Retool marketing strategies to make in-store experiences more personal with information from the 2012 Shopper Experience Study
Here’s some good news: according to a new study from RIS/Cognizant, the future of the brick-and-mortar store is safe, provided retailers keep their stores and merchandising practices current. In light of the e-commerce boom over the past few years, shoppers still seek out in-store experiences. However, they have also grown more demanding.
Consumers want a more personalized experience the moment they walk into a store. The challenge to retailers is how to cater to the different tastes and personalities of their shoppers.
According to the RIS/Cognizant survey, “shoppers’ technology preferences and their criteria for positive store experiences vary dramatically by gender, age, income and product type … retailers must carefully define their target customers before investing their technology dollars.”
The common thread between all shoppers is their desire to be greeted at the door by retail associates who are knowledgeable, efficient and assertive. They are looking for people who can provide solutions more than products.
5 key elements retailers can incorporate into their in-store strategy, as outlined by Steven Skinner, vice president of Cognizant’s retail, hospitality and consumer goods practice:
- Price – The cost of products is key. If consumers feel your prices are too high, they can check the prices of your competitors before they even leave your store thanks to smartphones. Competitive pricing and promotions still hold the greatest sway according to the survey.
- In-store execution – Shoppers continue to seek out retail stores that have a diversified product assortment and can execute quickly and efficiently. According to the survey, four out of five purchases are still made in the physical store, but that does not always mean it will be in your store. If they are unable to find the item they are looking for, immediate access to the Web will help them find it at a store that has it in stock.
- Easy and efficient store checkout – Consumers want to get through the checkout process as fast as they can, with as little distraction as possible. They do not want to be cross-sold in the checkout line and prefer the sales associate to be a “unitasker” in this case.
- Reach beyond the basics – Few stores offer top-tier service across all channels to their key demographics. “Shoppers want personalized, attentive in-store experiences, and the more affluent younger shoppers expect retailers to seamlessly integrate personalization across channels.”
- Shoppers’ expectations vary – Depending on the type of store (specialty versus consumable products) the needs of the consumer may vary. A variety of options and proven experience from the sales associate is important to shoppers looking for specialty products, whereas printed materials such as packaging and displays are key for those looking for consumable goods.
In summation, the brick-and-mortar store is still king. However, retailers must recognize that providing an informed, efficient and multi-faceted in-store experience is paramount to retaining shoppers.