by Maggy Michaels Durrenberger
Sustaining a booming retail business has always been challenging—even before the onslaught of online sales upped the ante of competition. Today’s multi-channel world may seem daunting, but brick-and-mortar still maintains the upper hand of its inherent strength: local and individual relevance. More than ever before, physical retailers are learning how to delight and even surprise their customers with experiences that nurture loyalty and turn them into “walking advertisements.” Let’s glance over a few of the ways they are creating opportunities for their customers to truly love shopping.
Know Your Customers
From the moment they cross the threshold, customers need to sense that their preferences, needs and desires are a priority. Online sellers can offer virtually unlimited choices, but brick-and-mortar has the ability to offer the right choices. Particularly in higher-end retail environments, customers appreciate and grow to rely upon a selection of relevant, quality merchandise that has been curated by a discerning retailer. They want to see, touch, compare, ask questions—and trust the answers. Consider exclusive rewards for the most loyal customers. Several luxury retailers including Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus invite the frequent users of their store credit cards to private sales and fashion shows.
Don’t Be Boring
Smart retailers are beginning to plan and manage every detail of their business from a perspective of ingenuity and imagination. They look for ways to pop, sizzle, differentiate. At the same time, they are awakening to the power of the occasional “Wow!” Psychologists maintain that memorable customer experiences are created by the emotional intensity of specific moments, not the overall experience. A one-time Fresno, California-based jeweler, would actually sprint over to a nearby floral shop and return with a dozen roses if he overheard that a customer was celebrating an anniversary or birthday.”
The single most powerful advantage of brick-and-mortar over online sales is the most obvious: the opportunity to make a personal connection. Advertising attracts traffic but it will always be the credibility, trust, value and personal pleasure associated with the shopping experience that brings a customer back again and again.
Smart retailers empower their sales agents with exceptional training programs but they also look for ways to motivate their employees to remain focused on creating an outstanding customer experience—not just a sale. That’s why Nordstrom customer service enjoys iconic status. Forrester Research, Inc. Principal Analyst Kate Leggett calls it a great business strategy. “They treat it as a way to influence the top line. It helps with the repurchase rates and recommendations.”
About Gevril Group
Gevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.
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