9 Retail Customer Experience (CX) Strategies for 2023
To improve your bottom line and brand loyalty, you need to know how to maximize retail customer experience. Here are strategies to help.
For retail brands, customer experience is king. In fact, it may not be an exaggeration to say that CX is more important than marketing or many other facets of your business processes. Without a stellar customer experience to offer your patrons, it’s less likely that they’ll continue to shop at your brand and spend the money you need to turn a profit.
Therefore, it’s in your best interest to learn how to maximize customer experience in retail operations. Fortunately, there are many CX retail strategies you can implement starting today.
Let’s take a closer look.
Retail CX Explained
Retail customer experience or retail CX is the generalized or average experience a retail customer will have when purchasing something from your brand.
Say that you sell athletic apparel to fitness-minded consumers aged 25 to 45. Your retail brand’s CX or customer experience includes:
- When customers become aware of your brand
- When customers decide to shop at your brand
- When a customer puts something in their shopping cart or navigates through your product pages
- When a customer decides to check out
- When a customer finalizes a purchase
- When a customer talks to your support team for returns, issues, etc.
The retail CX is all of those moments packaged together. Think of it as the holistic, comprehensive experience a retail shopper has with your brand. The better the customer experience, the better your brand will be overall.
Why Does Retail CX Matter?
The retail CX matters a great deal for several reasons.
For starters, customers return to brands that they have a good time shopping at. If you provide them with a good retail CX, your target audience members will be more likely to come back for repeat purchases. Even better, they’ll be more likely to recommend your business to others in their friend or family groups.
Furthermore, retail CX matters because it directly affects how likely a new site or store visitor is to make a purchase. If your CX is bad right from the get-go, someone might click to your online store, for example, then click away almost immediately because your website is designed poorly, it’s difficult to find a product they want, or for some other reason.
Lastly, the retail CX can help your brand stand out from the competition. If your brand doesn’t have the absolute lowest prices, but it has a stellar customer experience team and offers an excellent customer experience, people may still choose to shop at your business instead of a competitor’s.
Seen in this light, the retail CX affects both your short-term and long-term profitability and success. There’s no reason to ignore retail CX when it can have such a massive effect on the overall viability of your brand and business model.
How To Ensure Good Customer Experience in Retail
Given the importance of the retail customer experience, you need to have several strategies in mind to improve and streamline it for your target audience members. Here are nine retail customer experience strategies to try.
Focus on CX Consistency Across All Channels
To make sure your customers have an excellent retail experience, ensure consistency in both brand and CX across all interaction channels.
For example, your marketing should include the same slogans and persona (i.e., brand voice) as the materials in your store, like pamphlets, signage, etc. Furthermore, you should ensure that your customers can easily interact with products and even order products across different devices and channels without hurdles.
Say that a customer starts a purchase on their phone. It should be easy for the customer to swap to a different electronic device, like a laptop, to complete the purchase. Consistency is a hallmark of a good CX, especially for retail when people don’t want to be interrupted on their way to making purchases.
Personalization is key in this day and age, and for a good reason. It shows your customers that you appreciate them for their individuality. By personalizing your marketing and sales tactics, your customers will feel more seen and will feel valued by your brand.
You can provide personalization in the retail CX in a variety of ways, such as:
- Recommending specific products to customers based on past purchases
- Assigning a specific sales or customer support agent to a customer so they interact with the same person each time
- Providing birthday discounts to long-time customers of your brand via email marketing
Personalization is a great way to build brand loyalty and show your customers that you truly care.
Use Machine Learning for Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics is the practice of using big data to predict customer needs, wants, and pain points. You should use machine learning software and platforms to anticipate customer requirements and desires, such as free shipping, specific products, and so on.
Predictive analytics will allow your brand to appear as though it knows its customers inside and out (and, from a certain point of view, it does!). Customers love it when their pain points are anticipated. If your predictive analytics can help you get ahead of the problem before it affects your customers, their overall experiences will be that much more delightful.
