Since the emergence of the internet, smartphones and online shopping, we’ve seen a change in the way consumers shop, with faster transactions and easy access to markets overseas. But with the developments in technology there has also been a noticeable decline in the personalisation of your typical retail experience.
Gone are the days where the shop keeper knew your name when you went up the road to buy your groceries. So how can your business bring that customer centric focus back to the shopping experience? How can you make your customer feel valued and build brand loyalty? And what are other businesses doing to make buying from them more personal?
Here are our top things you should consider to bring that personalisation back to shopping.
When you’re browsing online doing a bit of shopping, often you’ll click your way to the check out, enter your card details then be asked to tick a box to make sure you aren’t in fact a robot.
Having to prove to a retailer that you aren’t a robot is about as impersonal as it can get. Despite this, there are so many businesses out there that embrace technology to enhance the personalisation of their customer experience online. We see stores like Amazon recommending books based on previous purchases, personalising the way their customers interact with their website.
But there are ways you can implement technology to improve the personalisation of the customer experience in physical retail stores as well.
Recently on a trip to San Francisco I went into a Converse store that had tablets on the shopfloor that allow customers to compare different sneakers and customise their own design. I was able to personalise a pair of Converse shoes for each of my girls, including choosing the pattern, colour, graphics, laces, and even adding their names. It was such a cool way to bring an element of creativity to shopping as well as a personal touch for customers.
While it’s a relatively new concept, brands like Converse and Puma (who have a similar offering in their retail stores) demonstrate how embracing technology can enhance your approach to meeting the needs of your customers. Consider how you can use technology to connect with and inspire your customers.
Empower your people
What we see more than anything else in the feedback our clients receive is the importance of staff working on the shop floor. A store with high satisfaction scores in their customer feedback is how you know they have great staff.
Encouraging your frontline staff to be engaged with customer feedback is essential in improving the personalisation of your store. One of our clients, Repco shared “you’ll be surprised at the level of complimentary feedback you get,” sharing that passing on the positive comments to their team, would give their staff the motivation to provide consistently high quality customer service. But it takes empowerment from the top to give your staff the confidence to go the extra mile. You can read more about Repco’s experience with Customer Radar here.
Your team needs to understand and feel emboldened to make decisions on the spot that put the customer first. Having loads of rules and policies that are too constricting means your staff might miss the ideal opportunity to personalise a customer’s shopping experience.
Use the data you have
Whether you’ve got a loyalty programme or just collect emails occasionally, how are you using the data you already collect? Look for opportunities to use this data to take the extra step to personalise the customer experience and you’ll soon be getting far more out of your data.
Sending your most loyal customers a greeting card at Christmas or their birthday is a great way you can utilise the data you have to build a relationship with a customer. Many already do this in some way – Burger Fuel runs a VIB (Very Important Burger Connoisseur) program with a whole lot of perks, including sending a voucher for a free burger the day before a member’s birthday. Those little touches are fantastic for making customers feel valued. But how can you take it a step further?
In the future, we could see stores using facial recognition tools to know when loyal or high-spending customers walk in-store, enabling staff to provide personalised recommendations or an even more attentive service (although we might be veering into creepy technology if we all start greeting people by name as soon as they walk in).
While we can hope your staff will never require customers to identify that they aren’t a robot in physical stores the way they do online, the need for adding a personal touch to your customer approach is essential. By embracing new technologies, empowering your staff, and using the information you have access to, you can cater the shopping experience to the direct needs of your customer. It’s all about keeping them coming back to build more brand loyalty and making sure your customers feel valued.
Keen to find out more about building an exceptional customer experience? Download our free Ultimate Guide to Customer Centricity here: