The retail industry never stops evolving, and as a business owner, it’s important to keep up with consumer habits. From putting your values at the forefront to giving your customers more ways to shop, there are plenty of ways to show your customers that you care. Here are a few strategies for adapting to what modern shoppers want from their retail experience.
Rethink the role of your brick-and-mortar
Consider giving your customers more ways to shop. While naysayers tout the idea that brick-and-mortar stores are a thing of the past, you can use your storefront and online presence to better serve your shoppers. Give your customers the best of both worlds by offering the option to buy online and pick-up in store. This convenient model just might be the future of retail. For example, during the holiday season of 2019, stores that offer this option saw an 18-percent boost in digital revenue during the five days prior to Christmas, according to Rob Garf, a contributor to SalesForce.com.
Use data to connect with your customers
Even if you maintain great personal relationships with your customers, collecting data gives you a strong foundation for creating strategies and building future connections. When a customer visits your store, it’s a chance for you and your team to ask questions and learn about the solutions that shoppers need. Not only will this foster a lasting connection with your customers, but it’s also a great way to get ideas for future products and services. On the flipside, if you or your employees lose a sale, consider it a chance to re-evaluate your strategies and grow. Jim Murphy, the founder and head of Afterburner, advises you to allow your team members to freely discuss how they lost a sale, without the fear of negative review or reprisal. This can help you identify and eliminate pain points your organization.
Modern customer service solutions
While a human, personal connection can be great for your company, there are some scenarios where computers can serve your customers better. If your company does business online or by phone, Natalie Petouhoff recommends using chatbots to engage your customers. These AI assistants often service customers faster and easier than human workers can. For example, you’ll always have customers who want to ask quick questions about product support, order status, scheduling, business hours or locations. Chatbots can resolve these inquiries faster than a person could — and your customers won’t even have to wait for an email response or listen to scratchy on-hold music.
Attract buyers who “shop at the edge”
According to a study by SalesForce, a whopping 60 percent of consumers report that their favorite brands connect with them on social media and through voice-activated digital assistants, like Amazon Alexa. You can take advantage of this trend by offering your customers convenient shoppable social media posts. Some platforms allow your customers to purchase products without exiting the app. Find out which platforms your shoppers love so you can better serve them.
Share your values on social media
Modern consumers like to know that they’re voting with their wallets — that’s why appreciate businesses that share their values. To demonstrate your value and establish trust with your customers, showcase the ways your business gives back to the community. According to Garf, consumer research reveals that 56 percent of consumers believe that ethical business practices, such as sustainability, are more important than they were last year. Younger shoppers especially value socially responsible companies, so go ahead and freely tweet or post about your company’s sustainability practices, charitable donations or volunteer initiatives.
By putting your customers first, you can grow your company in new and unexpected ways. But before enacting any changes, discuss them with your financial advisor or business partner to decide which strategies best fit your company.