5 Ways to Experiment With Your In-Store Experience

In-store experience is an important factor in driving any business. In today’s world, the customer, and only the customer is the priority. Everything else comes second.

The boom of technology and digital marketing has empowered online retailing and e-commerce platforms are increasingly replacing brick-and-mortar stores. Incidentally, this means that business thriving on brick-and-mortar stores need to up their marketing game to level with online retailers.

Online retailing is largely based on customer metrics due to which it provides a hassle free shopping experience for the customer. As we said earlier, the customer comes first and for a brick-and-mortar store to thrive, their in-store customer experience should be all encompassing and should be able to surpass that of any online store.

Here are 5 ways you can experiment with your in-store experience.

Customer service

 I said it before and I say it again, customer service is key in keeping your head above the water. When it comes to in-store purchases, you need to make sure that the needs of your customer is well looked after. This means having properly trained and educated staff, loyalty rewards for the customer, attractive promotional offers, discounts, and coupons. The customer should have a pleasant experience while shopping. This increases the chances of customers returning to your store.

Allow the customer to engage the senses

 One of the greatest disadvantages of online retail is that customers do not get to see how a product looks, feels, or tastes before purchasing it. Sure enough there are excellent photographs and videos, but there is nothing like engaging all five senses when purchasing a product. This is where your brick-and-mortar store has an edge.

Create an engaging experience for your customers. Enable them to engage their senses while shopping. Allow them to see how the products stocked upon your shelves can change their lives.

Entertainment

 There is no one approach to providing the right kind of vibe at your store. These days, retailers are combining shopping with some form of entertainment to kick up the shopping experience by a few notches. It is called retail-tainment. You do not need to necessarily invest in blow out experiences. Make it simple and appealing. Some pleasant background music, product demos, maybe promote a struggling local band in return for some good music, workshops, and so on. In fact anything that keeps your customers happy and gets them to come back again and again.

Go from boring to interesting

 Brick-and-mortar stores become monotonous at some point of time. The key to overcoming this is to re-imagine your shopping space. Add a couple of interesting elements to make shopping a much more interesting experience for your customers. Understand what your customer would like when shopping. For instance, some shoppers like to sip on coffee while they are shopping. This means that having a small coffee counter would be a great idea. Certain book stores design a reading area for their customers complete with snacks and beverages. Customers can actually curl up on bean bags and couches and spend some time reading or solving puzzles. It is an interesting approach to the in-store experience.

Connect with customers on a deeper level

 For the most part, shopping is almost therapeutic. Though it sounds like a joke, there is actually something called retail therapy. An online store cannot influence the customer to think with their hearts. Instead of going for the traditional we have this if you want to purchase it sales approach, try out something more personal. Train your staff to tune with the psyche of your customers. Make them feel that they are important and that the product they are looking at is something that needs to be a part of them. Encourage them to shop with their heart rather than their head. Believe me this might sound irrational, but if you think about it, on some level we are all emotional beings and there is nothing like shopping for the soul.

Now is the Time for You to Know the Truth About Empowering In-store Customers to Purchase

 

Not many people entertain the idea of visiting a store and making a purchase. Technology and the internet have made it possible for customers to shop in the comfort of their homes. They are offered a wide variety of choices and even more attractive is the hassle free shopping experience.

Customers can compare prices, choose from different products, and order products from across the globe through an online retailer.

In the current scenario therefore, it is important for business that operate within a physical establishment to empower their customers.

An empowered customer is a returning customer.

 In today’s day and age, the customer, and not the business is the priority. A business cannot forget the importance of all the data that a customer has access to today. A single smartphone is enough for customers to find better products and better opportunities. Keeping this in mind, if a business wants to encourage their customers to carry out an in-store purchase, they must be able to empower their customer through technology. A customer should be able to understand the nuances of the operation of a business and they look for places where they get a better customer experience.

