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A Boston-based marketer spending his free time taking photos of people's faces & far away places.

How To Do Things Amazon Can’t

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If you’re a retailer in 2018, you may have heard about a little guy named Amazon.

He’s kind of like the bully in school that took your ice cream money after you had done extra chores to earn it. He then proceeded to eat the ice cream in front of you and brag about how good it tasted too. So how do you confront the bully that’s seemingly all-powerful? In school, you could tell the teacher and know they’d take care of it. In the real world you could file a lawsuit, but it’s actually pretty difficult to prove Amazon’s monopoly status. Fighting fire with fire won’t work considering Amazon will always win on price due to their jaw-dropping logistics network. The real opportunity lies with what Amazon doesn’t stand a chance at competing against; customer experience.

Before getting directly into which customer experience tactics to implement, it’s worth spending a little bit of time thinking about how digital & physical retail are different. It may seem obvious, but having the data to back it up makes it a lot easier when totally re-constructing your store strategy. The chart below was pulled from our latest report, Modern Consumer Research, where we dove into how 2,000 consumers in the US & UK shop.

Online

Transactional
Rational
Fast decision making
Online
Digital Experience
Reviews

Physical

Complex
Emotional
Spend more time
Physical
Personal Experience
Expertise / Advice

When you take a look at the areas where stores thrive, you immediately notice how they’re different from online’s area of expertise. Customers shopping in stores go there to get products quickly, but also when they need more help than a simple product page can give them. Providing help making decisions, better explaining products/services, and giving customers a better sense of where they’re shopping from are all other ways retailers need to shift their focus to in order to capitalize on why customers visit their stores in the first place.In our Modern Consumer Research, we refer to this as The Power of People. Creating the environment for your people to succeed is the foundation for truly exceptional customer experience. We think that comes down to three areas.

  1. Staff Knowledge & Training.
  2. Reduced Administrative Tasks.
  3. In-store Technologies.

When retailers introduce programs that bring out the best of their employees, customers come back for more. Marketing these initiatives are far less costly and provide stronger long-term benefits than a holiday clearance event. When Apple introduced ‘Today at Apple’ they received endless praise from customers and media alike. At the core of that program is something as simple as an uninterrupted session between an Apple Store associate and a participant where expertise is shared. While many retailers won’t have the resources an Apple will, replicating that connection leaves lasting memories and a standout experience. American Golf for example, offers free in-store trials of golf clubs on a simulated driving range for customers to practice their swings before committing to a purchase. After rolling out their first email campaign promoting their in-store services, they pulled in 4,000 new appointments scheduled.

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