As consumer retail habits continue to change in favour of shopping online, and the future still looks uncertain both economically and politically, the high street has continued to take a battering during the last twelve months.
Many businesses failed, well-known chains closed and there were plenty of job losses to boot. According to growthbusiness.co.uk, without change the high street that we have long known and loved may well become extinct. So how can stores fight back?
Time Is of the Essence
Spending time with customers and making them feel welcome and valued is something which cannot always be achieved online, and this puts stores at an advantage. Simple things like taking a customer to a product they’re looking for rather than just telling them where it is can make a real difference.
But do encourage staff to use their initiative on this one, some customers don’t want to be ushered round the store. An ability to ‘read the signs’ is important here, whether that be the customer’s tone of voice or posture, for example.
Knowledge Is Power
One thing that it can be difficult to access online is expert product knowledge and comparisons. When trying to decide between different brands of a similar product, for example, you are often relying on customer reviews. But these can vary wildly, and non-product factors such as delivery times and damaged packaging can negatively influence ratings.
Ensuring that your staff in store are well trained and have a depth of product knowledge can make a huge difference to a customer’s experience. Good signage can help too, and nowadays that generally means digital signage, but why use digital signage? Digital signage has moved on leaps and bounds over recent years. Campaigns can be deployed globally in minutes and messages can be changed instantly.
Be Open and Honest When Things Go Wrong
Things don’t always go right, whether it is products out of stock or faulty, poor service or delayed deliveries. But how you handle these situations impacts on the eventual outcome. An apology goes a long way – you don’t have to admit any liability, and simply saying sorry and acknowledging how a customer views the situation can make them feel valued. Consider making a gesture of goodwill to help put the situation right.