Have you ever asked yourself, “What is the value that I provide to my customers?” Keep in mind, value isn’t all about price. Rather, value may come in the form of the overall shopping experience at your store, interactions with sales team associates or the types of add-on services you offer to the consumer.
A lot can impact the perceived value that your store provides. Here are 12 tips to quickly add value in this fast-paced retail environment.
1. Make a Lasting First Impression
A consumer’s first impression of your business could be your website, the store exterior, their first steps through your front door or all of the above. The bottom line here is that you need to keep it fresh. That goes from creating an inviting and appealing display that grabs the attention of your customer, to keeping your website’s homepage up to date with the latest offers and more.
2. Pick the Right People
Despite the increasing role of technology, retail remains a people business. Identifying, understanding and caring for customers’ needs is the key to long–term success. In turn, staffing your store and business with a team of people who understand how important a role they play in the success of your business is equally as important.
3. Create an In-Store Experience
Design your store to steer your customers to the right side of the entryway. Studies show most folks look to the left, then right when entering a store. Shoppers usually prefer to move right and walk counterclockwise around the store. It’s most effective to angle your aisles, keeping them wide enough for consumers to navigate. Create breaks and utilize end caps while keeping your sight lines open.
4. Stay Open 24/7
Your online store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Customers are shopping every hour of every day. With so much information available at their fingertips, consumers today have many options when it comes to making a purchase. It’s no surprise that price is a major factor when it comes to what and where they ultimately decide to buy. Research shows that consumers visit multiple sites and look at product reviews, videos, pricing and more in the decision-making process. And, 85% of shoppers want to see pricing online before making a purchase. In fact, if you aren’t showing pricing on your website, most people assume your price is too high, and you’re removed from their consideration.
5. Promote Value
Don’t chase your competition; be ahead of the game. Be innovative, strategize, communicate, have a mission and take responsibility. Don’t be afraid to let your customers know what it is that makes you different from, and better than, the competition. You may think your store speaks for itself, but there is no harm in preaching the value of your business to the people who walk through your front door. Tell your story!
6. Be Ready for the Duress Shopper
Every hour of every day, consumers are faced with a broken dishwasher, washer or refrigerator that they cannot live without. These shoppers make up the bulk of today’s appliance customer, and very rarely will they wait for a special promotional offer to come around. They are faced with a need that the independent dealer is perfectly primed to fill.
7. Offer Delivery
Let’s face it, independent retailers operate in a world where free two-day shipping is the new norm. As such, dealers must offer take with, same–day or next–day delivery options. You can charge accordingly, but the consumer needs the convenience. And this service needs to be displayed front and center on your website and communicated broadly.
8. Create Add on Sales Opportunities
Provide a one–stop shop for the busy consumer. Ensure they have everything they need from the time they complete their purchase through the actual installation of the product in their home. For example, set up a water filter auto–ship program with every refrigeration purchase. Make the post-purchase process one that’s as convenient and seamless as possible.
9. Embrace Technology
Utilizing technology enhances the customer experience. This applies to both the in-store and online shopping experience. The changing role of technology continues to aid in critical decision making, and it can smooth the process of shopping in your store. Services such as digital price tags, live availability information and portable data terminals can transform the in-store shopping experience and improve the performance of your business.
10. Adapt to Industry Changes
Embrace the changing dynamics of our industry rather than shy away. Digital retailing continues to grow in new and exciting ways. Consumers have adopted to the shift toward an e-commerce–driven retail experience and all of the benefits that go along with it. Retailers would be wise to do the same.
11. Set Goals
Have a strategy that includes both short– and long–term goals for your business. And don’t forget to continually revisit those goals in order to track your progress and adjust them as need be. Keep the customer at the center of your business strategy.
12. Be Memorable
What makes your retail location memorable? Make sure to include things that can make a difference, i.e. the smell of fresh–baked cookies. Do what you do with passion, and your customers will notice.
This article was first published in the December 2019 issue of The Retail Observer.
Missy Hodges is vice president of appliance merchandising at Nationwide Marketing Group