To succeed in 2018 and beyond, suggests The Retail Doctor, you’ll have to look for innovative ways to reach customers where they are and engage them in new ways that prompt them to buy from you.
Starbucks, for example, is experimenting with new ways to help customers avoid long lines with Mobile Order & Pay. While the path from concept to implementation has been a tad bumpy, the brand’s willingness to experiment is a key factor.
“Test, experiment, measure and iterate. Starbucks is working through the digital transformation as any retailer should be doing,” said Adrian Weidmann, Principal at StoreStream Metrics. “This is a new world and the instructions can’t be found in a textbook (yet!). Learning and adapting is key to success.”
It’s easy to scoff at new ideas and worry about how they will present new problems in your business processes, but you can’t avoid the occasional bump in the road and, like Starbucks, you have to be willing to try. The brand’s willingness to test new tools and techniques helped them tap into a very basic human need and has raised the expectations of consumers for the short delivery of on-demand purchases.
Not sure how to implement creative ideas that will better cater to customers and help boost your retail sales? Read on for 4 ways to do it:
4 Innovative Ways to Increase Retail Sales
1. Meet Your Customers Where They Are
While Domino’s Pizza was established back in 1960, they’re always experimenting with new ways to remain relevant and stay connected to their customers. One of the company’s recent marketing ideas allows customers to place orders that are delivered to parks, beaches, and other non-residential / non-commercial locations.
Dominos is trying to make it easy to order through Twitter, text messages and Amazon’s voice-activated Echo, with delivery locations showing up in the company’s app and website as “Domino’s Hotspots.” As long as customers have a GPS, they can get their pizza anywhere.
Mobile devices have made it easier than ever to reach customers where they are. Take advantage of mobile’s reach and start implementing ways to sell convenience and increase revenues.
2. Use Technology to Increase Knowledge of Your Customers
According to Digital Trip, machine-learning technologies—when used effectively—can help identify customer behavior patterns that are far more important than basic demographics.
Lolli & Pops, a curator of fine candies and confections, is experimenting with facial-recognition programs in their stores. This technology allows the company’s sales associates to view VIP shopper preferences—and even information such as allergy problems—so they can efficiently offer new options and quickly locate old favorites.
Feel like this is over the top and/or too big an investment (and maybe a little invasive)? Not to worry, there are other technologies—and even non-digital ways—you can incorporate to enhance the customer’s journey and forge meaningful experiences that are hard to forget.
3. Make Sure Shopping with Your Brand is Seamless Across All Channels
HubSpot cites the example of a U.K. fashion retailer (Oasis), that has fused their e-commerce site, mobile app, and brick-and-mortar stores into a simple and consistent shopping experience.
Shoppers entering an Oasis store will find sales associates armed with iPads that can offer on-the-spot, accurate, and up-to-date product information. Additionally, the iPad acts as a point of sale, making it easy for associates to ring customers up from anywhere in the store.
If it appears that a particular product is out of stock, the staff instantly places an online order for the customer to have the item shipped directly to their home.
Now that’s an integrated shopping experience that comes with a cherry on the top!
4. Develop Customer Experiences for Individuals
ModCloth has mastered the art of tapping into individual customer needs and motivations, clearing the way for them to confidently place in-store or online purchases.
At the brand’s Austin and San Francisco stores, shoppers work with an in-person stylist and have an introductory consultation that covers personal style, wardrobe goals, and budget. The ModCloth stylist takes detailed measurements and gives a guided tour around the showroom to highlight the best styles and fit for the customer based on individual body type and preferences.
These consultations are free, with zero purchase obligation. The customer is free to shop the brand’s website or store locations with confidence that whatever they purchase will be a great fit. This attention to individual shoppers makes the customer’s path to purchase less time-consuming and doubt free.
As consumers change their behaviors, retailers will need to react with increasingly innovative ways to engage their customers and nudge them toward the purchase.
Retail sales should involve a lot more creativity than most people assume. The fact is, if you want to stay ahead of the competition, it’s imperative that you embrace some outside-the-box thinking and find ways that not only make you stand out but compel people to buy from you.
Don’t fixate too much on technology. Incorporate digital tools where it makes sense for your business objectives and budget, but remember that there are plenty of things you can do now to leave an impression on new visitors and regular customers to improve their experiences.
Focus on that, and the sales will follow!