It’s no surprise that consumers around the world will collectively spend $2.842 billion online by the end of 2018 — as stores continue to remove themselves from the high street and opt for digital alternatives. As more ecommerce websites continue to rise in numbers, spend is set to increase further to $4.878 billion by 2021.
You can’t deny that businesses are dropping off our streets; with iconic brands like Toys R Us shutting their doors for good and the likes of Poundworld following suit. With more people venturing online to do their shopping, no business is safe.
What do your customers expect?
Customers now expect the same level of service they receive online when walking into a store. You need to fully optimise your service to make sure the reality lives up. If not, you could find yourself closing down stores and letting staff members go.
With shopping online, unless it’s buying event tickets, you don’t encounter any queues, and even if you do, you can go grab a cup of coffee whilst the virtual timer clicks down. But in a store, the physical queues which lie ahead of you can make you as stressed as road traffic does, which is already an advantage of staying at home rather than going into a store to do the shopping.
Research has suggested that customers are only willing to spend 13 minutes in the store before being served. Although this may seem like a high waiting time, businesses around the world are still trying to improve this area of their operations and make great changes to ensure that no customer is ever disappointed with their service.
With this, it’s crucial that you make the most out of the customers time in store and tailor the service to make their visit worthwhile.
Businesses that have not had a focus on this area of their business reported that they lost 75 per cent of their customers due to lengthy waiting times; which of course led to a decrease in business opportunities. Customers that do not have an enjoyable experience with your business will not likely return.
Waiting times tend to increase if retail businesses do not have modern queuing systems in place. 50 per cent of people believe waiting in a queue is irritating, so if you’re not already looking to introduce such systems in place — you could face bigger problems as a business.
What retail businesses can do
If you’re looking to make the most out of your sales process and enhance your retail performance, you must focus on customer personalisation. You should have an aim to deliver an efficient customer experience from the moment someone arrives at a store up until when they leave. Enhancing the customer experience is all about adopting new technologies that can streamline all processes across an organisation.
Is your point of sales (POS) system efficient? You need to invest in a POS that has the ability to drive results and also give you greater visibility over your business inventory; it can often be hard to strike the perfect balance.
What makes your business better than your competitors? It all comes down to the in-store experience, so you should make it your mission to ensure that someone is always on hand to help with any queries someone may have about a product or service. Although customers do tend to wait a generous 13 minutes before leaving; that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your best to serve them as quickly as possible.
With more compatible systems in place, you will help improve the consumer experience and enhance employee efficiency. This in turn will generate continuous results when implementing new solutions or upgrading current technologies – something which often takes time to adopt.
Through a focus on queue management, you’ll be able to streamline the flow of people who visit your store in an efficient and less stressful way. From this, you’ll be able to create upsell opportunities and offer a more tailored experience to your customers if integrated across different areas of the business.
As well as this, you will be able to gain greater control over your inventory and make more informed decisions quickly. In effect, it removes the need to go back and forth manually to check the availability of products. As well as this, you’ll be alerted when it’s time to restock your inventory, which can remove the need of constant monitoring; allowing you to always be prepared for popular store times.
Through intense business intelligence consultancy, you’ll be able to adapt your methods to become more efficient across your business. This can be achieved through customer identification; knowing why they’re visiting your store and what they want from you. With this, a ripple effect is created and the flow of traffic across the store is improved.
Jonny Mackley, copywriter, Maplewave
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