According to a 2018 survey by Nielsen, 46 percent of consumers stated that they view shopping as a chore. Fortunately though, one key takeaway from the study is that retailers have an opportunity to win over more customers by making convenience a cornerstone of their strategy.
For many, walking into a shop, browsing what may seem like an endless selection of products and waiting in checkout lines can feel more dreadful than enjoyable. When customers visit a traditional mattress store, for instance, they become overwhelmed with choice. Dozens of supposedly different makes and models and widely varying prices can cause even the most determined buyer to feel decision paralysis.
At my company Amerisleep, my team and I have reimagined the mattress shopping experience by focusing on what matters most to the customer -- achieving a better night's sleep. And we accomplish that by offering five mattresses, ranging from firm to soft, designed to accommodate distinct types of sleepers. Rather than providing an abundance of options and premium upsells, we take a straightforward approach to customer choice. With a clear recommendation based on each person's unique sleep needs, we simplify the decision-making process to make mattress buying educational and convenient.
When retail brands prioritize convenience, their shoppers are more likely to frequent their business over competitor locations. Below are three ways in which you, too, can strategically enhance the customer experience.
Identify the current barriers to convenience.
Retailers need to analyze and audit every step of the purchasing process to identify barriers to convenience. Then, they need to decide what they can do to minimize or remove these obstacles one-by-one.
Enlist employees to participate in every phase of the process -- from finding the exact location of their store using Google Maps to parking their car to waiting in line at the register. Afterwards, you can gather the results and decide what actions can be taken to make each part of the funnel more convenient, whether it's in a large or small way.
Proactively provide shipping updates.
Service guarantees like two-day shipping have upended customer expectations when it comes to product deliveries. The commerce giants have made it easier than ever for consumers to get orders mailed quickly, cheaply, and with constant status updates.
Although not every company can offer fast turnarounds, the good news is you don't have to in order to earn customer loyalty. For most buyers, getting something delivered next-day for free is only beneficial for certain products. For other purchases, customers are comfortable waiting for normal ground shipping time frames.
What they don't want is wondering whether their order is still on-schedule. Get ahead of this by providing shipping notifications to keep them informed about the status of their purchases.
Create opportunities for post-purchase interactions.
Most retail companies take a passive approach to customer communications. As a result, they only hear from brand loyalists who can't stop raving about the product or from highly dissatisfied shoppers who reach out for help regarding problems with their purchase. However, you're less likely to hear from the customers in the middle. This is problematic because it's with these customers that you have the best opportunity to improve their experience during the post-purchase stages.
Some users fail to take full advantage of their order due to inadequate product education or small issues they encounter. Yet, the surprising reason why they don't reach out is often because doing so is inconvenient. It may not seem like much for them to actively call, email or direct message your customer service team, but many buyers would rather stay silent than inconvenience themselves over something relatively minor.
When retail teams initiate contact with customers soon after their purchase, the brand gives shoppers a welcome opportunity to share any comments or questions they have. This empowers your employees to better address user needs and provide convenience that can garner stronger brand loyalty.