It’s one thing getting customers into your store with your marketing – it’s an entirely different ball game to create a unique in-store experience that keeps them coming back for more.
The debate on physical stores vs online retailing is one that has been discussed for many years, long before the pandemic took hold. And even though online sales have trumped in-store, we’ve learnt that consumers still very much crave the haptic shopping experience, but their expectations are much higher than before.
Let’s explore the different experiences that can be created in a retail store, their purpose and how in-store signage can help support its effectiveness.
Advice for creating an experience, not a store
Many brands have confused creating an in-store experience with simply remodelling their interiors. While modernising spaces can be beneficial for the customer, any drastic change should be backed by strategy and the data that informed that strategy. Here’s how to make sure your spaces hit the mark every time:
- When updating an existing space, gain shopper input and suggestions – their insight could help you shape new stores. You could gain this from incentivised surveys, digital experience buttons, or by having real conversations on the shop floor
- When planning every aspect of your store, think of it from a consumer-focused perspective. This means everything from ensuring your pricing is transparent, through to choosing the right curtains for your changing rooms
- Try to offer something unique. Whether that’s style matching, product demonstrations or areas dedicated to your brand’s purpose – bring something memorable to the table
- Ensure signage formats and selection allows for easy updating, window displays, in-store printed signs and digital screens need to remain current and interesting. A solution like BAM by Papirfly™ can be a valuable support here, enabling anyone to create and amend assets in a matter of minutes, so stores can immediately inform customers of new products and the latest offers
- Every square foot is an opportunity to sell, but that doesn’t mean every inch needs to be product space. Creating areas where customers can relax and socialise can be just as powerful for sales, and creates a pleasant brand experience they won’t forget. From in-store phone charging stations, through to sofas in the changing room, you want customers to feel right at home
- Even once a customer has made their selection and is ready to make a purchase, that doesn’t mean the deal is sealed. The checkout experience needs to be exceptional in order for your customer experience strategy to work. If a customer is greeted by a large queue or less-than-friendly associates, they may abandon their purchase and refrain from returning in the future
Help customers get the product they want, how they want it
In the age of Amazon Prime mentality, consumers often choose the delivery option that’s the quickest when ordering online. By bringing your physical stores into the online ordering process, you help to reinforce your brand’s physical presence while retaining convenience for your customers. Here are just some of the ways you can do this:
- Offer faster home delivery when the product is available in a local store
- Allow them to pick up orders from in-store, with the incentive of it arriving quicker
- If your store has substantial outside space, offer curbside pickup
- Give them the option to bring their online returns into the store – this allows them to choose a replacement product in-store, or spend their refund on an alternative purchase
- If a customer makes a large purchase in-store, give them the option of reserving their selection, paying in-store and getting it delivered to their home address
Understanding the in-store customer
Even once stores are being enjoyed by customers, that doesn’t mean the hard work stops there. It’s important to have methods of gathering fresh insight and making sure your spaces are landing well with your audience.
- Hold regular meetings with your sales team – they speak to customers every day and will understand their suggestions and gripes more than anyone
- Get corporate staff on the shop floor once in a while. It can act as a great training exercise for them and helps keep them grounded when making decisions and interpreting insight from the sales team – in-person observation can provide invaluable information
- Ensure everyone understands the ‘personality’ your brand is trying to portray – you want the customer to feel as though they’re with people that understand their needs and shopping for a brand that understands what they’re all about. BAM’s intelligent templates can help make it impossible for brand inconsistencies to creep in. Plus, it provides organisations with a single, central location to house all guidelines, so everyone working on your content knows exactly how to depict your brand’s identity
- You can’t target everyone, or you’ll spend a fortune trying to make people happy. Focus on your core demographic, think about what makes them smile, what they care about – use this as a foundation for your decisions and try not to lose sight of them as your core customer base when receiving feedback
Signage to support the customer experience
We’re inundated with signage and promotional materials in everyday life. So much so that we wouldn’t understand how much we need it until it’s gone. Signage needs to span multiple stages of the buyer journey, including:
- What makes them want to enter the store
- How they navigate around your store and find the products they need
- How they are led to new areas of the store to discover other product ranges
- What keeps them in the store
- The information available to them to help them make a purchase
- How their purchase is reinforced post-checkout
Here are our key categories of signage focus for every retail store:
The most important signage of all. Help customers easily find checkouts, changing rooms, exits, products and more through simple and clear signage. Signage that isn’t properly considered or placed throughout the store will leave consumers frustrated and encourage them to leave the store without making a purchase.
Finding the right balance of product promotion and your brand identity is a delicate art. Ensure these promotional spaces can be easily updated, and that there’s a process in-store for keeping on top of sales collateral. Leaving outdated campaigns up could leave consumers annoyed when products are no longer in stock.
Experience-led and interactivity
Where possible, use signage to make connections with customers. You might promote the store’s Spotify playlist, use QR codes to give customers access to exclusive content, provide free digital magazines while they’re chilling out, or games to keep children entertained while their parents shop. The possibilities are endless, but very much depend on your brand’s vision and messaging.
Making in-store experiences a reality
A retail store needs to run like clockwork in order to be successful, so tools for automation can help make the day-to-day more seamless. BAM by Papirfly™ gives you the tools to easily update digital and physical signage in-store, keep on top of campaigns and react quickly to customer demands.