Today's retail environment means that you must prioritize the in store customer experience. You're not just competing against other stores anymore. You're competing against entirely different modes of shopping. People still value going to a physical location – if that location values them.
Best retail experience examples and practices for stellar customer service include:
Everything is faster than it used to be. We have access to information faster. We process it faster because so much more information is coming in. We reach conclusions faster so that we can do all that processing. As we teach ourselves to do this in media and online, we increasingly embrace doing this in our lives. Where before a customer might wait five minutes, such a delay is unacceptable today.
Make sure that staff is spread out through your store to immediately engage a customer. Being huddled up will make customers feel unwanted and delay staff noticing them.
If a customer is engrossed in their phone, check if they need help. If they're scrolling on their phone because they're unattended, and you assume they're waiting on someone else or uninterested, a customer can go completely ungreeted.
Use tablets such as iPads to look up inventory without leaving the customer's side. When the customer can look alongside staff or continue talking with them, the customer is still engaged.
Use a mobile point-of-sale (POS) system to hasten check-out speeds and avoid a big, discouraging line at your register. In store customer experience can't begin if the experience itself is delayed. Ensure that it's immediately and constantly available.
Listen to Your Customers
The age of the push sale is coming to a close. Millennials and Gen Z are extremely wary of being pushed and upsold. They're more cautious buyers. They want information and they want to know you're listening.
A staff member's product knowledge means very little if they can't teach the customer about it. Staff should be willing to discuss the 4 Cs as always, but they should also be able to talk about ethical sourcing and the difference between rare natural diamonds and lab-grown synthetic diamonds. How do you know your diamonds are conflict-free? How can you guarantee your diamonds are natural?
Answers to these should be informational, but don't get overly technical. Friendly answers that communicate information simply are best.
Listen to your customers' concerns and needs. Address these first. Confirm and reinforce their tastes so that they feel comfortable. The next generations of customers value openness. They have no compunctions about leaving a place where they don't feel at ease or informed. It's hard to fuse professionalism with a relaxed atmosphere sometimes, but this is the challenge of serving younger customers.
Remember, you can't complain about customers disconnecting from you if you're not connecting with them in the first place.
Personalize the Experience
How can you personalize a store for every single customer? It's actually pretty simple. Personalize what you can. Create email lists by interest and preference, or past purchases. Personalized emails receive much higher engagement than generalized ones. Use this approach to tailor content to specific customers' interests when you send it out.
Send holiday greetings cards (keep it general unless you know for sure which holiday the customer celebrates). Make sure to send them early in the season so that your store's name is in mind in those crucial weekends that lead up to Christmas and New Years.
Write quick, personalized thank you notes and send them out to new customers.
For your best repeat customers who make up an outsized portion of your business, keep in touch. Offer them first looks at new jewelry design lines. Ask them how they're liking their most recent purchase. Invite them to an event for only your best customers.
You can't always personalize everything in the store, but you can personalize the overall experience customers have. They'll carry that experience with them into the store for you. This is one of the best retail experience examples for making your store mean something more, something that will keep them coming back because they prefer it to all other options.
Create Loyalty Programs
According to Nielsen, 84% of consumers will stick with a brand that offers them a loyalty program. Giving loyal customers a savings won't decrease what you're getting from your best customers either. According to Global News Wire, they'll spend 37% more.
You can pattern loyalty programs in a few different ways – as awards personally sent to your best customers, as membership programs customers can choose to join, or attached to sales, programs, or other benefits.
Just ask for the information you need – Millennial and Gen Z buyers are especially wary of giving away their information. They'll consider you asking for unneeded information or making the application process overly complex a red flag.
Don't make the math overcomplicated or place a bunch of conditions on your program, either. People want to make impulse buys where they don't think about the math. The more they have to work out what exactly they'll save, the more they're thinking about what exactly they'll spend. They're comfortable spending when they know off the top of their head their discount rate or membership savings.
Fuse the Physical and Digital
More and more sales are happening online. More customers are purchasing through multiple channels. They may stop in at the store, make a purchase, think about another piece of jewelry a while, and then order it later through their phone. They'll check the receipt later on their computer. Make sure your physical site and digital site work in conjunction.
Allow staff to check inventory across multiple locations in-store. Enable click-and-collect, where customers can purchase on-line and pick up in-store. This is especially important for purchases like jewelry, where customers may feel more comfortable and safer picking it up themselves.
Go a step beyond this, too. The bulk of new businesses is through independent retailers and designers who sell their own designs through Etsy or Instagram. Contact the ones you like. Talk to them about featuring their jewelry in your store. This kind of “crossover” between businesses will help them sell better while expanding your customer base. Brick-and-mortar vs. online retailers often see each other as competition when they need to be realizing the strengths each can lend the other.