Do you know what your customers want?

They want to order everything online and have it dropped off at their door, right? Well, not exactly.

Leading shopping center Westfield interviewed leading experts and over 13,000 people across the UK and USA to show how emerging consumer trends will shape future stores.

While customers do want to shop online (and by shop, I mean shop or research),  that’s not all they want.

“Shoppers are looking to physical retailers to go beyond the transaction and provide richer experiences to the consumer.”

Forbes

So how do you go above and beyond being a typical retail store? How do you provide customers with experiences in addition to products?

Offer classes, services, and rentals.

“Shoppers are also increasingly seeing retail spaces as classrooms where they can learn new skills and build social networks, the research revealed. About a third of UK shoppers (35%) are interested in attending a lifestyle lesson or club at their favourite store.”

Forbes

The idea of offering classes, services, and rentals isn’t new. Many of you are probably already doing it and doing it well. So how do you go above and beyond if you are already going above and beyond by offering these classes, services, and rentals? You bring these benefits to the online shopping arena.

 

How to Bring Offline Services to the Online World – Web Rentals & Online Class Signup

The fact that customers begin their shopping experience online isn’t going away.

Source: Biz Report

But, the fact that these customers want interactive, real life experiences isn’t going away either.

“This is arguably the most exciting time in retailer history.  Retailers have to be brave and innovative, reacting to what shoppers will want in the future by offering genuine added value. Adopting classes and creating a full sensory experience creates a retail environment that cannot be replicated online.”

Myf Ryan, Chief Marketing Officer, Westfield UK and Europe

Because shoppers now begin shopping or researching online, but still want rich experiences, retailers need to find a way to meet both of these needs. Retailers can successfully meet these needs by having a website that allows online shoppers to reserve and pay for rentable items, and/or (hopefully and) sign up and pay for a class. Imagine what a great service you would provide for a customer wanting to take guitar lessons. She could rent a guitar, sign up for guitar lessons, and pay for both online, without leaving her seat. Then, she would come into your store excited to pick up her guitar, take her lesson, and check out the great products your store has to offer.

To accomplish this goal, retailers need to have class management software and rental management software that allows customers the luxury of signing up online. We recommend this rental management software and this class management software.  (It’s ours).

Make Customers Happy With Updated Inventory

In addition to offering online class signup and web rentals, retailers should also make sure their inventory is always up to date online and in-the-store. Customers want to (and should be able to) find a product on the retailer’s website, see that it is in stock, then visit the store to test it out and purchase it.

“A massive share of UK shoppers said that touch and feel, and trial of the products, was a main benefit of physical stores (73%).”

How do you ensure that your inventory is always up to date everywhere? Choose an inventory management system that pulls your data from one place, so everything is always in sync. Related Article: Read Choosing the Right Inventory Management Software For Your Business.

 

Be Excited To Be At The Top

Hopefully, these suggestions don’t overwhelm you, but excite you about the ways you can successfully meet the needs of your customers. Be excited to be at the top of your customers’ favorite store list by providing them with the products and services they need and want and by doing so online, and in the store.

Related Article: What Can Stop Amazon.com?

About Author

Holly Wade

Holly Wade is a lover of words and marketing. She can’t read great writing without smiling, and she can’t watch a commercial without analyzing its success as marketing content. She gets a little carried away every time she goes to the library, and she always sides with using the Oxford comma. She loves writing articles that help small retail businesses find success. She's been with Rain since 2010 after graduating from Brigham Young University.

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