Nothing about the last two years in retail has been predictable. Some stores shut down completely, some scaled back, while others had their best year ever. It’s hard to put into a formula what worked and what didn’t in such a crazy time period. We know essential goods sold really well. We know luxury items unexpectedly did well because unused travel dollars were spent within certain retail segments such as jewelry and luxury goods. We also know just about all of us got sick of ordering stuff online. We wanted to be out of the house and back into stores, talking to people, experiencing merchandise, looking for free samples, and even getting advice from sales associates on new hotness.
And now we are mostly back to normal (whatever normal is) without shopping habits. Demand has roared back and we’re seeing shortages everywhere due to supply chain snags and inflation cutting into our budgets.
Through it all, here’s a few things we’ve learned:
Now more than ever, we want somebody in the store to talk to.
We want somebody they can trust. Nothing beats a face-to-face experience. We get recommendations, options, choices we would not see if you were shopping online. We like the special treatment that comes with being in a store.
And we carry those expectations with us outside the store.OK, that seems a little unreasonable, but yes, consumers want that same instore special treatment after they leave a store.
We need to feel like we belong.
The customer experience ultimately all comes back to emotional needs. Psychologists tell us that humans only have a few basic needs beyond food, water, sleep, and shelter. We need to connect with other humans(yes, even introverts). We need to be respected and loved. We need to belong.Every successful human interaction is based on one of these emotional needs.
So, how does this relate to the buying experience? In-store, we can feel like we belong and can connect and feel respected.
What is the next best thing to the in-person experience?
How do you extend the in-store experience outside the brick and mortar?
Regular communication beyond the four walls of the store that is honest and maintains trust and connection creates a loyal bond. Keep that communication centered on what the consumer cares about. This is tricky because customers care about looking good, about impressing cohorts or friends, about making a loved one or friend happy. Again, they have an emotional need to connect, and you have the product that helps them do that.
The average sales associate interacts with roughly one-hundred people a day. Giving them a quality 10 minutes is hard enough in-store, let alone extending things beyond the store. How is it possible to clientele at scale?
This is where we can help. Clientbook automates the personalization process. That means sales associates spend less time trying to guess which product is best for which customer or when to reach out. We keep track of all that for you. We even send the texts out for you---timed to when the client is most likely to buy.
Being personal and trust are the keys that will make the relationship grow stronger, and that just reinforces the emotion and psychology of the consumer buying experience.