Playing the retail long game....challenging e-commerce on the customer experience
Like so many industries going through digitalisation, retail is no exception to the threat of booming online business. With online sales fast outpacing in-store sales, one could reasonably predict the end of the retail era. But it’s not all bad news for retailers and there’s plenty of evidence to support the view that brick-and-mortar is still king.
The goal posts however are shifting. A killer in-store experience is no longer negotiable, it’s absolutely mandatory. Mediocrity is out, and putting customers at the centre of the experience is everything. The future of retail is not just meeting, but exceeding customer expectations.
So how do you do it?
You might think you know how your stores are performing, you might be under the impression your employee training is top notch, and if you’re lucky your sales might also be through the roof. But the only way to truly understand your business is to see it through the eyes of a customer, with an unbiased view of what it looks and feels like to do business with you.
Enter Mystery Shopping! When you engage the services of a mystery shopping organisation you get genuine feedback about the customer experience, can identify missed opportunities in your service experience, and get the feedback needed to drive behaviour change across your business.
The data can also be supplemented with feedback from real customers using POS questionnaires, exit interviews, pop up surveys on your website, or via various social channels.
So the real benefit of the last decade’s surge of technological innovation is all about data and insights. It’s the ability to track, analyse and optimise all of your business data as it relates to the customer experience. The data is what really empowers you to innovate and drive an exceptional customer experience. So embrace the technology and platforms that enable you to do this, and organise your business from a customer’s perspective.
The bottom line is that ‘what get’s measured get’s done’. So if you want to up your customer experience game, you first need to understand where you’re at, and then move the needle on in-store behaviour change. A consistently exceptional experience drives up basket size, increases customer loyalty and creates raving fans.
So don’t be disheartened by the headlines. Be inspired by the changes brought about by e-commerce, and rise to the challenge of a better in-store customer experience. You can be the future of retail, as long as you’re smart about it.