Customers have changed, never before have their expectations been so high, their access to shopping so easy. The ability for consumers to gather product information and pricing before entering the store has lead to the frustrating commonality of showrooming, with revenue often ending up in the hands of the online sellers.
Brands and Retailers alike are duty bound to delight at every point in the buyer journey to exceed expectations and build loyalty to keep modern retail relevant.
With ever increasing access to technology for consumers the need for a USP in the retail environment is more essential now than it has ever been. Across the globe, retail aesthetics have transformed dramatically in order to touch all our senses, creating more theatre and a story shoppers connect with; Everyone knows that the more pleasant a shopping experience offered the higher the likelihood of attracting customers and pulling them back into store again.
There’s great evidence of this- from coffee shops popping up in supermarkets, to the temple of the Apple store. Let’s also not forget the huge array of technology available already to make shopping frictionless for the demanding shopper. Huge resources are being allocated to the shopping experience, lifting it way beyond the transaction.
However, brick and mortar retailers and brands alike have been very slow to invest in their secret weapon, something that has been right in front of them the whole time…their sales associates.
All too often the sales associate is overlooked when it comes to keeping the promise of a great experience. Sometimes the willingness to improve digital and AI aspects of retail are seen as more important- we believe that is just not true and not smart business (READ Myagi CEO Tom’s Blog on the Future of the Workforce). Failing to invest in your staff’s training can lead to a knowledge deficiency gap [Sales associates often lacking the essential product knowledge to effectively serve a customer, who in turn have an unprecedented level of knowledge to inform their buying decisions] undermining the exact reason the customer came into store over buying online, to receive great advice from a person. The customer’s interaction with a sales associate has never been more important than it is today.
Experiential Retail; There’s been a lot of talk about it and it is real. There is an emotional experience at the core of the shopper journey, a lot more than a mere transaction. The once distinct lines of offline and online retailing are now merged. The key differentiating factor for the high street is to really understand customers, what they want to FEEL when they shop and making sure they get it at every turn. Staying relevant and engaged with your customer has never been so important.