Take this well-known formula for building loyal customers into consideration:
(Customers + A Positive Retail Experience) x Repeat Business = Success
It’s an easy formula to understand but not necessarily as easy to execute.
“Success” is revenue. However, it could be better defined as earning consistent revenue from your most loyal and repeat customers.
Not to mention, it costs more to attract new customers than it does to engage with your existing base.
The outlier for most retailers is figuring out how to create “A Positive Retail Experience.”
How do we build customer loyalty and create a positive retail experience in a world of social distancing, operating restrictions, and economic uncertainties? And then how do we scale this positive retail experience so that it is dependable for your business and fluid for your shoppers?
The answer is simple, and it doesn’t include any gimmicks.
You must align your online to in-store shopping experience.
Improving the Customer Experience
A loyal customer is every retailer’s dream. Consider the following statistics:
- 40% of revenue in the US comes from returning or repeat purchasers, who represent only 8% of all visitors
- 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience
- 47% of consumers won’t engage with a business after a moment of brand disappointment
If you’re wondering how to increase customer loyalty, you start by meeting their current shopping needs.
Ultimately, customers need a way to easily discover and purchase what they want, when they want, and how they want.
In 2020, this translates to ensuring consumers are feeling more personally accommodated with low-contact options.
Customers need to be assured that inventory is accurately available as displayed, and they need the overall process to be as quick and easy as possible. It needs to simplify their life while delivering a positive experience.
This isn’t to say that this is new information, but the needs of both the customer and the retailer have been accelerated by how the 2020 retail experience continues to unfold.
The streamlined, branded online to in-store shopping experience that was once a “nice to have” is now a “need to have.”
The Omnichannel Customer Experience
The answer to unifying this experience is omnichannel retail.
This can include a range of contactless commerce technology such as a curbside pickup software, BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In-store), ROPIS (Reserve Online, Pick Up In-store), BORIS (Buy Online, Return In-store), eCommerce, and more.
What is Omnichannel?
Omnichannel simply refers to how multiple physical and digital channels seamlessly work together to provide a unified customer journey.
It’s important to understand that you can have multiple channels for your customers (this is called a multichannel experience), but it’s only considered omnichannel if those channels work together.
How Does Omnichannel Work?
For example, here’s what could be included in your omnichannel shopping experience:
- Your brick-and-mortar location(s)
- An online presence that displays your inventory in the form of a website or microsite
- A backend platform that helps your staff fulfill orders and communicate with customers
- Real-time SMS order status updates
- A mobile shopping and/or payment app*
- Push notifications for promotions and other messaging*
*Not required, but ideal
With these channels working together, your customer’s journey would look something like this:
- Your shopper, Shelia, is searching online for tools for a home improvement project.
- Through your webstore and/or mobile shopping app, she’s able to find what she needs online and see what’s in-stock at certain locations.
- Depending on the omnichannel approach you’re offering, Shelia can pay online with plans to pick up her purchase at a later time, she can reserve her order online and pay in-store, or she can have it shipped directly to her home.
- (Keep in mind – you can offer any or all of these options to be considered “omnichannel.” The most ideal approach is offering all of these options so Shelia can pick what works best for her.)
- Once the order is placed, your employees will get a notification to fulfill her order.
- Let’s say Shelia placed her order for in-store pickup or reservation. As your employees fulfill Shelia’s order, the system will send her order status updates so she can better understand when her order will be ready.
- When Shelia gets the message that her order is ready, she heads to the store to collect what she needs.
- Depending on the fulfillment options you offer, Shelia can pick her order up at the counter, or an employee can bring the order to her vehicle, and she’s on her way.
By offering customers like Shelia a streamlined, user-friendly shopping experience, while reducing their contact with others and their time in a physical location, you’re able to instill the confidence that creates that “Positive Customer Experience” you and your customers have been looking for.
Ready to Build Customer Loyalty?
Building a loyal customer extends well beyond their singular experience. However, if that singular experience isn’t executed properly, it can make all the difference in your success.
In the past, creating an omnichannel solution required hacking together disconnected back-office systems with your e-commerce platform, making it a less than desirable situation for you and your customers.
We unify every step of the omnichannel experience by working with your current systems to create a singular platform and view of your customers’ journey and reducing hours of cumbersome work and technical headaches.
By implementing an omnichannel retail solution for your business, you’re able to effectively manage expectations, improve customer loyalty, safely run your business, and prepare for the future of retail all by leveraging one system.
To learn more about how you can set up contactless omnichannel retail solutions and build customer loyalty in just a few hours, learn more and get in touch with us today.