The customer experience is what differentiates offline retail from online e-commerce.
Understanding your customers is incredibly important and shopper engagement is crucial in this era of online shopping. Retailers who successfully leverage what Amazon and other online retailers don’t have can not only survive — but thrive as well. And what they don’t have is personalized service and a true customer experience.
Despite claims to the contrary, physical retail isn’t dead. In fact, 90% of sales still happen in physical locations rather than at an online retailer. More than that, a report titled TimeTrade State of Retail 2017, suggests that U.S. retail stores are leaving approximately $150 billion in potential revenue on the table by failing to offer the personalized shopping experiences. So how do you promote in-store personalization?
This is the most obvious and easiest way to promote a great in-store customer experience tailored to your guests. Your staff is the first touch point of personalization as they can interact and make suggestions to shoppers. Whenever anyone speaks about why they like going out to shop rather than getting something online, inevitably their reasoning is to have a personal face-to-face transaction.
Consent and Data
Of course, we’re living in an increasingly connected world so we need to move beyond just the usual tactics that has served physical retail in the past. Even though only 10% of sales are from online retailers, they have used customer data to efficiently maximize their sales. Fortunately, the same process they use are available to brick-and-mortar stores and the first step is to collect contact information and demographics.
First thing you need is to have your customers opt-in. Many savvy companies have been collecting customers’ contact information by asking them to write down their email address on a piece of paper. Some have gone further and collect this information at the point of sales which usually includes a postal code.
Social WiFi platforms such as Aislelabs Connect supercharges this data acquisition by integrating directly with your in-store guest WiFi to capture customer data when they sign on. Not only do you get contact information, but demographic and behavioural data as well. We at Aislelabs are rolling out a new product called Customer Hub in the near future to all of our clients that will consolidate opt-in data from even more sources — such as mobile apps and newsletter signs ups — for a more robust set of data and a clearer image of your customers and their habits.
All of this is to hammer home the point: before anything you must capture customer data, have them opt-in, and the more data you have the better.
Analyze and Understand
Raw data on it’s own is useless to elevate the customer experience. You need to derive meaning from it to learn more about who your customers are and what they want. Data can answer questions like how many times do customers return and do they cross-visit with your other locations? If you operate a mall, what’s the affinity between stores (such as do Apple Inc. customers visit Starbucks)? You can also get demographic information from your customers who have opted in using their Facebook accounts. What they’ve liked on the platform and which pages they follow gives you valuable information about who they are and what they want.
You can also learn more about your customers based on online surveys and promo codes via smart coupons. Do your customers act on certain promotions more than others and what are the correlations? What they buy gives you insights on what types of products they like and all this information is important to figure out exactly who your customers are. Once you begin to see patterns in the data, you can then start roughing out a possible strategy.
Collecting data and analyzing it is the first part in crafting a unique experience for your customers. The more points of data you have, the more you understand what they want and can tailor an experience for them. Now that we’ve collected and analyzed the data, we’ll dive into generating content in the second part of this series.