In a world where customers are putting a premium on convenience and customization, the brands that come out on top are those that deliver a seamless cross-channel experience. But winning companies aren’t necessarily the ones investing in the fanciest, most expensive technology. There are ways to meet modern consumer expectations without spending thousands (or millions) of dollars on tech investments.
Brands that incorporate user-friendly interfaces, properly educate their staff on tech capabilities, and provide swift service with high accuracy will win customer loyalty. Here are a few best practices that will help your brand deliver exceptional cross-channel experiences that impact business outcomes:
1. Provide in-store support
Yes, more customers are shopping online but this doesn’t negate the need for having knowledgeable and helpful staff in your stores. Ensure employees are well-trained and allocate enough personnel to support the ways customers are interacting with your physical locations today.
It’s also important to remember that happy employees pay off with happy customers. An effective engagement program consistently leads to better financial results, because locations with higher engagement have more highly satisfied, loyal customers recommending the business to others.
2. Drive consistency with store layouts + signage
With the rapid increase in online shopping, customers are becoming less familiar with store layouts. This means that when they do visit your store (because even Amazon Prime customers shop brick-and-mortar from time to time), customers want clear-cut direction.
Along with keeping a consistent layout across your brand—i.e., consistency across locations—provide clear, descriptive signage or search kiosks so customers can navigate your aisles with ease. If they can’t find it, they’ll walk out the door and go elsewhere.
3. Generate revenue through increased attachment rates
Strategic displays located at checkout points are a tried-and-true method for upselling. Make sure that same strategy is being implemented at the registers where your buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) orders occur. These customers are likely making a beeline to checkout and won’t be picking up additional items throughout the store, so providing a convenient place for them to snag a couple extra pieces of merchandise is a great way to increase spend.
4. Make sure the website experience drives in-store conversion
More than 1 in 3 consumers report visiting a brand’s website in connection to an in-store visit. Not only that, website satisfaction plays a key role in driving in-store purchases—but there is a lot of room for improvement across all retail segments. To keep the needle moving in the right direction, brands must ensure accurate inventory visibility, make the checkout process seamless, and be sure to clearly communicate pickup times.
Customers don’t expect your website to break the mold—they’re just looking for an experience that doesn’t make them want to break their screen. Make sure your digital channels are facilitating their needs rather than adding to their frustrations. The easiest way to do that? Start with the assumption that the customers visiting your website are the same ones browsing your store—and they want the same experience.
5. Promote loyalty programs
Another investment that can have a major impact on your bottom line is a loyalty rewards program, particularly one with a user-friendly app. Simply put, when a customer downloads a brand’s loyalty membership app, they are more likely to return.
When Krispy Kreme Japan implemented a program focused on driving membership and increasing downloads of their loyalty program, Krispy Kreme Rewards app, they saw a 4X increase in membership and an uptick in customer satisfaction and comp sales.
6. Understand how cross-channel shopping behaviors vary across demographics
Younger, diverse, and less affluent demographics are more likely to engage your brand’s digital touchpoints in connection to an in-store visit. But cross-channel shoppers aren’t a homogenous group. Understanding how your core customer base interacts with these channels is mission critical.
Do you know who your cross-channel customers are? It’s a big question. Because the more you know about how customers behave in your category, the better equipped you’ll be to make sure their cross-channel journey ends at your checkout.
Build a winning cross-channel strategy
You don’t have to be the next Amazon—just don’t let a competitor be the next you. Take the time to invest selectively and make educated enhancements that make sense for your customer, location design, and product strategies. And once you’ve decided what to invest in, ensure team members are prepped and trained to handle a new kind of customer experience.
The need for tech that matches customer expectations isn’t going away. For more on cross-channel consumers and their motivations, download the report: 3 things every retailer needs to know about cross-channel shoppers.
Josie Gaeckle | VP, Client Insights