Memorable In-Store Experiences to Win Back and Retain Customers

Family shopping

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The secret to capturing and retaining customer loyalty is creating an unforgettable in-store experience. My latest insights delve into making your retail space not just a place for transactions but a destination for memorable encounters.

But not memorable in an undesirable way, as the following story demonstrates.

My buddy Steve had neck pain and had been researching a pain-relieving pillow for weeks. Finally, he found the perfect one online and purchased it.

He immediately started getting emails from the manufacturer begging him to review the pillow. They wanted his recommendation to show on their product description.

Here’s the thing…

Steve knows nothing about the company that made the pillow or their website. And when people ask him where he purchased it, he says: I got it on Amazon.

Many brands push customers away with relentless and ill-conceived efforts to engage online.  Few, other than Amazon, meet with success. That’s why so many online stores are now opening brick-and-mortar shops.

Оnline retailers know the shopping experience in a store can stick and be memorable, whereas the online experience does not.

At its best, brick-and-mortar retailing offers the stickiness that shoppers remember, so they return repeatedly. It's one of the best ways to attract customers to a retail business.

To accomplish that, you have to think like a customer.

Here are 11 tips for becoming memorable to your customers

1. Play to More Than One Sense:

• Welcome your shoppers with more than just prices and displays. Add sensory marketing techniques like light, sound, and pleasant scents - remember that smell is the strongest human sense. Use appropriate music that adds energy to boost your displays and create a memorable shopping environment. 

• Offer interactive elements such as product demonstrations, try-before-you-buy options, or in-store classes related to your products. If you offer food, even better.

* I'm using Tokinomo's shelf robots in a retail makeover. Once the motion-sensor is triggered, the product is lit, begins to move, and a voice speaks to the customer. Shoppers remember a good way.

2. Personalize the Shopping Journey:

• If you know a repeat customer, use their name three times during an interaction. Even better, remember repeat customers’ preferences.

• Use a robust cloud POS system that allows you to see all of their past purchases so you can tailor product recommendations and create a truly personalized shopping experience.

3. Leverage Storytelling in Retail:

• Train staff to share the stories behind your merchandise, such as the craftsmanship, origin, or unique features, to create an emotional connection with customers. Shoppers love to learn if the associate provides enthusiasm and does not make it a fussy endeavor.

4. Foster a Community Around Your Brand:

• Host in-store events with special access for those on your list, encouraging community engagement.

• Create a loyalty program that rewards repeat customers and makes them feel like you value them.

5. Optimize the Checkout Experience:

• Ensure a smooth, hassle-free checkout process to leave a lasting positive impression and invite them back by name.

• Consider implementing mobile payment options or self-checkout kiosks for convenience.

6. Utilize Feedback for Continuous Improvement:

• Actively seek customer feedback through in-store surveys or feedback forms.

• Use this feedback to make improvements, notifying customers that their opinions are valued and acted upon.

7. Bridge the Online-Offline Gap:

• Integrate your online presence with the in-store experience, such as offering online order pick-up in-store or showcasing online customer reviews in your physical location.

• Use social media to highlight in-store experiences, events, or exclusive in-store promotions.

8. Educate and Empower Your Staff:

• Regularly train your staff not just in sales techniques but in understanding your specific brand values.

• Ensure they greet everyone and remind them where they are shopping. Greeting within 15 seconds – much longer than it sounds – with "Welcome to (name of your store)" helps solidify where the shopper is. Your greeting sets the standard that shopping with you is different and better than all the rest. 

• Encourage staff to be brand ambassadors, knowledgeable and passionate about what they sell. 

• Give them the soft skills training to engage shoppers more than “Can I help you?” and reward them for doing what you expect.

9. Implement Sustainable Practices:

• Offer eco-friendly products or packaging, highlighting these initiatives in-store and in marketing.

10. Have Accurate Inventory:

• Research recently found that almost 50% of shoppers want to check stock availability before visiting a store. Google found that 25% of shoppers say they’ll steer clear of a nearby store to avoid the risk of unavailable items.

• Your entire inventory should use RFID tags or other current technology to provide real-time transparency of your stock.  Then, you focus on buying fewer SKUs but go deeper to prevent out-of-stock situations. You never want to be the store that "never has what I want."

11. Go Out of Your Way Just Because:

• Greeting a customer in the parking lot with an umbrella when it is raining can go a long way to being memorable. Picking up a large purchase and carrying it out without asking stands out. How can you show customers they come first in your store?


And don't forget to train employees on the difference between upselling and adding on

Advanced selling skills like what I teach in teach your associates that you upsell someone from a cheaper item to a more expensive one because it does more with less work.

You add on to a sale after the customer has decided to buy the main item by showing them one additional thing that makes the original purchase do more.

Exposing someone to training doesn’t necessarily make them a salesperson.

You have to have a long view of what it takes to build confident, avid salespeople, and only providing initial training means you’re just getting started.

Remind customers of where they were

Shoppers are constantly being marketed to, so the chance of being forgotten grows every day you don’t communicate with them. That’s why you should send out a bi-monthly newsletter – even better, a weekly one - so they don’t forget you.

Technology has enabled shoppers to exist in a perennial buy state.

The only way brick-and-mortar retailers can survive is by seizing each moment of influence. This means providing memorable customer service and consistent marketing.

Your goal is to become your customer's go-to store whenever and wherever.

Don't be the unknown pillow manufacturer

We are being told all shoppers want to do is get in, get what they want, and leave quickly.

Unless you are memorable, you’re like that pillow manufacturer – providing what is needed but not standing out.

You can take a free demo trial of SalesRX to learn how your retail store can outsell any online retailer. You can begin your first lesson by entering your name and email address below ...