In order to succeed in 2018, retailers absolutely must connect with their customers on a much deeper level than product. Gone are the days where the sole focus of a store is merchandise. Today, customer's crave and expect a fully formed experience, one that engages them personally and sticks with them. Find out what that means and how to measure it in your store.The overall retail experience is becoming a major differentiator for customers. According to Gartner research, 89% of companies now expect to compete mostly based on customer experience up from 36% just four years ago. Within the next 5 years, customer experience or CX will be the primary competitive driver for repeat business. Customers want a feel good experience the minute they walk in the door, which means everything, from the music to the marketing, must engage and delight. Otherwise, in today's ultra-competitive retail landscape, getting people back in the door can be difficult. The first step is understanding your customers, deeply.
86% of consumers state they would pay more for a better customer experience.
We can guess what our customers want, but ultimately you must ask directly. Whether you formally survey or have informal conversations with customers, it is imperative to make sure that you leave your bias at the door and really listen to what they have to say. Being 100% honest about what drives business is a critical step for retailers. Scott Smith, Director of Operations at Management One, a global retail consultancy, stresses that relying on gut instinct to drive decisions is all too common in retail. “In order to grow, retailers need to move away from relying on emotion when making strategic decisions and add in measurement. The customer is what really drives all decision making from inventory through marketing.”
The good news is that today, POS software acts as a hub or engine for all retail store operations especially customer management. It is more economical than ever for small and mid-size retailers to have the tools and features they need to collect, analyze and act on data. This is the intelligence you need to know what truly makes your customer's happy. You can build a CX strategy using the customer data you collect whether it's sales history or margin, favorite brands, event attendance or demographic details.
Using this insight, your team must provide coordinated customer service, experience and engagement touch points and collect the right data to drive all three. When they are delivered in tandem through positive interactions, the customer begins to experience an emotional connection with your brand and it becomes much easier to gather data and perpetuate a repetitive and positive customer lifecycle.
But, how do you evaluate and measure customer experience in your store? In their annual “Customer Experience Index, " Forrester surveyed over 118,000 U.S. adult consumers, examining 6 factors when measuring the "best of the best" retailers in customer experience. Understanding how experts measure customer experience can provide a simple framework for devising your 2018 customer strategy.
6 Benchmarks for Measuring the Retail Customer Experience
Effectiveness How much value your in-store experience delivers to customers.
Ease How easy is it to interact with your store throughout the customer journey.
Emotion How good customers feel about their interactions with your store.
Retention The likelihood of repeat business.
Enrichment The level to which customers will buy additional products and services.
Advocacy Whether or not customers will share their experience organically through media or word of mouth.
Taking a baseline measurement for each of these factors, on a scale of 1-10, will help you benchmark where you are today. Using these criteria you can begin to build a 2018 customer experience plan that addresses each of these measurements. Share with your team and build operational, sales and marketing programs/processes that align with your overall strategy. Then measure repeatedly and discover where you are improving, always remembering to ask the customer directly!
Learn how Springboard Retail's CRM features can help drive your customer experience strategy.