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Open For Innovation: How Retail Stores Can Improve Customer Experience

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

In the last decade, retail stores have been forced to up their game so they can retain customers who are attracted to online shopping. It’s no longer enough to just have a store and wait for the customers to come; the competition is bigger, the need for sales higher. Retail stores that have failed to adapt to the changing times have just outright failed as businesses as a result.

One thing that physical stores can always offer over their online counterparts is the customer experience. Online stores don’t have this luxury; the entire customer experience is detached from the sales process itself. For your retail store to stand the test of time against the best of the internet as competition, then you’re going to need to ensure your customers are as happy as can be. Here are a few easy-to-implement strategies that you can have in place just in time for the Christmas rush.

#1 – Offer Online Stock Checking

One of the great conveniences of shopping online is that customers don’t have to wonder if they will receive an item; they know it’s in stock because the website tells them so. If you offer the same facility but with a retail store, then those customers can be sure an item is available and they don’t have to wait for delivery. This could make a huge difference to the number of customers you receive.

#2 – Accommodate The 9-5 Workers

Opening hours are always tough to navigate; few of us like the idea of working late into the evening or opening up early. However, it’s a sacrifice worth making. Despite the prevalence of shift work, the majority of people still work a “standard” day. If you close at 5pm, then you’re going to miss out on all that lucrative business. Extend your opening a couple of hours a week and see if it makes a difference to your turnover.

#3 – Offer Free Local Delivery

One of the benefits of ordering online is that customers have the item shipped directly to their door. This is especially important with multiple purchases and large items; no one wants to have to struggle to cram 20 bags into their boot. Your physical store can offer a solution to this by offering a free local delivery service if a customer spends over a threshold amount of money. This is simple enough to implement; browse van sales to find a vehicle, hire a driver, and then see how it works out for you from there. Chances are your customers will love it, and might even be tempted to spend more — to meet the threshold — so they can take advantage!

#4 – A Good Returns Policy

Online stores lead the way when it comes to returns policies; they are often free, no quibble, refund guaranteed. If you offer the same, then customers will be more trusting of your store, knowing they can buy speculatively and always have an option if things don’t work out.

With these introductions, your physical store can keep pace with your online rivals — ensuring your business health and growth for years to come.

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About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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