Credit: Getty Images by Maskot
Regardless of retail’s latest headwind, brick-and-mortar organizations continue to embrace their enduring mission: get consumers into retail locations and convince them to part with their money. The emphasis on e-commerce over the past year or so hasn’t changed this mission, but it has re-emphasized that customers want unique in-store experiences.
Experiences are how you get customers in the door, and it’s how you persuade them to spend money in your stores. Based on our State of the In-Store Experience 2021 Report, 82 percent of shoppers will return to your stores if they find the in-store experience to be positive. That’s repeat business, folks. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of shoppers will actually spend more each time they visit your store, so long as they’re pleased with the in-store experience.
There’s no way around it: the quality of your in-store customer experiences is linked directly to your revenues.
Heck, the “in-store experience” doesn’t even necessarily mean “in-store” anymore. Every feature of the brick-and-mortar experience, from app to store, matters. Target invested heavily in its buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) — or curbside — infrastructure over the past year-plus, and it has earned praise and repeat business from customers thanks to those investments.
Shoppers expect more than ever from brick-and-mortar retail experiences. Between the convenience of e-commerce and the need for unique experiences in a world awash in shallow ones, retailers have to deliver quality products, conveniently, in a way that shoppers find gratifying.
If you’re up to the task of delivering stellar customer experiences, there are real benefits to be had for your organization. Through our report, consumers pinpointed some of the most compelling benefits of providing quality in-store experiences.
Benefit No. 1: Stronger Customer Loyalty
Loyalty in retail is generally a one-way street. While retailers are eager to accept their customers’ business at all operational hours, customers don’t always reciprocate. Our State of Consumer Behavior (2021) report found that 25 percent of consumers change brands more often today than ever before, and that 48 percent of shoppers have swapped a brick-and-mortar retailer for a digital one in the past year-plus.
Past studies have found the convenience of a shopping experience, ease of checkout, and incentives for frequent shopping can all foster feelings of loyalty towards retailers. McKinsey notes how competitive retailers are partnering to revamp their loyalty programs in a way that customers are inclined to use.
The clearest way to engender loyalty among customers, though, is to focus on the entirety of the in-store experience. As I previously mentioned, 82 percent of consumers will come back and shop again if they have a positive in-store experience.
Rather than trying to implement some one-off loyalty gimmick, retailers might be best served to direct their attention to the core features of the in-store experience — product offerings, store layout, digital signage, checkout, and convenience. Perfecting these areas of the in-store experience, shoppers tell us, is the key to winning their loyalty.
Benefit No. 2: More Spending in Your Stores
By winning customers’ repeat business through great in-store experiences, you improve your long-term revenues. You can also expect to improve your per visit revenues, as 64 percent of shoppers will spend more per visit if they’re feeling the good vibes of a great in-store experience.
Don’t overthink this one. If you scratch the customer’s back (by providing them positive feelings and a memorable time expenditure), they’ll scratch yours (by supporting your organization through purchases and return visits).
We know that customers are four to six times more likely to buy from retailers whose purpose they identify with. If your in-store experiences create a sense of shared purpose, your customers won’t only shop with you frequently, but they’ll also recommend your brand to others and may even defend it during times of controversy. That’s powerful, but such customer advocacy is impossible without great in-store experiences.
Benefit No. 3: More Multichannel Spending With Your Brand
The positive sentiment that you create from memorable in-store experiences doesn’t fade quickly. The half-life of a positive customer experience lasts beyond checkout and even beyond the shopper’s departure from the parking lot.
Sixty-one percent of customers are more likely to buy from your brand online once they’ve had a positive in-store experience. There are times when online shopping is more feasible than visiting a store, as evidenced by U.S. e-commerce sales rising by 9.3 percent in Q2 2021. By generating goodwill through offline experiences, you position your brand as the first choice when shoppers choose to purchase something online.
If customers feel that you care about them — the value of their dollar and their desire for memorable experiences — then they’ll support your brand, online or offline.
When it comes to retaining new customers, holding their loyalty, and persuading them to spend more, all roads lead back to the in-store experience.
Consumers today crave savings, convenience and abundant product information. They will certainly not complain if you deliver a sensory experience that exudes excitement and warmth. Consumers demand, though, that your employees treat them well and that you augment your employees with digital offerings— informational product screens, checkout kiosks, and scannable promo codes.
These are the demands of the 2021 retail customer. As the data shows, meeting (and ideally, exceeding) these demands will drastically improve your organization’s bottom line across all of its channels. The equation couldn’t be any simpler: customer + positive in-store experiences = stronger revenues.
Bobby Marmahat is the CEO of Raydiant, a digital signage and in-store experience solutions provider.
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