January 4, 2018

4 ways connecting with customers will help you win in 2018

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I found myself at the grocery store on the afternoon of Dec. 24, along with half the city, it seemed. In the checkout line, something notable happened. The store’s assistant manager approached me and said, “Did you see the rolls we have on sale? I see you here a lot, and I thought you’d like to know there was a great deal on them.”

 

Of course, I got the rolls. They’re a small purchase, to be sure, but the most valuable part of that interaction was the personal connection he created with me. Knowing that my visits to the store were noticed and appreciated boosted the store’s emotional value to me, making me feel even more loyal not only to that retailer, but to that particular store.

I’m not alone, of course. Shoppers’ emotional engagement has a big impact on their shopping habits, according to a 2017 report by Capgemini. In fact, the report tells us, emotions – such as familiarity and belonging – had the strongest correlation with loyalty in retail, trumping more rational factors like price competitiveness and promotions.

In the digital age, personalization through email, text and mobile apps is an important engagement channel for retailers of all types and sizes. But connections in brick-and-mortar stores can be just as, if not more, effective.

Connected customers make purchases. 49 percent of shoppers in a TimeTrade study said they were extremely likely to buy if they got help from a knowledgeable sales associate. When your staff is well-trained to recognize shoppers who need help, they can convert browsers to buyers and upsell for a bigger spend.

Connected customers feel more loyal and buy more later. Customers with the best experiences spend 140 percent more compared to those with poor experiences, says Harvard Business Review. Happy customers will keep coming back again and again.

Connected customers tell their friends. According to a study by Deloitte, 42 percent of consumers tell a friend or family member about a positive experience with a product or service. Word-of-mouth today is more likely to mean sharing an experience on Facebook or Twitter, of course. Make a connection with your customers so that when they post, they’ve got good things to say.

Connected customers give you valuable feedback. People are generally non-confrontational and unlikely to share a negative experience with a store employee in person. In fact, only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain. Connecting with customers via customer feedback kiosks is a growing trend that can help you capitalize on shoppers’ “in-the-moment” feelings – even if they’re negative – and make adjustments to improve sales.

Connecting with customers and their emotions is best handled by your employees on the floor. The most reliable way to help them do that is to make sure they’re available and ready to help instead of mired in other tasks. Ensure your stores are properly staffed and optimized for productivity, not just efficiency, to win in 2018.

 

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Image: iStock