Offer Convenient Methods of Payment
These days, customers love to be able to pay in a variety of ways. Whether that’s through accepting cryptocurrencies, using cardless checkout systems, or something else, you should make it quick and seamless for customers to spend money at your store.
That should be a no-brainer, as well; customers are more likely to abandon checkout right up to payment if they encounter frustration or difficulties.
By offering more convenient methods of payment, you also make it easy for customers to spend money multiple times and across multiple devices and places. For example, if you create an account for your customers and they can deposit money into your account, they can pay via phone, online, or in person.
Think of Starbucks and its branded mobile app. That single app has resulted in many positive customer experiences over the years!
Evaluate All Retail Touchpoints
Retail touchpoints are all the instances in which a customer may interact with your brand. This includes viewing an advertisement, visiting your store for the first time, and selecting a product to purchase.
Carefully evaluate all the retail touchpoints your customers might encounter. Then, examine those touchpoints and decide:
- Are there other pain points or problems the customer is likely to encounter?
- How can you improve the touchpoints to make them more streamlined or easy to navigate?
- Do your retail touchpoints provide value or other benefits to your customers, such as increased functionality or fun?
By breaking down your customer journeys in this way, you can figure out the best and worst parts of your retail CX and take steps to improve it accordingly.
Empower Employees To Emphasize Satisfaction
Your employees are the faces of your organization, so you should empower them to emphasize satisfaction and customer care above all else.
If a customer doesn’t have a receipt, for example, consider empowering your employees to accept a refund anyway. Not only will this result in a better brand reputation over time, but it will also help your employees put their best foot forward and show that your brand really cares about its customer base.
This has ancillary benefits for your employees, too. When they are empowered, employees feel flexible, capable, and able to make the best decisions for both themselves and their customers. That, in turn, leads to greater employee satisfaction and better employee performance throughout your organization.
Lean Into a Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are great ways to build up a long-term customer base and keep customers at your business for the long haul. Loyalty programs can improve the retail customer experience in several ways:
- They allow customers to interact with your brand in enjoyable ways, such as by building up bonus points they can cash in for prizes or perks.
- They enable customers to take advantage of special discounts or other benefits, making them feel special.
- They give you lots of extra data you can use to improve the retail CX later on.
Loyalty programs are flat benefits for your organization. If you don’t already have one, consider launching one and doing everything you can to get consistent customers to join at the earliest opportunity.
Encourage Social Media Interactions
Many retail brands encourage social media interactions, even in brick-and-mortar stores.
For example, you might put up a booth or photo wall in your retail store to encourage customers to take photos with your products or apparel and post the images online. By encouraging social media interactions, you introduce a little free-form fun and engagement into the shopping experience, making it more than just a simple transaction.
Of course, this also benefits your marketing. If your current customers perform free advertising for you on social media, you’ll have a better chance of bringing even more prospects to your brand over time.
Ask for Feedback at the Right Time
Lastly, don’t forget to ask for feedback from your customers … but only do so at the right time. Nothing can ruin a customer’s experience at your retail store faster than shoving a survey in their face at an inopportune moment.
Instead, only ask for feedback:
- At the end of the transaction or experience
- When a customer isn’t likely to be busy
- When a customer is clearly having a good time or is not frustrated with something
In this way, you’ll be more likely to get accurate, meaningful feedback you can use to improve the retail customer experience.
Join Up With Awesome CX Today
All in all, the above strategies and methods will go a long way toward making your retail CX more navigable, accessible, and beneficial to your target audience members. So long as you maintain these CX strategies, people will have a great time shopping at your brand and may even recommend your business to others in their social groups.
Even better, you can start inflicting some of these retail CX strategies with Awesome CX’s help. Our knowledgeable, skilled specialists can provide a variety of assistance, such as operating your phones, providing white glove VIP service to important clients, and much more.
Let’s talk about CX strategies today!
Understanding Customer Experience | Harvard Business Review