Customer experience- Why it matters most for grocery retailers
With the rapid advancements in technology and the shifting shopping behavior of consumers, grocery retailers are now faced with the challenging task of competing for customer loyalty. Every retailer wants shoppers to consistently make purchases from their business rather than their competitors. Many retailers often sell the same products, so the shopper can purchase from almost any retailer without having any preference to buy from a specific retailer.
For instance, while needing to buy Purina Friskies Wet Cat food, the shopper has several retailers to choose from, from Kroger to Target to Walmart to even Amazon. The aspect to keep in mind is that shoppers are often loyal to the overall shopping experience provided by retailers, and not to the products it sells.
The term 'customer experience' is used synonymously for providing a positive, seamless and wholesome shopping experience. This includes the integration of digital into the physical sphere where retailers can interact with customers across every touch point.
Here are 3 ways in which retailers can enhance the customer experience and keep customers coming back to their store for more:
For all the benefits that online shopping has to offer, the downside is the inability to touch and feel the product before making a purchase. In an effort to bring the convenience and efficiency of online to the brick and mortar, retailers are changing the design and the business model with the ultimate goal - to make the in-store experience as smooth and easy to navigate as possible.
Incorporating technology in the brick and mortar stores is becoming imperative as shoppers find that innovations such as auto-checkout, online ordering, mobile app offers, etc make their shopping experience easier and quicker.
In an effort to lure shoppers back into physical stores, some retailers are even altering the design of the physical store and creating smaller format stores, adjusting store displays to prioritize convenience, and incorporating new technologies. Grocery chains like Tesco and Food Lion are undergoing major store redesigns to compete with giants like Amazon and Whole Foods.
Some chains are even including experiences such as wall climbing activities and special events and even dining into their physical stores to encourage more in-store engagement with shoppers.
Personalization improves the customer experience making it easier for shoppers to locate products they want easier and faster. This also makes shoppers feel like the retailer understands them and who they are. In the online format, personalization will involve product recommendation based on past purchases or curated homepages. In the store, this would involve features like digital fitting rooms, product customization based on saved items or past purchases.
Shoppers want personalized experiences, and retailers are trying to deliver this expectation. Successful personalization comes down to customer data to be able to provide a memorable tailored experience. Retailers like Home Depot and Walmart are heavily investing in personalization.
Retailer loyalty programs
Once customers are delighted with the shopping experience, loyalty programs are one method to keep them coming back. These programs track and incentivize purchasing behavior and engagement. The more customers shop and spend, the more they are likely to receive in return.
It is much easier and profitable to engage and convert existing customers rather than new ones, so driving loyalty becomes more important. Loyalty programs when done right, can enhance the customer shopping experience tremendously. Retailers must create a program that both incentivizes and connects with customers.
To build a strong customer base, customer experience plays a very pivotal role. Customer loyalty programs along with personalization are just a few methods in which retailers can improve the shopping experience for customers.