Tips and Tricks for the Retail Business in 2020.
- Customer Service
Retail is currently undergoing the most exciting transformation in the history of the industry. However, it is also pretty scary. First, the internet came along and enabled people to buy things from the comfort of their homes, and ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses started to lose out to online retailers. Now (scarier still) this binary view of retail is becoming outdated (just as we were getting our heads around it). The multi-headed beast that is Omnichannel is now centre stage.
So how do we deal with this new reality?
One of the things to remember is that you are still dealing with people, wherever you are trying to sell your products. In many instances, things that are working in the digital space are similar to techniques that work in physical stores. So always try to put yourself in the mind of your customer, and make sure you look after the basics.
If you currently run a physical store or stores, you are likely to walk through your visual merchandising starting from the window displays outside, then on to your front room/s, and onwards until you reach the cash register.
In physical stores, you always put your best sellers at the front of the store. Similarly, your landing pages should showcase what is hot right now.
If a customer has come from a specific online ad, ensure that the product that was being advertised is at least visible on the landing page, or even lead customers straight to the item’s stand-alone page (for immediate purchase). This is the equivalent of ensuring that all your floor staff know where your window display items can be found within your store.
Also, position low cost and widely appealing items at the checkout. This works as a silent salesperson to increase the basket size both on and offline.
This can be a make or break component of offline retail, yet is often overlooked online. Setting up a chat widget in your site is inexpensive, and enables you to help a customer find what they need (whether merchandise or information) where they may have otherwise just given up and left your site.
This is especially useful with higher price items, or more complex purchases, where the customer needs a lot of information to feel comfortable making their decision. As in the real world, being honest and helping the customer come to the right decision for them will serve your brand better in the long run than trying to hustle a quick sale. People will return to retailers that they trust. Whether online or offline.
Customers are demanding better visibility on their deliveries, especially on the day of delivery itself. Additionally, missed deliveries escalate costs, so it is in everyone’s interests for the goods to arrive on the first attempt.
With additional visibility comes additionally flexibility. If you can have visibility on deliveries that may miss a delivery window, you can be proactive about managing the customer’s expectations.
If you don’t have this visibility, the first thing you are likely to see when a delivery is missed is an angry review on social media. And no one wants that.
Community management is about more than just FB groups. Your community-building efforts can even generate content for you. Start a hashtag for people to use when they are wearing your gear, and reward the most popular ones (to encourage them to do it more). Rewards can be as simple as a discount code, or free product, to having the customer appear in fashion shows, videos, or advertisements.
Something that is catching on fast and becoming a trend due to its seamless experience for the consumers is Social Shopping. In a recent Forbes’s article, it explains how Social Shopping works and what other opportunities major retailers can do to bridge the gap between their brick and mortar and virtual stores.
Create content that appeals to your customers. What keeps them up at night? Styling tips? Makeup tutorials? Or what gets them excited? Music recommendations? Travel suggestions? This enables you to build trust with potential customers, and deliver value beyond your product offering. Creating relevant content also builds out your brand’s identity, and make you more relatable.
If you look after your own deliveries, and you deliver more than one item in a day, it is worth being interested in the efficiency of your deliveries.
A common misconception is that efficiency is primarily about route optimisation, but this is to oversimplify the problem. Deliveries involve a huge amount of variables, such as delivery windows, number of deliveries, traffic conditions, size of packages vs. capacity of vehicles etc. You probably don’t have time to spend on calculating the best way to go about executing on your deliveries, so ensure that you have the right tech stack in place to help you manage this.
A good TMS (Transport Management System) will enable you to ensure that you make the most out of your delivery team.
Make sure people can find what they want easily. Not only should the layout of your site must be clear and easy to understand, but it also helps to think about how your menu will help people get the most out of their shopping experience. Should accessories be one page, or should you sub-divide it into scarves, necklaces, bracelets? Which configuration is going to work best for your customer?
Increasingly these days retailers are putting suggestions on the bottom of individual item pages. Whether you manage this manually or rely on AI for this, giving smart suggestions (from other product categories) will help drive up your average purchase value.
Another feature that adds to the customer experience is the labelling of out of stock options. There is nothing more frustrating than finishing the check-out process to receive a message or email that your item will not be arriving.
Some smart retailers are giving customers an option to leave their contact details if an item is not in stock so that they can be informed when it comes in. This turns a potential loss into a win, by providing great customer service, and building your database.
This may go without saying, but it makes sense for your stores (online or offline) to look consistent. Additionally, the content across your social media accounts should tie in with your website. It doesn’t make sense for one platform to have a drastically different aesthetic to the rest. Also, make sure that your messaging is consistent. Don’t forget to update your Facebook, LinkedIn etc. covers once a sale or season is over. Ensure that you have procedures in place to manage this in a timely fashion, even if you are working with a small team.
It is always worth remembering that you have to start somewhere. Whether you are a small operation or a multinational company, you have to start somewhere. Set up a timeline that allows you to consistently chip away at your pain points, and stick to it, and don’t be disheartened as more issues come to light. Realising that there is an opportunity for improvement is the best way to improve what you do, so you should see it as a win, and a necessary stage in the process.
Contact Us, If you like to learn more about how you can improve efficiency in your Retail logistics.