It is not surprising that the COVID pandemic has accelerated the digitization of shopping. Lockdowns and the fear of infection caused shopping in physical stores to become unattractive. However, relying entirely on digital channels would not be the right approach because shoppers enjoy and value components of brick-and-mortar shopping. We reveal what attracts customers to physical stores despite digital offerings.
- Continue to meet your customers’ expectations.
What we have already identified as the secret ingredient of an outstanding customer experience is just as true in the area of fashion and fashion as it is in all other industries: Keep your promises. Customers go into a store with expectations. When they enter a luxury store, they want advice and special treatment; when they visit an outlet or discount store, they are looking for bargains. It is for this reason that some upscale brands produce special goods only for outlet centers.
- Master the basics.
Nothing is more important in fashion than the “try-on experience.” Who wants jeans that don't fit or shoes that are too tight? Many people prefer to try clothes on in the peace and quiet of their own home - a clear advantage for online shopping. But this preference doesn't have to be a disadvantage for physical retailers. Just make sure your fitting rooms are clean, convenient and attractive and that your return/ exchange process is quick and easy.
- The time is now!
Either you “move with shifting sands of time, or the sands of time shift over you.” It sounds harsh, but it has to be said: Retailers that have not continuously improved their stores and shopping experience over the last decades shouldn't be surprised if sales fail to materialize. Target markets and shopping preferences change over time. Innovations like same-day delivery make it superfluous to go to the store to buy basic everyday items.
The changes in the retail landscape makes it all the more important that you stand out with value-added services and create an elevated experience.
- Know the Journey.
Order Online for Store Pickup, Omni-Channel, Multi-Channel - who can keep track of all the ways to offer and deliver your goods and services? When brick-and-mortar stores and online shops run in parallel, it is important to know all the precise components of the customer journey and to ensure that there is consistency and satisfaction at every interaction. Take the time to work through all the options in the buying process - up to 30 different paths can arise on the customer journey. If you know each and every one of them, you will identify weak points and continuously improve the customer experience.
- Observe, identify, and improve.
Are you already driving innovative strategies to satisfy your customers? Wonderful, but do you also know whether everything is executed as planned to delight your customers? A customer experience program can map the most diverse possibilities and pitfalls of the customer journey and constantly audit them. In this way you can pinpoint areas for improvement and ensure that your customers enjoy a perfect experience whichever iteration of the customer journey they take.