Creating the best shopping experience is always at the front of retailers’ minds. The better the experience, the longer a customer will spend in your store and the more they'll buy. If they had a great experience, they are also more likely to return, to browse and buy again. So, what are some ways to create an atmosphere and in-store experience that turns browsers into buyers?
It Starts With Understanding Your Customers
Forget the common question, “Can I help you?" Converse with customers in ways that will boost their in-store experience. If they just examined an item closely or tried on an article of clothing, ask what they liked and disliked about it, and use that to make similar or alternative suggestions. Proactively helpful sales associates and the ability to touch and try products are what keeps customers shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.
Humanize your promotions and in-store ambiance. Take last-minute advantage of today’s weather with a “flash sale” on rain or snow boots, or BOGO on flip-flops. Serve up hot chocolate or iced tea to warm or refresh weather-weary shoppers. Want to really wow them? Greet them at the door with that beverage in hand — and maybe a cookie, too. It’s not only welcoming, it encourages people to stay longer and browse.
Two more ideas that make it easy for shoppers to stick around: perfectly clean restrooms and a space for disinterested kids or spouses to hang out. Eliminating distractions enables customers to focus more intently (and longer) on your merchandise.
Make Smart Use of Technology
Smartphones are ubiquitous these days, and almost 90% of shoppers use them while in-store. So, tempt them with location-based promotions. And consider offering smartphone-based self-checkout.
Interactive kiosks are versatile tools that support and enhance every stage of your customer’s purchasing journey from initial awareness, learning about products, and discovering preferences to making that final decision to buy. You can use them in ways that appeal to any level of customer tech-savviness.
Technology also enables you to learn more about shopping habits in your store. For decades, retailers have compared daily sales year to year, but now there is so much more relevant, valuable data you can glean.
Them an Immersive Experience
Lighting, color, and scent all dramatically affect your store’s ambiance and your customer’s overall shopping experience. Try to appeal to all five senses, if you can. But remember that, most of all, people want to touch and try your merchandise. Hands-on or otherwise interactive experiences are the most engaging because they have multi-sensory appeal and make it easy for shoppers to personally relate to products. And shoppers who pick up an item are more likely to buy it.
In-store events and other opportunities to fully engage also strengthen your brand in the eyes of your customers. That’s harder to quantify than cash register sales, but it can dramatically affect your store’s future.
So, whether you host a flash sale, use interactive kiosks, or host in-store events, it's important that you create an in-store experience that keeps your customers wanting more. Then, the customers who simply browsed the aisle will turn into buyers and brand supporters.