There’s no doubt that online retail has had its fair share of flattering headlines this year. Hailed as the speediest, most convenient way to shop, it’s getting harder for bricks-and-mortar to compete.
However, there is something that the store can triumph in – and that’s personal service. While it may be easy to drop a few products into an online basket, the advice and expertise of knowledgeable in-store staff is something that can’t be matched.
Yet, it seems that 2015 may not have been the store’s finest hour. Our own research showed that there’s still much work to do to perfect the in-store experience:
- 37% of shoppers hate receiving inconsistent answers from staff
- 30% of consumers have abandoned a purchase because staff couldn’t answer their question
- 5 minutes is the maximum time customers will wait for a query to be answered before leaving the store
That leaves retailers with a very short window of time to wow the shopper. If they don’t do just that, they risk losing a once loyal customer – one who will no doubt share their negative experience with family and friends.
However, with a New Year comes a new chance to change bad habits. So why not make 2016 the year to perfect your in-store service? It all starts with giving your staff the tools to succeed:
Invest in training
60% of customers believe knowledgeable staff deliver better customer service. Yet, with changing layouts, new products and time-sensitive offers to contend with, it’s no wonder that your workforce may be left confused. Communication is key here; ensure each member of staff is briefed at the start of their shift, alerting them to anything that may have changed since they were last there.
21% of shoppers want sales associates to be given point of sale technology. And, it’s a request that will make life a lot easier for your staff. Allowing them to walk the floor with a tablet in hand, ensures they will always be ready for that tricky customer question. They’ll be able to check things such as product information and stock availability at the touch of a button, before finalising the purchase with a speedy payment.
22% of consumers would like to see more digital information points in store. There are a number of reasons why your staff might be unavailable for customer queries – whether the queue is too long or they’re locating an order, for example. The point is, sometimes a shortage of sales associates to give a helping hand is out of your control. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that shoppers can help themselves if need be. In-store kiosks are idea, as it presents shoppers with an alternative information source when a staff member isn’t free.
Competing with the fast-growing world of ecommerce is no easy job for stores, certainly if they don’t have the right toolkit to support them. And, of course, implementing the above suggestions will help get 2016 off to a promising start – but without a reliable WiFi connection, your New Year’s resolution for a better store experience will soon be broken.
For more information about successful in-store communication, read our report – ‘Why retailers and customers are becoming disconnected by the store network.’