In today's retail world, the in-store experience is more responsive and adaptable than it's ever been. A combination of advanced technologies, the need to compete with online shopping and modernized strategies has led to fundamental changes in stores of all kinds. To cover this idea in more detail, this article identifies five specific ways the in-store experience is shaping retail in 2020.
1. Priority to experience over inventory
Once upon a time, retail stores placed a very high premium on inventory. It was generally believed that having an adequate store supply was one of the most vital aspects of running a store. This has by no means been refuted, but it is fair to say that the priorities have changed. Now, the most successful retail stores are putting more emphasis on the shopper experience, even if it comes at the expense of storage space.
View Point blog reviewed customer experience and why it's more important than ever. The post dealt specifically with the 'move from store to showroom', using examples like Bonobos and Warby Parker to illustrate current trends. Essentially, these stores aim to allow customers to observe, sample and personalize products, delivering memorable experiences rather than just buying options.
2. Extended reality technology allowing expanded selections
In the same spirit of seeking to deliver memorable in-store experiences, some retailers are also turning to technology today. A previous article on the `` Top Tech Trends Shaping Retail in 2020 '' covered some notable examples including the use of augmented and extended reality. In some cases (especially with IKEA) extended reality is used to change the home shopping experience, allowing buyers to virtually observe products from the comfort of their homes. However, stores are also integrating augmented and virtual reality in a number of ways.
Typically, the idea is that as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology improves, people can virtually try products one way or another - to both to make decisions about what to buy and to experience more inventory than the store could. actually have on hand. The unspoken idea is to provide an interactive store experience that goes beyond the benefits of shopping online.
3. Miniature printed circuit boards (printed circuit boards) activating in-store beacons
Another example of technology playing a role in shaping retail through customer experience comes from tiny developments that are almost invisible to shoppers. In this case we're talking about newer and more versatile circuit boards, and the in-store beacons they helped make possible. PCBs in the past tended to be more rigid and somewhat limited in size. Now, however, there are better options.
Altium Characterizes Rigid, Multi-Board Flexible Printed Circuit Designs as being made for projects that require “more connectivity”, “less real estate” and “more power”, among others. These new circuit boards made possible small devices with strong connections, like beacons that are now used even in some small retail stores. These tags can be used for various purposes. However, overall, they connect via Bluetooth to customer devices in order to automate some aspect of the shopping experience and, in a sense, mimic the benefits of digital stores. This may mean accessing a customer's purchase history upon arrival of said customer; make suggestions based on past purchases; or simply send a welcome alert and / or a discount.
4. More versatile point of sale systems
New technologies are also being used with regard to point of sale systems. Consumers today are used to being able to shop digitally, which means physical stores that don't adjust risk falling behind their internet counterparts. To address this potential problem, we have seen the fairly rapid emergence of a new point of sale market that allows retail operators to facilitate various forms of payment.
Software advice covered point of sale system requirements today, and indicated that they are a bit more complex than most people tend to imagine. They can run on-premise or through the cloud and involve hardware components including monitors and tablets, scanners, credit card readers, etc. But as deceptively complex as these systems can be, they help physical stores survive by enabling a smooth customer experience.
5. IoT provisioning and data management
Retail stores today also have the option of maintaining inventory based on automated data collection. Just as tiny sensors can serve as in-store beacons, they can also be deployed to monitor inventory. This can serve two main purposes: alerting management (or suppliers) when supply starts to decline, and collecting sales data in order to paint a clear picture of demand. These practices aren't necessarily obvious to shoppers, but they help modern stores maintain reliable inventory, which in turn prevents negative shopping experiences.
Overall, these changes have started to reshape physical retail with the goal of facilitating an enjoyable and reliable customer and customer experience. Naturally, different stores prioritize different specific steps. Overall, however, it's clear that an infusion of intelligently deployed technologies allows stories to rival online shopping.
About the writer: Kelly Dennison is a freelance writer currently working as a marketing assistant for a small tech startup. She is working towards pursuing a Masters in Marketing and Brand Management.
Are you a retailer ( or retail sales associate ) who’s struggling with how to approach shoppers ? Worried that you lack the magic touch, or that you’ll come off as an annoying salesperson ? Would you rather be awkwardly staring at your store’s point of sale software screen than actually talking to the customer in front of you ?
You should keep reading because, after years of being one of the strongest sellers at my store, I can garantit you : anyone can sell. That’s not to say it’s not going to take a lot of practice. But over the years, I’ve found that a customer will tell you verbally and/or physically how to sell to them. If you’re listening properly and looking for the right cues, you can always tell if a customer is interested in what you have to say, what approach to take with them, and what exactly they’re looking for.
Check out the tips below, put them into action, and you should find yourself successfully closing sales : Practice Active ListeningActive listening isn’t just about standing in front a customer silently. There are a few important things you should be doing to engage in this practice :
The most important part of active listening is to not form a response while the customer is speaking. This is really hard to do, and is going to take a lot of practice. It’s very natural to latch on to one part of a comment and form a response to it, and then shut out the rest of the comment. tera become a good listener, a sales person must resist doing this. Active listening should engage your whole body. Things like nodding and having an open stance show the customer that you are listening to what they have to say. Once it’s time for you to speak, give the customer a quick summary of what they said. This has a few purposes. First, it allows you to come up with a response post-comment without things being awkwardly silent. Second, showing the customer that you heard everything they had to say will often open them up to providing you with more information than they initially supplied.
Practicing réactive listening means that you are fully engaged with learning what the customer wants. This engagement makes a huge difference. Not only will you understand what the customer wants in a deeper way, but you also gain their trust easier.
