When shopping online, consumers expect convenience and personalization. Ecommerce sales make up for more than 16% of total retail sales in the United States, a number that has more than tripled since 2007. With the continually increasing demand for online shopping, it’s crucial for retailers to optimize the customer journey.
Digital optimization is the key to providing an excellent customer experience online, but what about offline? Brick-and-mortar stores still make up the majority of retail sales, which means a strong CX is just as important in-store as it is online. Here are some ways you can optimize your CX both on and offline.
More than ever, customers expect a personalized experience when shopping online. According to Total Retail, 76% of shoppers also want personalized in-store experiences. While this may seem more attainable for online experiences, personalization is an achievable goal for stores as well. Online, retailers can leverage optimization software and strategy to customize every aspect of the shopper’s journey. In stores, brands can use loyalty programs to quickly identify customers at checkout and offer any applicable discounts.
Even more important is bridging the online and in-store experience so that it’s a seamless experience for the customer. Some ideas include linked inventory systems and omnichannel rewards programs. Having your online and in-store inventory systems connected is a simple way to let customers know where and when they can get their desired product. Of course, the in-store inventory should also hinge on location data to show availability at a customer’s preferred store. As for rewards programs, points and coupons should apply to both online and in-store purchases. Customers should be able to easily check their rewards status online or in-person, and they might even be inclined to purchase more items if they’re close to a reward.
Product recommendations are an excellent way to enhance CX and boost revenue in your online store. Recommendations show your customers that you’re paying attention to their shopping trends by putting the right products in front of them. These take your personalization efforts to the next level and have a much bigger impact on your bottom line.
Displaying popular items in high-traffic locations is one simple way to make product recommendations in-store. Popular product recs are the best way to appeal to a broader audience, making them perfect for new shoppers online or anyone in-store. Top-selling items are often displayed on mannequins or near the front of the store, where they will be seen by the majority of shoppers. Impulse racks or the register itself are two other great locations to display your popular items, and they allow employees to easily recommend products to customers.
Empathy in CX is more important than ever. Nine out of 10 consumers feel it is critical that brands show empathy through their core values and corporate social responsibility, according to CMSWire. By empathizing with your customers’ behaviors and trends, you can identify pain points and continuously create a better customer journey for them. This can be shown by optimizing UX, offering well-timed discounts, or even sending out non-promotional messages to show appreciation for your customers. When it comes to in-store experiences, empathy truly comes down to the employee experience. Treating your employees with kindness and giving them the tools they need to excel in their jobs will directly translate to your customer experience.