Very few retailers have been able to come up with permanent solutions to help them connect with shoppers. The truth is that a flat, one sided approach will not work. The consumers have many choices and if they don't get it right, customers will find another source for whatever they are selling. Here are a few ideas to change companies into preferred shopping destinations.
1. Customer Service -- customer service needs to start from the top so it can work its way down. In order to have good customer service the employees need to feel as part of the team. The employees should be paid a decent salary and benefits for the job they do. So many retailers will say that the employees are their most important asset. Companies must treat their employees as they are an important asset instead of a liability. Make sure that there are enough employees to handle customer service throughout the store. Do not let the bean counters run your store. Good customer service should be considered an investment in the future.
2. Make the shopping experience enjoyable. Enjoyable experiences are different for different types of stores. The products should be easy to find and well displayed. Depending on the type of item, knowledgable employees should be available to answer questions and give suggestions. Let the employees get to know the repeat customers. If the customer feels that the employees are their friends they will be more likely to return.
3. Shake things up carefully. A little change is always good, but do not change merchandising too much at one time. Change just to change can confuse customers and create a negative impression to the customer.
4. Maintain the store and the location. Don't let the outside of the location look unattractive. Take care of landscaping, paving and signage on the outside, keep the store fresh and clean on the inside. Make sure that anywhere a customer may walk looks attractive.
5. Make sure that your prices are reasonable. There are many options the customer may choose, and if your prices are not within range of your competition (now online and retail locations), soon the customers will start to spend more and more of their money elsewhere.
6. Remember what works in Portland, Oregon might not work in Jackson, Mississippi. Know your customer and their needs.
Different stores may have different needs, but if the above points are followed, fewer customers would find other places to shop, and more would be attracted to the retailer.