Why the customer experience is so important in retail?
You will never get loyal and recurring customers, regardless of how great your products are if your customer experience (also known as CX) sucks. Do you believe that? You should, because there’s a lot of truth to it. A customer who has a bad experience with your brand will be gone in a hot second. Due to the high competition within retail, they know they can find similar products somewhere else. Somewhere they are treated better. So, if you are a retailer looking to grow your business and reach customer loyalty – you have to improve the customer experience!
Statistics that show the importance of the customer experience*
- 90% of consumers are willing to pay more if that means they get an improved customer experience
- 71% of consumers will recommend a product or service because of the good experience they got
- 74% of millennials consider switching to a different retailer when they receive poor customer service
- 87% of large companies say their customer experience efforts have given them a positive business impact
- 69% of consumers said that if a shopping experience is poor, they will never shop with the same online store again
- 84% of consumers will not come back to a brand if they offered a poor return experience
Read more: Loyalty marketing – how and why it matters
What is a good customer experience (CX)?
This, of course, depends on the industry you’re in and what kind of expectations the customer has. But what generally signifies a good customer experience is when the company or brand show that they actually give a damn. You see them, and you care about them.
The customer experience typically includes things like:
- How eager you are to help
- How you broadcast your products
- Your shipping alternatives
- The bags you are providing in-store
- Payment options
- Return policies
- How well you know your customers
- To what extent you care about segmentation to personalize your communication
- The way you show your appreciation after a customer has made a purchase
Here’s an example of what was intended to be a good experience for a customer:
Mr. X has shopped at the same grocery store for years. And he always buys lactose-free and gluten-free products. Along comes his birthday and the store wants to show him their appreciation. They send him a cake, filled with whipped cream gluten layers.
A super nice gesture, but the store has not taken all of the purchase history data into consideration whatsoever. Because the customer can’t eat the cake.
This is a true story and it’s the perfect example of the importance of segmentation and personalization to give every customer a top-notch customer experience.
Read more: Build customer loyalty – best strategies you may not have heard of before
6 ways to improve the customer experience
You may never be 100% perfect and that’s ok. But you have to start somewhere. When you’re about to start working towards offering a better customer experience you need to prioritize. Use these four guidelines to get some inspiration on where to start.
#1 Create a plan or a vision you want to implement
Sit down and create the optimal journey for a customer. What do you want the customer to feel, see, do, and get? Write down the plan and everything you need from others in your organization to be able to put this plan in motion. It’s very important to include the entire organization in this so that everyone is onboard with the importance of their actions to provide the best customer experience possible.
#2 How do you want to be remembered?
Like we said, prioritize. Because you probably want to be remembered as the brand who had the best products, the coolest way to showcase your products online, the best loyalty program, the most outstanding customer service, with the fastest deliveries and the best prices. But maybe you should pick one and make that one completely outstanding. So, what’s your thing? What can you do that will improve the customer experience for your customers and make them remember you for something particular?
#3 Faster is not always better…
Sure, when it comes to answering customers’ support questions, faster is better. But what about on-site and in-store? You want to keep your customers there as long as possible. But not because of long lines or a complex check-out service, but because they are so inspired! Because you know what? Part of the shopping experience is the actual moment of shopping.
Now, think about that. How can you inspire the visitor on your site or in-store to explore more products? It’s easier in-store when the staff can talk to the customer and show different options live. It might seem harder online, but it’s not! Make sure you work with personalized product recommendations on-site and work with inspirational pictures!
…but save the customer as much time as possible when you can
When it comes to things like lines, check out, online payment options, transactional emails, deliveries, and returns – time, and simplicity, is key! Make sure you do what you can to make your customers get a seamless, fast, experience.
#4 Offer knowledge to improve the customer experience
Like mentioned before, you need to work on the relationship with your customer after an actual purchase. That’s a big part of the experience. One way to work on this relationship is to offer knowledge and inspiration. Take the opportunity to offer knowledge in different forms, in different communication.
For example, when a customer has made a purchase – use that to send an email or a text with some valuable knowledge about how to take care of the product or how to use it. This will add a lot to the whole customer experience, and the customer will see that you are going that extra mile to get their loyalty.
Read more: What is brand loyalty and how do you reach it?
#5 Work on the unified commerce challenge
This has a bigger importance than you initially think. Because you might believe omnichannel is good enough, meaning you can communicate with your customer in many different channels. But the next step, which is unified commerce, is pretty much a must If you want to provide a real seamless experience. Because unified commerce means you are able to collect and store all the customer data from all the different channels – in one place. This means you can truly get to know the customers and act on it.
Omnichannel offers a good experience. And unified commerce offers the tool you need in order to meet the customers’ needs in all the different channels.
Here’s an example
78% of baby boomers have started to question why they shop from a specific brand because of the frustration they feel when they need to restart a conversation with the brand in a new channel. **
This is a common problem for many retailers because the different channels are handled within multiple systems that don’t sync the data. Using a platform that has unified commerce in mind, eliminates this problem. Because then it doesn’t matter which channel you communicate through – the data is there. And this offers fantastic opportunities for you to give the customer a great experience in all your channels!
Watch the video “How to optimize or create a loyalty program that stands out”
#6 Take care of your employees
Say what? Wasn’t this a blog post about customer experience? It is, but one thing that’s super important when it comes to CX is the customer service you provide. And this tip goes beyond fast response times and being helpful in emails and on the phone. Because the most crucial factor to be able to offer extraordinary customer service is your employees. So take care of your employees – show them that you care, educate them, and motivate them. Learn from the old expression “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers”. So make sure you start at the right end with your employees, and the customer experience will improve as well! Talk about win-win.
The importance of customer experience is at an all-time high! And it will not go down. You need to prioritize it and start sooner rather than later. Because customer expectations are high and you need to meet them to stay in the game!
*Numbers are taken from Klarna, Brightpearl, Business Wire