Customers can find and purchase almost any item online today, and over the course of a year, spend about $1,800 on these orders. However, the traditional brick-and-mortar business can successfully compete with the digital store. It’s the overall in-store experience that can make or break the customer relationship and translate to a significant increase in sales. Improve the in-store experience for your customers and you will increase conversion rates.
#1. First Impressions
First impressions impact customers in many ways, from an eye-catching front window display to the friendly greeting of a store associate. Because it’s common for shoppers today to first check out products online, their in-store experience must meet and exceed expectations if conversion rates are to be improved. Customers’ first impressions influence their decisions to move further into the store, engage with employees, and select items for purchase.
Here are 5 things that immediately deter a customer:
- Dark, shadowy lighting
- High-volume background music
- Unusual or unpleasant smells
- Dirt or excessive clutter
- Overly aggressive or “hiding” employees
#2. Employee Attitude Makes a Difference
Your sales associates are the public face of your business and/or brand. Their attitude has the power to make or lose a sale, or even make or lose a long-term customer. One of the main advantages physical stores have over digital is the personal touch. If your employees come across as angry, unhappy, ambivalent or uninformed about the products, you lose sales. A well-trained, knowledgeable and personable sales associate helps improve conversion rates and helps establish a loyal customer base.
#3. Customer Engagement
Employee attitude combines with visual merchandising and works to create unbeatable customer engagement, leading to increased sales. A friendly but not invasive greeting by associates, followed with an accessible presence is a good start. Have associates follow up with specifics such as, “Can I take those items to a dressing room for you?” or “Would you like to see how this product works?”
In addition to personal engagement, consider displays that encourage interaction. Shoppers shouldn’t be afraid to feel fabrics or pick up a small appliance to test its weight or comfort in hand. That physical connection is something a digital store can’t offer. Make the most of it. If you have display items that can’t be handled by customers, place them behind glass.
#4. Seamless Integration of Physical and Digital Store
Make your website available to your in-store customers via a kiosk or display. This allows shoppers to browse additional products or their variants that may not be available in-store. One of your helpful associates can assist them, placing an order for the item. The order may be paid for in-store and then shipped to the customer’s home.
#5. The Allure of Special Events
Special events are a good way to attract new customers and offer loyal customers something unexpected and exciting. Event ideas may include but are not limited to:
- Entertainment: music, fashion show, character/celebrity meet-and-greet
- Charity functions or community events (example: animal shelter pet adoption day held in a pet store)
- Hands-on events or in-store classes
#6. Reduce Checkout Abandon
One of the biggest draws to online shopping is the checkout experience — no long lines, no waiting, no hassle. If the in-store checkout wait times are long, items are abandoned and sales lost. To reduce checkout abandon in your store, begin by having multiple registers available. During busy periods, consider mobile checkout using associates on the floor. A queue line that’s orderly helps as well, as does in-line engagement by having an associate available to direct traffic, answer questions or offer coupons for future visits.
As customers are diverse, it’s essential to consider multiple techniques to help improve their overall in-store experience. From a shift in your employees’ attitudes to a speedy checkout or spotless dressing room, you can make changes that will drive higher conversion rates.
This is a guest post by Roy Rochberg from UDIZINE Modular Store Displays.