Customer experience

 An empowered customer is one who has the complete liberty to make purchases and return them if found unsatisfactory. They expect to be treated in a certain way, to shop in a certain way, and to choose in a certain way. Brick-and-mortar stores that are driven by in-store purchases need to ensure their customers that the store is competent and able to offer everything that the customer looks for.

Value for money

 A customer looks for value in their purchases especially when it comes to in-store purchases. Unless and until a customer is offered value for money, they may not return to the store. Empowering your customer means offering a better value as compared to online retailers. A customer expects a store to understand their needs, their purchase history, and the need for quality.

Products from across the world

 A brick-and-mortar store often lacks in options. Online retailers offer their customers the option of choosing from products across the world. For a customer to prefer a brick-and-mortar store over an online retailer, the store should understand what the customer needs and try to make it available in order to connect with the customer in this new environment.

Connecting on a virtual platform

 With the majority of decisions being taken using smart devices and the internet, it is important for a store to maintain an online presence even if it is limited to a physical establishment. It is important to connect with customers on a virtual platform. Interaction and engagement is of utmost importance and the best place to maintain constant contact with a customer is through a technological platform preferred by the customers.

Customers are more inclined to trust a retailer, especially a brick-and-mortar one if they feel that they have a platform to raise questions, share opinions, and interact with the store.

What I Wish Everyone Knew About Driving Foot Traffic Through Ad-Re-marketing

Digital marketing has taken the world by storm. Over the years, advancements in technology and marketing have led to a phenomenal increase in the number of online shoppers and why not! Online shopping has made our lives so much easier. There is no hassle and you have easy access to a wide variety of products. No waiting in long queues at the checkout counter, no need to heft heavy shopping bags, and no need to drive up to a storefront. Online shopping delivers at your doorstep. What more does one need?

But, despite all the comforts of online shopping, there are still a few brick-and-mortar stores that thrive on foot traffic or on in-store customers. Stores like these need to keep up with the changing marketing strategies to make sure that they get enough and more customers to their store.

Even brick-and-mortar stores need to make effective use of digital marketing strategies to increase traffic.

This being said, how can a brick-and-mortar store that does not have virtual shopping platform use such a technique to drive foot traffic?

Establishing and maintaining contact.

 A business that operates within a physical establishment rather than the internet needs to keep their customers updated and aware about the latest happenings in that business. Since there is no online retail, re-marketing becomes all the more important as it is a way of compelling customers to walk up to their store.

The digital layer in re-marketing entails collecting relevant user data offline and then using this data to keep the customers updated with the latest promotional offers, coupons, and so on. The important thing to remember here is that when customers provide their details in-store, they are more aware of doing so and such retail stores need to be careful about their value.

Periodic reminders

 Customers can be influenced to come back to the store with periodic reminders. Constant periodic reminders are effective in reminding past customers about their experience and increases the likelihood of their return to the store.

The opt-in method

 Brick-and-mortar stores use the opt-in method to establish contact with the customers who are visiting the store for the first time. In this process, the store requests the customer to sign up for a newsletter and throws in some attractive offers to encourage the customer to sign up. The opt-in strategy can be exercised with or without a sale.

Value for money

 The challenge is to be better than what the customer is likely to get online. Re-marketing materials are released during certain periods and involves coupons and promotional offers. For instance, take the case of a TV showroom. Business is likely to go up during certain times such as during the Super Bowl. With a large number of online retailers threatening to slow down foot traffic, the strategy is to lure the customers to the store rather than purchasing from online retailers.

The TV showroom goes back to the customer data it has collected and schedules the release of a newsletter that compels its previous customers to visit the store to buy their product. Most of the times, such retailers may use coupons and the promise of attractive discounts to make the customer walk to the store.

Amidst all the strategies, one thing remains important for brick-and-mortar stores. Value. Unless and until the customer finds that the value offered by a particular brick-and-mortar store trumps the value offered by an online retailer, the chances of the customer returning are very less.

It is the value offered by a business that drives a customer to the store.

