Personalisation in retail offers a valuable opportunity to instigate meaningful conversations with your customers. Your business and brand will mean different things to different people. Engaging with customers on a human level by acknowledging their individuality will boost satisfaction, a precursor to improving customer retention.
- Offer experiences in store, such as makeovers, product demos or masterclasses.
- Collect customer data where you can, such as newsletters and competition sign ups.
- Use data analytics to record customer preferences through your website and loyalty modules.
In the past personalisation would have meant knowing a customer's name, greeting them with a smile with their order bagged up ready on the counter. As our towns and cities have expanded it’s no longer possible to foster personal relationships with each and every customer. However, independent retailers are well placed to replicate this intimate relationship by creating an informal and welcoming environment. An environment corporations spend millions manufacturing. This establishes the foundation for an enjoyable shopping experience, where customers feel comfortable handling products and browsing at their leisure. This relaxed atmosphere is the catalyst that turns browsers into buyers.
Retail Weeks 2017 report suggests retailers should consider their physical stores as ‘experience centres’. An anonymous CEO from the survey said, “What customers are looking for is a great experience when they go out, rather than just shopping. You need to give them an experience.” By showcasing your products in action, or by offering a service, you encourage natural customer interaction with your staff, increasing the opportunities for a sale.
Consider what you can offer, or do for your customers to enrich their shopping experience. If you sell cosmetics, why not offer makeovers? This experience gives customers a first-hand experience of your products and allows staff to build rapport, affording them a great upsell opportunity. By tailoring the experience to a specific customer you show them how the product would fit in their life. Another example would be to provide customers with additional insight, tips or conduct product demonstrations. Are there any practical skills associated with your business sector your customers could benefit from? Hardware stores, garden centres, fashion retailers can all offer their customers valuable information. Anything to optimise or improve the lives of your customers will ensure your brand is viewed in a positive light, stimulating buying behaviours.
Running a loyalty module is a great tool for capturing customer data while rewarding repeat custom. Epos Now's Swipii integration sends out personalised email campaigns specific to customers' buying behaviours, ensuring they only get the offers relevant to them.
It’s increasingly important for the customer's online interactions to be as engaging as those in store. Web sites and social media platforms act as a 24/7 brochure for your business. Building an online portfolio and expanding your social footprint is key to getting people engaged with your brand when they’re away from your physical store. This sentiment is mirrored in the thoughts of retail execs surveyed in Retail Weekly’s report; “Understanding people's preferences and making a message relevant to them is getting more and more important because no one wants to sift through hundreds of emails that are not relevant to them. We want to tailor the messages ever more closely to the individual.”
Employing website data analytics allows you to offer a personal shopping experience, tailoring the content you present to your customer according to their wants and needs. Collecting and storing this information allows you to see what customers are searching for. You can examine user behaviour and introduce automated tools which will alter the presentation of your website depending on who is looking at it and their viewing history.
With customer expectations higher than ever before, surpassing them is the only way to get noticed. Again, offering your customers something in return for their browsing time can reduce basket abandonments. Sharing tips, discussing trends and inspiring choices tempt shoppers to part with their cash. Tailoring this advice to customer preferences proves even more effective.
Customer satisfaction is key to improving customer retention. Jo Causon, the CEO of The Institute of Customer Service applauds an initiative that improves the customer experience. “By delivering an increase of 10% in its customer satisfaction score, an organisation can expect on average an increase of 12% in the trust ratings from its customers. This, in turn, has a positive effect on the reputation of an organisation.”
Blend your on & offline offering
Try and capture customer information where you can, both online and in store, such as an email sign up sheet or on the counter and your website. This will provide great marketing opportunities down the line and allow you to tailor content to customers throughout the year. Seasonal holidays, birthdays and topical events throughout the retail calendar provide generous opportunities to recommend an array of products specific to your customers.
If customers are reluctant to give their details try running a competition. People like to feel they're getting something in return for their details, so the opportunity to win a prize can sweeten the deal. Competitions run over social media also increase your brand reach and exposure. Make sure the prize is relevant and desirable to encourage a large volume of people to enter.