exciting gathering place. A cosmetics boutique could hold makeover sessions; a children’s bookstore can host readings; a gourmet food shop can have regular tastings.
A Curated Experience
Buying online is convenient, but can also lead to overload, as anyone who’s ever shopped for shoes on Zappos.com can attest. “Consumers often feel overwhelmed by the abundance [of choices] offered online and want retailers to curate,” the report states.
What to do: You can’t compete with Zappos or Walmart, so don’t even try. Instead, focus on creating a carefully curated experience offering the best of the best. Use window and store displays to highlight your selections and emphasize your picks (“Staff Favorites” or “Favorite Mother’s Day Gifts”). Your employees must act as curators too, being able to advise customers on their purchases and knowledgeable about your stock.