Four Easy Tips to Train Store Associates to Increase Sales

Simply placing everything in order, using visually-appealing décor and offering sales-promoting discounts is not enough for a retail store to be able to thrive in today’s competitive world. They have to focus on enhancing their in-store experiences, which is only way they can achieve their ultimate objective of boosting sale.

But ever wondered what is one critical factor shaping customers’ in-store experience? It’s the behavior of store associates. Store managers and executives and either make or break your store’s reputation. Lack of customer-service and sales skills of sales persons can cause you to lose valuable customers because they wouldn’t get the experience they expected.

As such, retail store owners should make sure you provide them regular training to enhance their customer-service skills and contribute towards increasing sales. If you are wondering how to train your store associates, then you should follow the tips below:

Know the personality of your associates

 Each individual has different skills and traits, which require different refining approaches. Before plunging into training your sales associates, you should try to understand their personality traits. While some associates are very amiable and social, others may be curt and “unfriendly”. Respect each individual’s unique traits and try to embrace the diversity. This will help you know the kind of training each associate would require.

Teach them people skills

 Good people skills are a signature of good sales associates. Unless they have the ability to listen to and communicate with people, they are likely to foul up while interacting with your customers. Your customers may have different queries related to your offers. But your sales associates need to have the patience to address them in an effective manner. You can also consider role-playing for inculcating strong people and inter-personal skills in your sales persons. Only good people skills of sales persons can provide a meaningful and fulfilling experience to customers.

Focus on product training

 Your sales associates should know what exactly is it that they are selling. As stated above, your customers will want prompt responses their product-related queries and issues. Sales persons who lack knowledge of your product would be no less than showpieces in your store because they will not able to handle customers queries. This can be a major reason behind customers’ disappointment, which can push your sales down. As such, you have to train your sales associates on various aspects of your product so that are able to provide better customer service.

Choose a modular training approach 

As a retail store owner, you have to ensure that the training goes smoothly, and people grasp and retain most of the new information. This could be a little tricky, but a modular training approach should be able to help you. This form of training involves flexible and brief training sessions instead of rigid and lengthy ones. This approach enables you to train your employees, either before the store opens or after it closes, and accommodate their training needs of all your sales persons in an effective manner.

The Truth About Increasing In-store Customer Visitation Length

If you are a retail store owner, you may be aware of the different challenges involved in keeping the store running. The first challenge that retail store owners have to overcome is grabbing consumers’ attention. You have to make a unique offer that gives your customers a reason to visit your store, and not your competitor’s store. But is getting more foot traffic to your store enough for your survival? The answer is a big no.

Your customers also have to make purchases after visiting your store, not once but repeatedly, so that you thrive in the long-run. But before that, you need to focus on something called the dwell time, which the time your customers spend in your store. As a retail store owner, you have to build customer experiences that make your customers want to spend more time in your store. In order to do so, you have to face a few truths, which are as follows:

Customer visitation length depends on sensory involvement

 Your customers are likely to spend more time in your store if you are able to engage all their senses. Your store should have a visually-appealing design, organized layout, soft background music, aromatic scents and perhaps some snacks to immerse your customers completely. These aspects have a significant effect on your customers’ mood and make them want to stay longer in your store.

Digital technologies are driving customers’ dwell time

 Ever since digital technologies came into the picture, retail stores have found ample opportunities to create memorable in-store experiences. Technologies like VR, AR and artificial intelligence are becoming big in today’s retail world. These have made it possible to create immersive and engaging in-store experiences for customers. You can use devices and gadgets backed by these technologies to showcase products, conduct games and other formats of customer engagement to increase their dwell time.

Training sales associates increase conversions

 A grumpy and unfriendly sales person can simply break your store’s reputation. Their behavior and attitude could be one of the major reasons why customers leave the store and never come back. As such, you have to ensure that you train your sales associates on how they should interact with customers. You should teach them people skills, inter-personal skills and customer-service skills so that they are able to deliver a satisfactory and fulfilling shopping experience to your customers and contribute more towards your store’s conversion.

