As retail evolves, expanding channels and technology present great opportunities — and a lot of pressure — for brands to bring in stronger sales and more loyal customers. But no matter what channels and technologies your stores are adopting, the most important component for success has remained constant and become even more critical. That component? Your customers’ experience with your brand.
Here are a few key points — both on what’s proven to be important to customers, and how to make sure every one of your channels is exceeding expectations.
Only 13% of employees are engaged in their jobs — but companies with more engaged employees had 22% higher profitability, 10% higher customer ratings and 48% fewer safety accidents. The takeaway? Employee training isn’t just a good idea, it’s essential. Investing in your employees has a direct impact on your success with shoppers. Remember, whether online or in-store, your representatives are the front line for delivering an exceptional experience.
You probably know that it’s much easier to retain a loyal customer than to gain a new one, but did you realize a 10% increase in customer retention levels result in a 30% increase in your company’s value? When upwards of 90% of customers will stop patronizing your stores because they had a negative interaction, and for the few that return, it will take 10 positive experiences to undo the impact of that negative one, that value increase from retention seems even more critical. Every retailer should be absolutely focused on retaining their current customers through positive experiences — in addition to bringing in new shoppers. Speaking of:
3 in 5 Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience. That means there’s a huge opportunity to use exceptional service as a make-or-break selling point. Whether on your mobile app, customer support line, or in-store, people remember positive interactions — and their shopping decisions show it.
How many businesses do you know that are strictly brick-and-mortar? In 2015, probably not many. A mobile-optimized website is now practically essential for retailers. But having an online presence isn’t enough — it has to perform well. Retail sites lose 11% of conversion for every 1-second delay in load times. Customer experience online, just like in the store, is about speed of response as well as quality.
The last fact is often overlooked, but vital to success: Every business is a people business. No matter what your brick-and-mortar or online footprint is, whether you’re a small boutique or a large-scale corporate enterprise, the people you work with, employ, and cater to determine your sales. Whatever your business model, it’s essential to use the technology, data, and staff at your disposal to optimize your customer experience.