To compete with ecommerce, brick-and-mortar retailers must continue to recognize the importance of a customer-centric, in-store experience. Developing and maintaining this mentality strengthens customer relationships and increases sales and loyalty. Establishing a culture that revolves around customer experience starts with hiring and training great employees, but it doesn’t stop there.
We’ve found that these are high-impact ways to create and maintain an in-store customer experience that rivals ecommerce.
Hire Knowledgeable Employees and Give Them Proper Training
Having knowledgeable employees is one way to quickly establish trust with customers. Ecommerce sites establish trust through customer reviews, but in-store employees have the advantage of establishing authenticity, sharing their opinions on products, and answering questions in real-time. The ability to have a conversation with someone can also lead to opportunities to suggest alternative products and up-sell the customer. This interaction is especially useful for big-ticket items, which many customers may be hesitant to purchase without receiving validation of their decision or exploring other options.
In addition to product knowledge, employees must be familiar with the store’s layout, inventory areas, and inventory availability. Being able to quickly help customers find what they are looking for contributes to a sense of convenience — something that customers have come to expect thanks to the ease of online shopping. Most online sites are also able to show what’s available for purchase, so it’s important to replicate that experience in-person as well. Employees should also have easy access to storage and merchandise rooms to quickly retrieve products or more information for customers.
Maintain a Clean and Organized Space
Ecommerce is not only convenient, but it’s also comfortable. Customers can browse, research, and purchase in the comfort of their own space. Many retail stores have crafted their own in-store experiences (think coffee bars and personal shoppers), but even more important than a unique experience is the cleanliness of the store.
An organized, uncluttered, and clean store is not only inviting, but it also makes it easier for customers to find what they need — and even things they might not know they need. Employees should be trained in ways to maintain this order. Common procedures include returning misplaced items to their proper location or regularly checking restrooms for messes or low levels of supplies.
Hold Employees Accountable
Having knowledgeable, properly trained employees and clean facilities are keys to retail success, but it must be an ongoing effort. Onboarding, continued training, and regular reviews are starting points, but retail managers may need additional assurances their employees are making every effort to maintain a customer-centric environment.
The best access control systems connect a variety of door locks and give managers the ability to track and monitor access on an individual basis. When employees know their credentials are individually administered and can be monitored, they are less likely to engage in suspicious behavior or shirk their responsibilities. Managers can keep their store secure and know who didn’t restock the restroom supplies or who has been excessively visiting merchandise storage areas.
EdgeState is a cloud-based access control software that not only integrates with existing locks, but it also provides retail managers with everything they need to hold their employees accountable. From being able to individually administer credentials to controlling locks from a dashboard on your smartphone or computer, using EdgeState is just one more thing that makes it easier to focus on the important things — like pleasing your customers.