Your store’s layout increases or decreases dwell time

 It’s obvious that no customer would want to be in a store where products are lying here and there and covered under dust. If you want your customers to spend more time in your store, you need to pay attention to your store’s appeal. Organize your products and place them prominently on shelves so that your customers can shop with any hassle. You should also consider using your brand’s colors to paint your store’s interiors because it increases your brand’s memorability. As such, you need to plan a shoppers-friendly store layout so as to provide your customers the ease they desire and increase their dwell time.

5 Ways to Build In-Store Experiences That Your Customers Would Love

Are you the owner of a retail store? Perhaps you know how challenging it is to get customers drawn to it. The first hurdle that you have to overcome is the low attention span of customers. Unless you are offering something unique, it’s unlikely that they would be interested in visiting your store. You can, however, use the power of different advertising formats, such as outdoor advertising, location-based services and of course, social media to promote your store in a positive light.

But the challenge doesn’t end here. Even if you succeed in getting your customers visit your store, how do you make them come back again? This is where customer retention strategies come to play, and the only way to retain customers is by creating in-store experiences that they would remember forever. Here are a few ways of doing so:

Integrating offline with digital experiences

You should know that customers are no longer confined to only offline these days. Their purchase journey takes an omnichannel path, where brands are required to create multiple touch points and merge customers’ online and offline experiences. Research on their buying behavior and identify different channels they use for shopping. Use data to integrate mobile, web, inventory management, point-of-sale and customer support systems to create a seamless shopping experience for your customers.

Provide some entertainment

 You can give your customers some “retailtainment” so that they have a fun-filled and unique shopping experience. For example, you can call an industry professional or celebrity to deliver a short performance or speech and have a candid interaction with your customers. Do something that will not only increase foot traffic to your store but also give you positive press coverage. You can even use VR to create immersive entertainment experiences in your store. This will engage your customers and make them want to visit your store again.

Engage all their senses

 Nobody would want to enter a store that has a pile of garbage in one corner and products sloppily put on shelves. Your customers will expect you to be a little organized and clean. In order to create a pleasant in-store experience for your customers, you have to engage all their senses. Consider spray a room freshener to make your store smell fresh. Play soft music in the background and make your store visually appealing. Categorize all your products and keep them in different shelves so that your customers find it easier to find what they want. This will surely enhance their experience.

Commit to customer services

 Last but certainly not the least, you need to provide excellent customer services to your customers if you wish to make them fall in love with you. Train your sales persons on how to present themselves and talk to consumers. Consider loyalty and rewards programs in order to make your customers feel valued. Make sure you are able to address any queries related to your products and provide prompt post-sale services to your customers. Providing personalized and useful customer service is a surefire way of enhancing a customer’s in-store experience.

How to Extend Customer Relationships Beyond the Transaction?

Businesses, whether big or small, tend to tackle with one major challenge– acquiring customers and retaining them. Take, for example, you have an amazing store selling all the unique items today’s youngsters would want. You manage to gain their attention and bring them to your store finally. In short, you have “acquired” the customers you were targeting through your advertisements.

Most of these customers make a purchase, and show signs of satisfaction. But there are others who are difficult to please. This presents the second challenge, which is customer retention. How do you retain the customers you have acquired? Well, this is a tricky question to answer. While most businesses succeed in drawing customers to stores, they often find it difficult to make customers keep coming to them.

As a seller, you have to know that the sale process doesn’t end with the transaction. You have to keep offering your customers value so that they keep coming back to you. If you are struggling to do this, here are a few tips that can help you build long-lasting relationships with your customers post sale:

Focus on customer service

 If you wish to foster lasting relationships with your customers, you have to up your customer services. You should focus on providing memorable customer services so that your customers leave your store with a positive impression in mind. You should leverage both online and offline channels to address customers’ queries and proactively resolve their issues.

Give them attention

You may not know but your customers are actually hungry for your attention. So why not give them? One good way to do so is by featuring them in your social channels. You can feature their stories on your blog or e-newsletter or conduct a short video interview that you can share on your YouTube channel. This is a great way to make your customers feel valued.

