Customer engagement matters regardless of whether you’re running an eCommerce site or a brick and mortar store. However, it’s arguably even more important for physical retailers that are struggling to compete in the day and age of Amazon.
Engagement Challenges Abound
Did you know that 96 percent of Americans utilize online shopping in some capacity? Sounds scary, right?
Well, consider that these same Americans – the ones who love Amazon and other online retailers – spend roughly 65 per cent of their total shopping budgets in traditional retail stores and brick and mortar locations.
Pretty encouraging, right?
While there’s still ample room for success in the brick and mortar portion of the retail industry, the biggest challenge lies in engaging customers and shoppers.
Today’s customers are used to on-demand convenience, visual stimulation, and multi-sensory experiences that compel them to buy products. In order to be successful in 2020 and beyond, you must present an equally compelling experience. (Albeit in a slightly different fashion.)
5 Customer Engagement Tips You Can Use
Customer engagement is something to take seriously. Much is dependent on your niche, store layout, and overall brand. However, any retailer in any industry can benefit from implementing the following useful tips:
- Optimize the Front of the Store
The front of the store sets the tone for the rest of a shopper’s experience. If the front of the store is engaging, inviting, and relatable, people will be more likely to stick around and add items to their cart. If the front of the store is boring or inconsistent with the customer’s view of the brand, you won’t have nearly the same results.
- Design a Statement Wall
Not sure how you can spruce up retail space on a budget? One easy, chic option is to design a statement wall. In other words, pick one wall and make it different from all the rest – using reclaimed wood, wallpaper, or different paint colour to give a contrasting look.
- Use Clever Signage
Don’t miss the opportunity to introduce strategic signage into your retail store. And while placement is definitely key, let’s pause for a moment to talk about design.
Print marketing plays a significant role in in-store engagement. Whether it’s flyers, posters, catalogues, or even announcements on a bulletin board, designing compelling print marketing assets will help you engage your shoppers in an intentional and systematic fashion. For best results, stick with simple, high-contrast colour schemes, a large typeface, and concise messaging.
- Feature User-Generated Content
In addition to physical signage, consider incorporating some digital signage into your store.
As Spectrio explains, “Digital signage is one or more television screens filled with changing content. The screens can feature slides of branded graphics, menu and price items, as well as videos and animated ads making them far more interesting and engaging than static posters.”
Take your digital signage to the next level by featuring user-generated content. This may include social media posts customers have made about your brand, positive online reviews, or photos of customers wearing or using your products. This adds a degree of social proof and creates a compelling community aspect that makes customers feel like they belong in your store.
- Be More Selective With Music
We all like to play background music in our stores, but is your music helping or hurting the shopping experience?
The goal isn’t always to choose songs that you think your customers would have on their own personal playlists. Instead, think about how different styles and genres of music impact the way people feel. Upbeat or relaxed? Retro or contemporary? Acoustic or pop? These are important decisions to think about.
Volume is another factor to consider. If your music is too loud, people won’t feel relaxed in the store. (Some will even leave out of frustration.) Music that’s too soft can hurt as well – leaving you with a quiet store where people feel like there’s no ambience and/or a lack of privacy.
Focus on the Customer
Too many retailers make it all about them. They focus on the company at the exclusion of the customer. But that’s a huge mistake.
The brutal truth is that your customers don’t care how many awards you’ve won, what year your company was founded, or what sort of changes you’ve made on your managerial team. They only want to know one thing: What can you do for them?
Your in-store experience has to start and end with the customer. Play to their desires and needs. Overcome any point of friction in the shopping process that threatens to suppress purchases.
Implement new tactics, refine your approach, and iterate to great. That’s the formula!