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Retail buying journeys are becoming more complex as technology proliferation expands. Not only do shoppers want a more simplified and interconnected shopping experience from online to offline channels.

Customer experience is the core covenant of modern retail and is the strongest driver of buyer motivation inside a shop.
Talking to Sunil Munshi, CRO- Denave, we delved deeper into the importance of customer experience in retail and how to leverage components like store designs and visual merchandising to deliver superior shopping experiences to their customers.

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    How important is Customer Experience to the retail success in 2023?

    Today's market is flooded with limitless product/brand options, pampering customers for choices. Not only do shoppers want a more simplified and interconnected shopping experience from online to offline channels, but also expect retailers to be aware of their needs and preferences. Traditional differentiation tactics in retail, like unique selection, strategic pricing, or promotions, are no longer effective due to cutthroat competition and price pressure from discounters.

    This is where the customer experience takes the leap, forcing retailers to move away from product selling, to experience marketing. So much so that the world's leading retail brands are investing a whopping $700 million in customer experience (CX). 86% of shoppers are willing to pay more for an enhanced shopping experience than a regular one.

    As shopping habits continue to oscillate between offline and online, retailers must reposition their place in a customer's life through an interconnected network of physical and digital spaces. The future success of retail businesses will depend on a retailer's ability to pivot business models and deliver shopping experiences that engage and delight.

    Everywhere commerce: Whether it is a website, mobile app, social media, or a brick-and-mortar store, shoppers will spend more if their demands are met, and issues resolved on the channel they are using. When customers have a positive experience, they are more likely to make repeat purchases, spend more money, and recommend the brand to others, all of which can lead to increased revenue.

    Voice of consumers: Listening to consumers' voices requires retailers to go beyond post-purchase reviews. From tracking user behaviour onsite to in-store, which elements they are responding to or where they abandon their journey will help make the entire journey frictionless and drive better responses in the future. Shoppers like it when their needs are heard, and they are included in the dialogue.

    Delivering exception customer experience has several benefits:

    Foster distinct brand identity: Whether it is orchestrating an omnichannel buying journey, an experiential store layout, or interactive visual merchandising, an enjoyable shopping experience sets the brand apart from its competitors and makes it recognizable across channels.

    Create human touch: Customers look for unique value propositions from brands that align with their buying habits and personal preferences. CX management at this level allows brands to make a personal connection with their customers that translate into tangible long-term impacts.

    Meet customer expectations with personalization: Improving customer experiences can also help brands to meet the constantly evolving expectations of the shoppers. Shoppers today want to be seen and valued by the brands they shop with, and personalization remains a key element in making consumers feel valued.

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    What role will store designs and visual merchandising play to enhance CX?

    To remain competitive, retailers must pivot their physical space to a place that surprises and delights shoppers rather than one that serves as a transactional one.

    For instance, an activewear brand could integrate a yoga class, set up a workout or a meditation space within their brick-and-mortar establishment to provide in-store shoppers with an experience where they can connect with the lifestyle that the brand is selling, meet like-minded people, and participate in brand activations that don’t feel like brand activations.

    Large format retailers and leading brands are leaning into the concept of experiential retail that offers shopping with other leisure activities such as dining, gyms, library, and other community spaces that serve their niche buyers.

    Furthermore, interactive and eye-catching visual merchandising, such as pop-ups, displays, and signages, also cater to the experience-based shopping needs of the buyers. Visual merchandising is the silent salesman in the store that stimulates buyers to take action.

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