Next : Pay Attention to Body LanguageAlong with active listening, you should be practicing ‘active looking. ’ ( Yes, I just made that term up. ) People will betray a lot of what they’re thinking in the things that they do with their body. A lot of body language experts will tell you some odd things to look for, like watching if someone scratches their nose, but I don’t think that level of depth is necessary. In fact, I think that if you’re watching for a customer to scratch their nose, you’re probably not practicing réactive listening.
However, there is still plenty of body language you should be paying attention to while you’re actively listening. Let me give you a bermuda list of tells you can easily pick up on during a conversation with a customer. 1. Eye ContactWhere a person’s eyes are looking is one of the easiest ways to tell what they’re focusing on. If the customer is looking at you, or the products you’re sérieux with, that’s a good sign. It means they’re engaged with you and are interested in what you have to say and sell.
If they’re looking around, at someone else, out the door… anywhere that’s not where you are – that’s not a great sign. Usually if this is the case you should say something like, “Let me know if you need anything else, ” and let them do their own thing. No eye contact doesn’t mean you won’t be able to close the sale – but it could spell trouble if you don’t pay attention.
Hands/ArmsAnother important thing to pay attention to is what people do with their hands and arms. Typically, if someone’s arms are crossed, they are uncomfortable and probably not interested in what you have to say. You should tread gently : let this customer know you are there to help. If you’re talking with a customer who is clearly shy and uncomfortable with talking to you, I recommend acting in a more reserved manner and avoiding things like answering questions the customer has yet to ask. In addition, because this positionnement reflects a closed off mind, I mostly suggest avoiding suggestive selling. Suggestive selling does not work well on someone who is not interested.
Open arms and palms facing towards you, however, are an extra sign. If your customer has taken this sort of posture in your conversation, you’re doing well. In fact, I would definitely recommend going for it with suggestive selling. ( Of course, make sure you’re showing them items that are actually related to what they want, not just some pre-placed item that your manager wants to get rid of. )
Facial Expression—Particularly the Curve of Their MouthLastly, you should be paying attention to the locutions you customer is making. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to pay close attention to your customer’s facial termes. Even if a customer is pulling a straight face at you, most people’s mouths are fairly expressive in small ways. Often, the corners of the mouth will be curving slightly up or slightly down. Down is not good for you – it indicates frustration or annoyance. Curving up, though, is an extra sign. Additionally, you should pay attention to how tightly the lips are held. If they’re pressed tightly together, it can mean the same thing as crossed arms.
That’s the three major areas of body language you should be paying attention to while actively listening to your customer. Keep in mind that while the customer’s body can give you an indication about how they feel towards you and your product, it’s the listening that is going to yield you the important information about what they want. Now that we’ve established good customer reading techniques, let’s talk about what to do with the information you pick up :
Respond With Similar Body LanguageOne of the easiest ways to set someone at ease is to “mirror” their body language. You don’t want to go overboard on this – that can seem creepy or just mean. But little things are really important. Start with pace and timing. Is the customer in a hurry ? Or do they want to take things slow and steady ? Speak and act at the same pace as the customer. If she’s in a hurry, speaking quickly and speed walking across the store, then you should speak quickly and speed walk across the store as well. If she’s speaking slowly and moves slowly, your speed talking and walking will only come across as aggressive to her.
In addition, you can do subtle things like adopt a similar positionnement, or use similar hand gestures. With the hand gestures, be careful. You don’t want to come across as mocking your customer. Don’t make juste replicas of hand gestures, keep it general. Determine if someone is ready to buy ( or not ) based on non-verbal cuesHere are a few more tips to help you differentiate shoppers who are ready to buy versus those who aren’t interested.
According to SCORE contributor Lee Perlitz, signals that shoppers are interested in a product include : Spending time looking at or discussing one product type – When a customer spends time focusing on just one product, there’s a good chance they’ve already set their sights on that one and are interested in purchasing it. Looking around for somebody to help them – Catch the shopper’s gaze when you see them looking around. According to Perlitz, you can approach them “if they sustain the glance or raise their eyebrows. ”Body language – A shift in body language signals “a change in mental state that may well indicate readiness to buy. ” For example, if the shopper suddenly looks relaxed after you’ve answered their questions, that could be an indication that they’re ready to buy.
Be sure to approach customers once you see them exhibiting these signals. Failing to spot these signs or not acting in time could result in you missing out on the sale. On the flip side, here are the non-verbal signals indicating that someone isn’t ready to buy. Avoiding eye contact – If a customer doesn’t hold your gaze when you look at them, it likely means they’re not ready to make a purchase yet. Making ‘not now’ excuses – Statements like “just looking” or “not now” are clear signals that they aren’t ready to buy. Perlitz recommends that retailers “make an encouraging remark to keep them looking and back off. ”Looking at many different products – Not being focused on just one product is another indication that shoppers should be given space.
When you see or hear people exhibiting the signals above, then it’s best to hold off on the hard sell. Figure out the type of customer that you’re dealing with and respond accordinglyAs you know, there are several types of customers who walk through your doors, and you need to tailor your approach accordingly. to help you do that, we’ve put together a quick slideshow summarizing the most common variétés of customers in retail. Check it out below :
More tips ? Those are our tips and tricks to help anyone become a good sales person. It’s important to remember that truly good sales people work on creating trusting relationships with their clients before they sell them anything. If you are capable of creating a trusting relationship, you are capable of selling. These tips are intended to help you create that relationship.
What tricks to reading customers do you employ ? Let us know in the comments below ! Author Bio : Cara Wood is a marketing administrative assistant at Capterra, a company that puts business software buyers in touch with software vendors ! When she’s not at work at Capterra, she can be found horse-back riding, reading and just generally having a good time at life.