Offering the right products to your customers is no longer enough to attract them to your stores because let’s face it… consumers have retail options around every corner and virtually infinite online choices at their fingertips. According to Deloitte, in 2018, “Market growth is projected to reach a healthy 3.2 to 3.8 percent.” This is why enhancing the in-store shopping experience for your customers is a must. There’s a catch, however. In order for independent retailers who want to compete with the immersive and high-tech experiences that many mega-chains offer, it’s critical they think creatively to find ways to appeal to their demographics that will attract customers to their businesses.
To get you started, here are five ideas that you can implement to enhance your customers’ experience.
1. Encourage Customers to Choose Their Ambiance
There is a reason that Starbucks has invested a great deal of energy and money into providing music that resonates with its customers. Music affects our mood and our behaviors. According to a recent study in Psychologist World, music can “reinforce a message and emphasize the influence of the entire, holistic shopping experience on customer behavior.” You can take this a step further by allowing customers to choose their own shopping music by wall-mounting a music streaming device such as an iPad or a small digital jukebox. Choosing music is entertaining in itself, and customers will want to continue shopping to hear their music selections being played.
2. Create Recycling Opportunities
From dropping off rechargeable batteries at Best Buy to turning in bags of old clothes at Bon-Ton’s Goodwill Sale, the opportunity to recycle unwanted items motivates people to cross the threshold of retail stores and stock up on what they need to replace the recycled goods. Take a cue from these big-box merchants and introduce your own recycling event. Just be sure that this event relates to both your products and your brand. If you’re an art supply store, for example, you can offer proper disposal of old paint and sweeten the deal by offering a discount on new products for customers who bring in old products to be recycled. Philanthropy is a prime motivator for customers who feel good about helping the environment – and along the way, they’ll feel good about spending money in your store, as well.
3. Provide Interactivity to Children
Motivate children and their parents to move around your store by inviting children to vote for their favorite games and toys. Provide each child that comes into the store with several ballots to cast in ballot boxes placed throughout your floor plan. This will encourage families to spend time in more of the aisles of your location, and children will be interested by the games and toys that get votes from their peers. Collectively, these efforts can help expand their interest in your products… and help expand more word-of-mouth discussions about your store, as well. Take it one step further by promoting a prize from the votes cast.
4. Post and Project Customer Photos
Whether your customers use your products to enhance their outdoor decks or to deck themselves out for prom, you can generate customer loyalty by requesting and then posting pictures of your customers interacting with your merchandise. Once received, you can then display customer images on a large-screen TV or go old-school by posting photographs on a bulletin board in a prominent place in your store. Not only will this create a feeling of belonging for your featured customers, but it will show others new ways to use your products. You can take this activity to the next level by allowing customers to vote on who used the product in best way – as well as sharing these images on social media.
5. Amp Up Product Testing
According to Census Data from late 2017, 90 percent of retail sales still happened in-store. Take advantage of your customers’ affinity for trying products before buying by creating a product-testing event. From test-driving bicycles to trying on hats, customers are attracted to a structured moment to test and compare what’s on your shelves. Even if your store regularly offers samples of candy, for example, you can advertise Taste Test Tuesday and offer five tastes per customer. This will get people in the door and clamoring for more of your products. Ask customers to share their opinions with others through posted product reviews to inspire even more involvement and customer loyalty.
In conclusion, these examples of how to enhance your customers’ in-store experience show that robot greeters and interactive mirrors aren’t the only ways to bring people into your store, to keep them there longer, and to encourage sales. You need to be creative to attract and keep loyal customers… taking your inventory and brand into consideration to create a unique event that appeals to your unique target audience in an effort to promote your business and increase sales.
Take advantage of ASD Market Week’s 90+ free retail strategy sessions this March 11-14, 2018 in Las Vegas.
By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, RetailMinded.com