Tips to boost your customer engagement
The customer is always right has been a slogan for retailers since as long as anyone can care to remember. It’s also potentially a tiring one to hear in today’s world, and its application may have in fact reached its use-by date. However, it does speak to an essential critique of the relationship between retailers and customers, and how important it is in keeping customers engaged.
As retailers become fully entrenched in 21st century marketing, finding that level of engagement is necessary. Firstly, to keep customers coming back but to also attract new ones. That can be difficult as competition is tough with various factors that can halt progress, but the good news is that solutions are plentiful, especially in the realm of online marketing.
With enough commitment in finding your brand’s voice and ultimately a dedicated audience, becoming a hotspot for customer featly is very much an achievable goal.
Here are a few tips on how retailers can build an engaged following to their stores.
Customer Service 101
If we ignore the ‘customer is always right’ adage, we should at least recognize the importance of giving customers lasting impressions. Of the good kind! Making them feel welcome, answering all their questions and generally being helpful when needed, are all critical cogs in running a well serviced retail store.
We can often label the idea of a ‘great experience’ as something metaphysical or not applicable to retailing, but to answer that simply, why not? A customer is much more likely to return to a store from where they had positive experience than not. This isn’t an unknown formula; quality customer service is important. And it’s important to have your staff trained in both general courtesies but also full knowledge of the products you’re selling. Being attentive to how they interact with customers, and providing regular feedback can help even more.
Trendy in-store design
Design a store that you would want to shop in. It can really be that simple. From layout, to what’s being displayed, customers’ shopping experience not only relies on quality service, but also quality aesthetics, as that’s the first thing they’ll see. Don’t stuff items on your showroom floor, but make space, allow the store to breathe (and for that matter your customers too). Make sure your brand spanking new product line is easily visible, give more of what the customers want. Even offer complimentary items like food or drink, in an effort to get people staying longer.
In addition, try to enhance your store by exhibiting community spaces, for more people to gather and enjoy. Open your store to the community to use for book clubs, or artists to display their works, or hold talks. Make spaces that feel transformative, even if it’s as straightforward as putting in lounges. We’re often bombarded by stores that copy the same, industrial design for their layout that customers are clamoring for a new, unique experience to do their shopping.
Social media in today’s marketing world is an obvious must. Having an online presence to enhance the brand of your store, provides greater avenues in which to pursue potential customers. But simply having a Facebook or Instagram page is not enough. For online marketing to really work, you should know who your customers are, and appeal to their sensibilities.
Perhaps your tapping into the millennial market with an upmarket fashion store. Knowing that your appealing to a demographic that grew up on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, & Twitter means it’s a great idea to invest time in utilizing all those platforms. The same can be said for LinkedIn if it’s business professionals you’re after. You can even seek out paid social ads to target people who live within the vicinity of your store.
Then of course it comes to knowing what to post but the answer there is right in front of you. Post pictures of your products and activities in your store. Write about any special offers you may have and reply to customer enquiries promptly. Social media branding is the marketing tool of choice for consumers and retailers in the digital age.
Hike Tip: Hike gives you the option of customizing completely your paper and digital receipts, meaning you can have all your links to your social media accounts, right there on the receipt.
Personalize your marketing
The laborious nature of marketing means that sometimes we treat individual customers as part of a larger base, an entity of customers. This is an easy trap to fall into, but something retailers should avoid.
As a marketing approach, building one-to-one relationships is a great way in narrowing the definitions between customer and retailer. Ideally, we want that relationship to be as familiar as two friends getting together. It’s a great way to build engagement on an emotional level, and to achieve this you need great copy.
Personalize your messages through emails, social media and even in-store greetings. Referring to a customer by their name, acknowledging their birthday with a surprise offer, are just some of the easy ways to personalize content. Also, if you know you’re targeting a specific group of people, speak in their language. Use terminology related to that demographic, so that you’re speaking ‘to’ them and not ‘at’ them, as well as enhancing your own personality as a brand. Whilst these may seem like little, even token suggestions, it’s part of a larger picture in creating trusted connections with your brand.
It should be noted however, that bombarding customers with messages is just as likely to turn them away as it is to bring them in. A mobile phone for example, is considered to be a more personal device than perhaps an email. Therefore, your SMSs to a customer should be far less frequent then an email.
Hike Tip: Hike makes it easy to manage your customer database and with full integration with marketing application MailChimp, sending emails to your customers has never been easier!
Every business has a story.
Whether it stems from humble beginnings, selling surfboards out of a garage or a vision to give a niche market a platform for millions of people, having an identity is vital. These stories especially, are fantastic starting points as far as content marketing goes. Open a window into the world of your store because customers want to purchase from stores they understand, and feel like they know. It’s also a terrific way to build your social media presence.
Be active, create appealing campaigns about your products – maybe even the next viral sensation! Publish ‘get-to-know’ your staff videos and posts, so that your customers feel as though their buying from real people and not just a corporation.
Modern businesses have also valued the importance of establishing relationships with non-profits and highlighting their ‘green’ stores. Whilst not essential, it’s attractive to customers who can identify with the values you share. Putting on a pretense however, is not going to work and customers will see right through it.
Be genuine and transparent, to build lasting impressions and foster an in-house working environment that thrives. Check out Hike’s iPad point of sale, that’s designed to make the retail experience for you and your staff, so much easier.
At the end of the day, businesses have an aim to make sales and increase their bottom lines. Yet by making a concentrated effort to engage with your customers, you’ll find that the possibilities to do just that are endless. Be bold and be genuine and make worthwhile connection in the process.