The summer is well and truly here and for a lot of companies this means more footfall and more sales.

What this peak season also means for a lot of your visitors is staff who are flustered, agitated, producing lower customer service standards (NPS scores) and higher queue times. Shoppers which visit stores will get answers from staff such as, ‘Sorry, we’re really busy – be with you in a minute!’, ‘We’re a person down today.’ or worse…

People are always going to go shopping. A lot of our effort is just: ‘How do we make the retail experience a great one?’
– Philip Green, Chairman of the Arcadia Group

You don’t need to sacrifice your NPS score in busier periods though. Companies often plan to prevent failure, but so often don’t have a plan to maximise success. This post will provide a few helpful tips for getting the most out of your busy store peak periods and make ensure your customers receive a better service.

 

Data

The first thing any company should do when facing an issue is get data. If you know what’s happening in your stores, you will be in a better position to target underperforming areas and processes.

Retail Analytics is really taking off with an increasing number of retailers getting on board. For those of you who aren’t familiar with retail analytics, it’s like having Google Analytics but for your shops. It helps you understand more about your visitors – which can never be a bad thing in terms of optimising their shopping experience.

I recommend you take a look at companies such as Walkbase who will be able to help you get valuable data on your store activity and work with you to improve the service you offer to customers.

 

There are typically 2 main problem areas in stores:

  1. Lack of service when visitors have a question on a product/service
  2. The long wait in the queue to purchase your product/service
    Fortunately, technology can help with both of these areas.

 

Lack of service

When it comes to lack of service, there are many things you can do. Some stores have deployed iPads for customers to use for product research purposes. Evans Cycles‘ store in Gatwick has a few PC terminals so visitors can browse their website for info in store. Some retailers are taking this a stage further by having screens near products and when customers lift the product, the screen springs to life; displaying reviews, promo videos and other useful content.

When stores get busy, focus on enabling your customers, not your staff. When stores are quieter, enable your staff.

 

Long queue times

Solving the issue of long queue times is also quite straightforward. The biggest tip is not to focus on serving the customer at the front and focus on serving customers as a whole.

The age old tip of ‘queue running’ helps massively – this is where a member of staff will prepare products for people waiting in the queue. This does 2 main things:

  1. Makes the service at the till more prompt
  2. Raises the commitment from the customer (they are less likely to abandon their purchase if it’s prepped for them behind the till)

 

Payment

Ensuring your customers can pay for their items efficiently is critical. Don’t wait for your competitors to make the most of technology and then copy them – reap the rewards from early implementation. Technologies on the till such as self-checkout and contactless payment are a couple of great examples of how technology can speed up a customer’s purchase process. Furthermore, with more customers being enabled at the checkout, there will be more staff resource to assist wherever else they are required.

 

Key Takeaway

Online shopping continues to grow for many benefits, but it’s undeniable that one of the predominant reasons is because it is convenient. Many shops are struggling because they haven’t adapted as and evolved as much as online stores.

Make the most of technology to optimise and automate processes – improving your visitors’ shopping experience.

 

Over to you!

As always, it’s your turn – How are you using technology to improve the experience of shoppers? Do you disagree with anything I’ve mentioned above?

 

This article was originally published by Daniel Lee on LinkedIn Pulse

 

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