Encourage feedback from them

 Most sellers may ignore this, but customer feedback is a great way to improve your post-sale customer services. You should encourage your customers to share what they think about you and what you are offering. Both positive and negative feedback will help you understand what they like and dislike. This gives you meaningful insights into your customers’ preferences, and help you take necessary actions.

Conduct loyalty programs

Loyalty programs are a great way to reward customers for their support. Your customers may patronize your store, but they would love you even more if you reward them for being your customer. You can reward them with free samples of your product, discounts or coupons, and gift hampers, which will make your customers feel valued and make them come back to you.

Stay in touch with them always

 Last but certainly not the least, you should stay in touch with your customers always. Never forget to send them a “thank you” message after they visit your store for the first time. You should keep sending them relevant offers from time-to-time so that they know you are there to help them. You can even send them greetings on birthdays and special occasions so as to establish an emotional connection with them.

The Ultimate Revelation Of In-store Check-ins and Engagements

What’s driving check-ins?

Today’s digital marketing paradigm revolves around SoLoMo, which is broken into “social”, “local” and “mobile”. This paradigm represents three crucial aspects of marketing success: reach, relevance and resource. Here’s how each term can be connected:

  • Social includes social networks that provide brands the “reach” to customers.
  • Local includes the nearby consumers who can be targeted with relevant offers.
  • Mobile includes several hand-held devices that become the channel resource to deliver offers to the target audience.

If you are a social-media-savvy marketers, perhaps you might have seen the check-ins users give on their profiles when they visit a new place. Much of this has been made possible by the various mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and other handheld devices, which consumers use boundlessly today.

The GPS and beacon technologies backing various mobile devices have given a great impetus to social media check-ins. After all, turning on “location” of a mobile device can make it easier for users to share their location with their family and friends, who in turn, get to know more about the place.

This is how the SoLoMo paradigm is surfacing out these days. As consumers give more and more check-ins at your retail store, restaurant or event, the more popular you become on social media.

The key to popularity on social media is engagement, which consumer check-ins can surprisingly provide. As such, it’s not uncommon for brands these days to leverage the power of consumer check-ins to attain their digital and social media marketing objectives.

Check-ins and social media engagement: What’s the connection?

 According to eMarketer’s study of mobile usage in the United States, an average American adult spends 3 hours and 15 minutes daily on mobile devices. This behavior of mobile users has pushed marketers to create a well-defined mobile strategy, backed by data. But where exactly on the Internet are they spending so much time? It’s social media, which is only seeing it’s users rising each year.

According to Statista, there were 2.46 billion social media users in 2017, which is expected to become 2.77 billion by 2019. The number is actually huge in terms of penetration, covering 71 percent of Internet users. Given this number, brands cannot help but include social media in their digital marketing strategies to stay ahead of their competitors.

Check-ins are a good example of how location-based marketing campaigns are executed to generate positive word-of-mouth and increase brand loyalty. It provides stores the immediate information they need for knowing who their visitors are, what they are doing and what is it that they desire. You can engage these visitors with relevant offers and check-in rewards, and turn them into loyal customers.

Check-ins are a good way for brands to generate awareness among target audiences. As social media users tend to give a check-in wherever they go, restaurants, clubs, concerts, cafes, and retail stores are finding them a good way to increase engagement on social media. They also come with a touch of convenience as they integrate location-based services to make a brand’s reach more effective and relevant.

How to Drive In-Store Foot Traffic Using Social Media?

The retail business is not a picnic. Besides setting up a well-designed, chic and appealing store, there are so many other retailing aspects that you, as a retail store owner, will have to keep in mind. From procurement to logistics, marketing to after sale services, you will have to keep every process in line. Not to forget your competitors, who are always on the lookout to steal your customers. As such, you really have to provide something unique and extraordinary in order to thrive in the retail scenario.

