Creating a Memorable In-store Customer Experience
Written by: Sue LeClaire
Saturday afternoons have become a blur of starts and stops at different retail stores. By the time I arrive home, the only evidence of how I spent the last several hours are the bags of “stuff” my kids haul out of the trunk of the car and into the kitchen to be sorted and stored. The sad truth about running errands is that nothing stands out except for the trip to the coffee shop for a mid-shopping pick-me-up. Even buying a cup of coffee has become mundane.
Honestly, I’ve never looked forward to foraging for the necessities: groceries, dog food, dry cleaning, school supplies, home repair project materials, gifts for family & friend’s events … the list is endless.
So why can’t retailers make an effort to create a more memorable in-store customer experience? If they did, I can guarantee I will increase my purchases at their store and reduce time and money spent at other retailers. Following are some recent examples of why I look forward to shop at some retailers and makes me have second thoughts about shopping at others.
The Good. I was recently shopping in-store and received a mobile coupon that I was able to use that day during checkout. I’m sure it was coincidence (honestly, who cares) but what a nice surprise. In response, I purchased a few extra things knowing the money saved would cover the additional items (at least that is what I told myself).
One shopping experience the kids and I actually look forward to is the opportunity to sample new products. It’s a quick lunch for the kids (something I’m not proud of) and a chance to try new foods which usually means an extra bag of something in the cart. Perhaps if I received a coupon for the item in addition to the sample, two bags of something would find their way into the kitchen pantry.
The Bad. Waiting in line. Sometimes the sales associate is too busy catching up on last night’s gossip. Other times, the store is just understaffed or all on break at the same time. Regardless, it’s tedious to find myself in a line of people waiting to ask a simple question such as where to find something in the store. Getting an answer to a quick question should be easy. Perhaps a mobile version of the store layout or the ability to scan a QR code to locate detail product information could save me both time and my patience significantly improving the in-store customer experience.
The Embarrassing. Nothing like having your name bellowed out from the pharmacy department while waiting for a prescription to be filled because the pharmacist has a question. I just wandered away briefly to look at greeting cards. I returned to the counter embarrassed, smiling sheepishly at others waiting in line to pay for their purchases. Couldn’t they have sent me an SMS message requesting my presence back at the counter?
Armed with to-do lists, debit card and mobile phone, I want a stress-free shopping experience filled with a variety of readily available offers and information including the ability to comparison shop if need be using my mobile device. It’s a safe assumption that most people have their mobile devices with them, especially while shopping. Retailers should take notice and leverage their customer’s mobile devices to provide information and a much improves in-store customer experience. The end result: a happy customer is a loyal customer.