An experience your customers won’t forgetBY Australian Retailers Association
Retailers need to delve into their data and think outside the box, to give shoppers experiences and products they can cherish.Amazon may now be a major player in Australia’s retail space, but that doesn’t mean they’re taking over. For sure, buying commodities and ‘chore’ items will become easier and more streamlined because of Amazon and other fast-service retailers, but the experiential side of retail — the part that involves discovering great products, getting a personalised service, and socialising with others — won’t be going away.
Shoppers will still make their way to physical stores because they want to get experiences that they won’t find anywhere else. So how can retailers provide these unique shopping experiences? Firstly, through the shop floor, and secondly, through data and back-end insights.
Focus on your staff and shop floor to create the best in-store experience
Warm, welcoming, and intelligent retail employees are hard to find. That’s why if you can inspire your employees to bring their best selves to work and go above and beyond for your customers, you’ll effectively bring your store experience to the next level. Now, doing all that starts with investing in your workforce. Strive to be an attractive place to work by creating a fantastic store environment and by treating (and paying) your employees well.
Think about what kinds of events or initiatives you could bring to your store that your customers would love. Lululemon does this well by holdings yoga classes in-store, TJX also offers consumers a ‘treasure hunt’ experience, where shoppers are able to discover interesting products at great prices. These kinds of activities create a sense of community and fun within your store, and reward customers at the same time.
Personalisation will also be a key retail trend in the future of retail. This includes allowing shoppers to build products and customise them to the very last detail - like what Dresden is doing with its customisable glasses frames, with customers being able to design and choose their own frames. But it also involves knowing your customers, who they are and how they shop, so you can give the best, most personal service to each individual. And that’s where data comes in.
Use your data to know your stock, customers, and how you can improve
Your own store data can be a goldmine for insights on how to do better. Make sure you use a retail or POS system that can give you real-time, insightful data and spend time digging through past results to find trends and customer information you can use.
Take promotions for example. If you know the kinds of products each of your customers usually purchase, their likely preferences, or even the day they come in most frequently, you’ll be able to able to create personalised, targeted promotions to them. And even target VIP customers or newcomers to grow your loyalty base. This will create a far more unique and enjoyable experience for your customers, and drive them into your store - the right discount or perk can easily convince customers to buy from you.
Further, great insights can help you select and order in items that are most popular with your customers – ensuring they always find what they need (or perhaps something they didn’t know they needed!) which will keep them coming back. Determine your top sellers to figure out what your customers want, and then take steps to give people more of that going forward. Some retail systems may even provide smart insights which prompt you at different times and make suggestions on what you could be doing better. For example, Vend’s AI tool, Dott, tracks your data in real-time and makes friendly recommendations, such as ordering in more of an item, or suggesting a particular promotion to help you shift stock.
In short, maximising the customer experience in the future is about finding ways to know your customers better - through data and technology, and your staff doing a great job on the shop floor. If all these strategies are in place then you’ll be able to create a truly personal, easy and unique experience for your customers, to keep them coming back.
Dave Scheine is the Country Manager leading the APAC team at Vend, one of Australia’s leading cloud-based point-of-sale companies.
Vend, are on a mission to help local retailers gain access to better, more affordable retail technology, so they can more easily run and grow their businesses. Learn more at vendhq.com/au/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Australian Retailers Association
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.