The most challenging part of running a retail store is driving foot traffic. Most retail stores focus on in-store experiences and personalized customer experiences for attractive more people. But did you know that you can use social media to boost in-store foot traffic? If you don’t, then here are a four easy ways you can do so:

Encourage customers to check-in

In-store check-ins on Facebook, Foursquare, GetGlue or Instagram can boost your popularity on social media. The more check-ins from customers you get, greater your reach will be. You can encourage your customers to check-in at your store and give them gift cards or prizes. Check-ins on social media lets people know about your store, and click on your website for more information. This is also a good way to reach people online and draw them to your brick-and-mortar store.

Provide coupons and discounts

You can use social media to provide discounts and coupons to your customers and asking them to visit your store to get the product. You should, however, use this tactic very smartly. For example, you can offer an attractive discount to select Facebook followers or a coupon to followers who can invite their friends to follow your page. You can ask them to claim the offer at your store, which will increase the foot traffic to your store. But make sure your offer is creative and not over-promotional.

Use influencers

Influencer marketing has received a great impetus ever since social media entered the picture. Influencers are people who have a huge fan-following on social media. These are people who can be given a chance to associate with your brand and generate a buzz about your store. Most popular brands have leveraged the power of influencer marketing in brand promotion. You can approach them and ask them to share your content on their page. This is likely to influence your audience positively and drive them to your store.

Share live videos

Facebook and Instagram provide an amazing feature that allows you to share live videos and stories with your audience. You can use Facebook or Instagram Live or Stories to conduct a contest or a giveaway. These platforms also allow you to share live videos of in-store events and increase the popularity of your store. Live videos are more engaging and share-worthy, which makes your audience interested in you. This is a great way to generate positive word-of-mouth and draw more customers towards your store.

Learn All About Targeting Retail Customers

If you are opening a retail store, you should know that your success will greatly depend on what you offer, who you offer and how you offer. While marketing activities hold immense importance in driving foot traffic to retail stores, the kind of traffic coming into your store is determined by your targeting strategies. There’s one thing you should always keep in mind: you can only succeed in marketing if you deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time. Sadly, most marketers go wrong in choosing the right target audience.

Customer segmentation is something no retail store owner can ignore because it can help them identify customers who would be needing their products or services. It can help identify unsatisfied needs of the individuals and develop products that would satisfy their needs effectively. Wrong targeting can cause a retail store to go crashing down as nobody would buy its product or service. If you wish to refine your targeting, here are a few tips to follow:

Segment your market

 Market segmentation is a good way to start identifying your target market. It’s the process of breaking a large market into smaller markets based on various factors, such as demographic, geographic, income, age, profession, psycho-graphic and behavioral. Segmenting the market helps you understand characteristics of the market and create highly-focused products and campaigns that resonate with a specific audience.

Conduct a survey

 Customer surveys have been a long-standing method of gaining market insights. Talk to your existing customers and also prospective ones about how they feel about your offer. Collect as much data as possible to know your target audience better. This will help you improve your current offering and present your future offers more appealingly.

Know your competitors 

Unless you are monopoly player, you simply cannot evade competition. Experts often recommend that you also know who your competitors are targeting. You can do a research on their ad campaigns and see which one works and which one does not. This will reveal weak spots in your competitor’s campaigns and give you a direction while crafting your own campaigns. Nobody is asking you to be blatant. Be discreet but smart.

Leverage social media

In today’s digital age, social media has emerged as a boon to marketers. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, What’s App, Pinterest and a gamut of other social networks have changed the way retailers target consumers. For example, you can use Facebook’s ad targeting features that let you select an audience based on their interests, location and a range of other factors. Social media helps retail store owners in reaching the right target audience, engaging them and expanding their customer base.

Always make use of data

Last but not the least, you should leverage the power of consumer data in refining your targeting strategy. Data helps you measure the performance of your strategies and helps identify loopholes. Using social media to target audiences can also provide useful data, which you can use to improve your messaging and engagement. Not only will this will you optimize your campaigns but also make informed decisions.