A customer’s in-store experience is crucial to the success of any retail store. According to the National Retail Federation, 28% of home improvement shoppers say that word-of-mouth is the thing that influences them the most when it comes to deciding to make a purchase from a particular store. Word-of-mouth in today’s world means how a customer rates/reviews your store online and in social media as well as the way they personally convey their opinion of your store to friends and family. Those online and social media ratings and reviews are seen by the entire world, so you should take great care to make sure you are being reviewed in a positive light as often as possible. How can you ensure that your customers will have a positive experience in your store and then give your store positive word-of-mouth reviews?
Cleanliness Is Next To…You Know The Old Saying! – When a customer steps into your store, they should always find a clean environment: floor swept and mopped, entry rugs vacuumed, counters wiped and cleared of clutter, light fixtures clean (no dust webs hanging!) and restrooms clean and free from smells and debris. No one wants to shop in a dirty environment. When you are in the store environment day after day sometimes the condition of the store can be overlooked, or a less than spic-and-span appearance may become “normal” to you. Have someone who can be objective take a good look at the store for you and give you suggestions on how you can improve its appearance.
Organization and Stocking – A store that is hard to navigate and that does not carry a good selection of products will not get good reviews. Make sure that your customers can quickly and easily find the items they need by taking a look around your store. Is your navigation signage easily readable even from a distance? Is the signage clear and easy to follow? If not, fix your signage! Carrying a good selection of products goes without saying, and a smart retailer always takes note of suggestions or requests from customers and follows through.
Friendly, Knowledgeable, and Efficient – Are your employees trained well enough that you feel comfortable leaving the store? Do they know how to greet customers, ask the right questions, make the right suggestions, close the sale? Are your employees friendly and do they put customers at ease or do they give the impression that the customers are bothering them? Are your employees knowledgeable about the products you sell and can they make suggestions about which products a customer needs for a specific project? Do all of your employees know how to operate all of the store equipment such as paint mixers and your POS system and can they get the customers checked out quickly and efficiently? If you answered no or hesitated to answer yes to any of the above questions, you may need to address your training methods. A well-trained staff is one of the best ways to ensure that your customers will enjoy an above average in-store experience!
A great in-store experience for all customers should be something every independent paint and decorating retailer strives for. Customers who don’t have a great experience in your store will not be shy about spreading their discontent around on social media and other online outlets as well as to friends and family. Fortunately, creating a pleasant in-store-experience for your customers is not hard, and can be achieved by every retailer with a little thought, planning, and then action!