No matter how loyal a customer is, there will always be competitors vying for their business. To keep your customers happy and coming back to you time and time again, you need to look at more than price points. You need to cultivate an in-store experience that’s welcoming and convenient. These four ideas are easy, inexpensive ways you can start fostering a more welcoming shopping experience for your customers.
Hands-On Demos – “Try before you buy” is always a great way to pique a customer’s interest, especially if you’re introducing a new product. We’re all familiar with free samples supermarkets offer when they’re selling new foods or drinks, but think beyond the snack table and get creative to fit your niche. Dedicated stations for trying new tools, for example, will attract any handymen or handywomen in your store, and the experience of directly using the product in-store could convince them to make a purchase—even if they weren’t planning on it.
When a customer sets foot in your store, they have a good idea of what they’re looking for. Something they hadn’t planned on may catch their eye, but getting them to actually purchase an unfamiliar product can be a challenge. Demo stations are a simple way to make more sales by giving customers hands-on experience with products before they buy.
Build A Sense of Community – The typical ways that stores reward customer loyalty are focused on furthering sales through discounts, and as a result, the retailer/customer relationship starts and ends with those transactions. That may be good for business, but if you want to your business to have a more meaningful impact on customers’ lives you should try playing a larger role in your shared community.
Many businesses collect goods and money for charitable causes as a way to show they care. Another, perhaps more direct option, is to host regular events in-store to benefit those who attend. Classes, clubs, and other groups bring people together in a literal sense, and providing space for such meetings makes your business a part of their lives. It’s a wonderful way of giving back, attracting new customers, and boosting your public profile, all at the same time.
Focus On Customer Service, Not Price – Low prices are always welcome, but in our digitally-connected world, customers can find even lower prices with an internet search and a few extra minutes. Prices are only one thing a customer considers when they go shopping. The biggest factor is actually comfort. It’s why online shopping continues to dominate the retail landscape: customers never have to leave home, let alone set foot in a shop. Admittedly, that’s a pretty big advantage, but brick-and-mortar stores still excel at customer service.
Think about it: when a customer shops in your physical store, they have interactions with actual people, not through e-mail or telephone calls or chat rooms. Well-trained, welcoming employees are a major key to keeping customers happy, even more so than low prices and good discounts. A staff that’s attentive, knowledgeable, and eager to help makes all the difference to customers because it puts them first. If you can get your staff to focus on being attentive to customers rather than pushing current specials and making more sales, customers will notice the difference and actually want to come back.
Go Digital With Coupons – Everyone loves getting a good deal, but how people get those deals influences when and where they shop. Studies show a growing number of people are redeeming more digital coupons than traditional print coupons. Every reason for this can be boiled down to convenience: customers enjoy the speed, the ease with which they can be shared, the ability to discover offers while they shop, and not having to physically carry an assortment of clipped-out coupons.
A custom coupon service like Octopon allows stores to not only create their own coupons but to distribute them in a number of ways, including digitally. Customers can receive coupons via email or social media, or discover them on your website, and redeem them via their smartphones at checkout. It requires no new equipment on your part and no further action from your customers. And with further customization, you can use digital coupons as part of larger marketing campaigns to push specific products or to simply provide great discounts.
Ultimately, what it all comes down to is this: you aren’t just trying to sell products, you’re trying to sell an experience. Be it through a stronger sense of community or by making the act of shopping easier itself, your goal should be to set yourself apart from your competition by convincing customers that you’re more than just a retailer.
Try it today!