How retailers can improve CX in 2023
Customer experience is a critical factor impacting a customer’s eagerness to purchase, come back to the store, or recommend you to someone in their network. Thus, customer experience can give a serious edge to brands in a crowded retail market.
Today’s customers expect personalized and connected journeys, warm interactions, and in-person browsing experiences that are as efficient as online shopping. According to data compiled by Adobe, some 86% of shoppers are willing to pay higher prices if they know they’ll enjoy a superior shopping experience at a given retailer.
Thus, awesome experiences form a strong bond between customers and businesses. In this post, we will share how retailers can improve their CX to better engage customers, boost sales, and build loyalty.
Create immersive experiences at stores
The emergence of technology has opened up opportunities for retailers to engage and convert customers.
Immersive retail experiences leverage technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, AI, and chatbots to create interactions that encourage buyers to spend more time encountering the product, thus increasing the chances of conversion.
Check out how these brands are way ahead of their competitors because they have invested in offering immersive and engaging experiences to their customers.
- Nike hosts weekly run clubs out of its stores
Nike lives up to its brand promise, “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” The company also asserts that “If you have a body you are an athlete.”
As a powerful manifestation of this brand promise, they host weekly run clubs in stores where they ask customers to run on the treadmill after assessing their fitness levels. They have run analyzers that monitor the shopper’s strides, and based on the data, the Nike salesperson recommends the best shoes to the customer.
- Farfetch leverages digital data to personalize shopping experiences
Farfetch, the luxury fashion brand, delivers hyper-targeted shopping experiences to its shoppers by using data. The “store of the future” uses RFID technology to create customer wish lists based on what they pick up in stores. This allows them to offer personalized brick-and-mortar store experiences.
The brand has invested in augmented reality and easy payment options to add to customer delight. Features like "connected" clothes rails and "smart" mirrors are helping the retail brand deepen its customer-centric brand proposition.
- Glossier improves reach and tests customer demand using pop-up stores
Pop-up stores allow retailers to test-drive their showrooms and gain customer feedback. It also allows retailers to determine if a given local neighborhood is a fit for the brand.
Glossier, primarily a DTC cosmetics brand, used this approach to not just invest in experiential retail but also perform on-the-ground market research for future permanent stores. Though the brand has a handful of flagship stores, it has a network of pop-up locations in cities with a large customer base.
For instance, in 2021 alone, the brand opened three new experiential stores in Seattle, thus catering to the customers in this city. The stores are designed to inspire beauty shoppers to find joy and confidence in their personal beauty style, by trying on different makeup looks in Instagram-ready environments.
Adopt smart carts to save your customers time
Smart carts can boost the customer experience in the store as they allow a cashier-free checkout. This gets rid of the primary pain point in shopping.
These digitized devices not just benefit shoppers but also store owners, who get marketing and data-retrieving opportunities. Technologies like artificial intelligence have empowered retailers to provide shoppers with a frictionless shopping experience.
Shopic, for instance, offers a clip-on device that allows shoppers to upgrade ordinary shopping carts with smart technology powered by artificial intelligence (AI). They can view a running tally of their purchase as they go, review recommended related purchases, ask staff to come help them, and even check out with a credit card without needing to manually scan anything.
Retailers can leverage the technology to display promotional messaging and learn about buyer behavior as they move through the store. Thus, they can engage shoppers when they are in the store, shopping for products, while automating inventory analysis and identifying hot trends in customer attention.
Research from Capgemini found that among shoppers who have visited stores with automation, 59% expressed interest in returning.
Make the store experience inclusive for everyone
Most retail stores and malls are focusing on making their shopping area more inclusive and accessible to shoppers of varying abilities and backgrounds. Yet, there’s a lot that can be done to help them enjoy their shopping time with minimum friction.
Since a considerable portion of shoppers comprises the elderly and disabled individuals, stores need to get more conscious about introducing inclusive experiences in their stores’ everyday operations. This will not just improve their shopping experience but also boost the retailer's brand image.
Check out how these brands are finding innovative ways to cater to all segments of society.
- Morrisons, the supermarket chain, announced “quieter hours” in its stores for customers who could benefit from it. So, for specific hours, the store will not have music, checkout beeps or tannoy announcements to support neuro-inclusivity.
- Spar trained its employees to help shoppers with Alzheimer's. The retail store company is working with the Alzheimer’s Society and the ACS (Association of Convenience Stores) to spread awareness of dementia and ways to support those suffering from it.
Deliver a localized experience
Retail brands like Zara and H&M adopt this strategy to offer awesome in-store experiences to their customers. If you are a Zara customer and visited a store in a different location, you’ll notice that their product collection likely differs from your local outlet.
These fast-fashion giants invest heavily in offering localized experiences unique and relevant to locations. By doing so, they dramatically improve their operational efficiency, add to customer delight, reduce returns, and boost sales.
Seeing the success these brands are getting by implementing this strategy, brands like Sephora, Nike, and Apple are introducing collections most relevant to their local audience.
Offer distinctive loyalty programs
The retail market offers opportunities for repeated high-frequency purchases. Customers are constantly exposed to a vast array of products and want to shop for brands that appeal to them. In such a scenario, introducing retail loyalty programs or reward programs can help retailers drive customer retention, increase referrals, and boost overall revenue.
The State of Brand Loyalty 2022 report by Yotpo reveals that a brand loyalty program influences 86% of US shoppers to go for a repeat purchase. Notice how many brands are crushing it by offering unique loyalty programs that win customers' hearts. Several brands are leveling up their customer experience by introducing impressive loyalty programs.
REI’s loyalty program offers a lifetime membership for a one-time fee. The American retail company offers exciting benefits for a one-time flat fee. This is even for those who don’t consider themselves avid outdoor people. This hugely improves customer loyalty and experience.
Tools like Antavo can help you create, manage, and review loyalty platforms for your retail store. The leading SaaS technology platform allows you to create a rewards dashboard and compute points and tiers, thus optimizing your rewards program.
Its no-code, API-centric platform makes the experience of managing loyalty programs fully customizable.
Great customer experiences, especially in the retail segment, lead to quick and widespread word-of-mouth recommendations, social sharing, and loyal customers. All this translates into more revenue and growth.
The retail industry is abuzz with groundbreaking in-store experiences because each brand is trying hard to make the customer experience their competitive advantage. We are sure that implementing the tactics shared in this post will improve your customer loyalty and bottom line.