4 Ways To Improve Your Retail Customer Experience and Sales

retail customers experience tips

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Updated April 18, 2024

How to improve customer service experience? Concentrate on your employees and engage their hearts, not just their minds. 

Many retail stores offer the same or similar products as you do.

And anything is available online.

If the only thing your customers can hope for is a product, you’re in direct competition with every other retailer online or down the street.

That puts you in a bidding war, and you can’t hope to win in the long run.

And once you have to rely on discounts to set yourself apart, it’s a quick spiral to low margins and insolvency.

So, how do you approach customers who are looking for a particular product? You make the product secondary to their overall shopping experience. 

You want customers to leave your store with products, or course, but you don’t want the merchandise to be the only driving motivation that brought shoppers to your store.

The product should be a souvenir of an outstanding shopping experience, an experience they want to remember and repeat. One they tell their friends about using an employee's name because it was exceptional.

Creating that experience isn’t difficult - even during the pandemic -but requires training and planning.

Here are four tactics to remember and improve your customer experience: 

Remember, Satisfied Employees Make Satisfied Customers. Your employees are your frontline. They’re the public face of your business because they deal directly with customers. If they’re unhappy or uninformed, customers notice.

On the other hand, informed, educated, and well-trained employees have greater confidence and job satisfaction. They know they’re good at their jobs because they’ve been given the tools and knowledge needed to succeed. That satisfaction and trust will be clear to your customers.

Remember, It All Starts With Engagement. The first impression a customer gets as they walk through the doors of your store comes from your sales team. If they’re disengaged, that first impression is one of apathy.

Customers know it when employees can be seen standing around talking to each other behind the counter, checking Facebook while leaning against a display table, or playing invisible because they are hiding out in a stockroom.

That does not make a great first impression.

Retail sales training teaches your employees to get in the game and engage with customers when they enter your store. Delivering a basic greeting and having a genuine desire to connect lets your customers know that helpful, interested people are waiting to assist them.

This is the first step in engagement, which is the first step in rapport building. Consider trying retail games to motivate employees to engage more with your customers.

Remember, Be Happy that They’re Happy. Employees often cannot afford the luxury products they’re selling to others. In the wrong salesperson, this can lead to feelings of jealousy. Those thinly masked feelings will affect your salesperson’s ability to build rapport with the customer.

In fact...

 I think that is a leading reason customers choose to use their smartphones instead of talking to an employee.

The right retail sales training program teaches your sales staff to live vicariously through the sales process. They learn to enjoy the thrill of having someone else buy the item and see the value in the experience they provide. They no longer act as one of the reasons customers don't return.

Remember, Buying With the Heart, not the Head. A purely analytical sales approach always comes down to one thing: price. I’ve said it before and will say it again: you can’t win on price.  The more your employees harp about what is on sale – and what isn’t – the more they will elevate the price to the top of the consideration to purchase an item.  With customers' smartphones at the ready, you can unwillingly be pitted against online retailers on your own sales floor. Then, the price is a losing conversation. The winning strategy is providing an exceptional customer experience, with the product as a souvenir of that experience...the feeling that at that moment, the shopper is the most important person in the store.

See also, How Retailers Can Sell On Value Over Price 

Well-trained, confident salespeople know how to read customers and get them talking about their motivators to buy. Once they have that information, great salespeople can create a narrative that connects customers personally with the items they’re interested in. This takes price out of the equation.

When was the last time you heard a customer say in your store, "I love it! I'll take it!"?

Your customers want to buy because of emotion—this dress makes me look sexy, this watch will show my mother I am successful, and this pair of skis will make our vacation the best. When emotion is allowed and encouraged in a sale, it is far more powerful than price.

In Sum

Discounts and price matching may increase your sales in the short term but also move your profits down in the long term. Customers will leave with products but not much more.

To increase sales and keep profits high, you must create a shopping experience that sets you apart from the competition.

When you do that, the product becomes a souvenir from that great experience, and your customers will return for that experience repeatedly. 

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