While things in the brick-and-mortar retail world have been stressed in the last few years, rumors of its complete and utter demise at the (virtual) hands of e-commerce have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, some types of businesses like pharmacies, beauty supply stores, and home improvement stores are thriving, and even bookstores are coming back from the dead thanks to a renewed focus on customer experience and online integration.
If you’re at the helm of a brick-and-mortar retail store, then obviously your goal isn’t merely to survive — it’s to thrive. With this in mind, here are three ways to delight your customers and keep them coming back year after year:
1. Turn Traditional Sales Staff into Consultants
Today’s customers expect and want a personalized, engaging shopping experience vs. one that is purely transactional. Yet despite this, many brick-and-mortal retail operations are, essentially, big vending machines. That is, they expect customers to do most (or sometimes all) of the work finding and comparing products, and then figuring out how to use them to get full value and benefits.
Turning traditional sales staff into consultants turns this around, and closes the gap with customers in a way that websites simply cannot match. In addition to creating a memorably positive sales experience, this approach also boosts customer loyalty, and average customer value (i.e. customers buy more).
2. Launch Loyalty Programs
All brick-and-mortar retail stores — regardless of the sector or marketplace — should borrow a strategy from the credit card company playbook and offer a strong, customer-focused loyalty program. This is proven way to help retailers remain top-of-mind, and it’s also an excellent touchpoint for staff to engage customers (and activate the strategy discussed above).
3. Shorten or Avoid Line-Ups
Even customers who prefer to shop in retail stores vs. online — and there are a surprising and growing number of these folks — get frustrated at the idea of lingering in a long line-up. A great way to shorten or avoid lines is to use mobile point-of-sale technology, such as the pharmacy pos solution created by Retail Management Solutions (visit rm-solutions.com for more details). With this technology, staff can quickly a credit/debit card cash register anywhere in the retail environment. If they offer curb-side delivery, they can even take payments outside.
The Bottom Line
While the brick-and-mortar retail world is changing and more disruption is on the way, it’s certainly not disappearing from the face of the business landscape. Business owners and other decision-makers who use smart strategies and advanced technology can look forward to not just surviving, but thriving!