How to create the ultimate customer experience in 2022

With retailers embracing a new year, now’s the time to consider priorities for the period ahead, and chances are top of the list will be the customer experience.

Widely recognised as the key differentiator between the average retailer and the great, a seamless and enticing customer experience builds a brand’s reputation, promotes customer loyalty, and neatly bridges the gap between online and in-store.

So, let’s look at five ways to create the ultimate customer experience in 2022.

ultimate customer experience 2022
February 09, 2022

Make it seamless

The customer experience starts long before a consumer walks into a store and far in advance of them making a purchase.

The majority of the time (90 per cent) it begins online, with customers steadily stepping through the sales funnel to make their purchase online or in-store.

This funnel needs to be seamless, starting with a mobile-first website that is easy to navigate and provides useful information such as product availability, store locations, opening hours, product reviews, and frictionless checkout.

Most importantly, the online should meld with the real world, allowing the customer to complete part of the purchasing journey online then effortlessly transition to an in-store experience if they wish – whether that’s via click and collect or physically walking into a store.


Provide options

In the wake of Covid-19 the customer is now savvier, more digitally oriented and more demanding of greater options.

provide options

They want to purchase the product they wish, via the channel they choose, using the payment method of their preference. And whatever purchase option they select, they expect it to be frictionless.

In this landscape, the retailer who recognises their customer’s needs and meets them through flexibility wins.

That means an online presence is a must, purchase options like click and collect or home delivery are non-negotiable, time spent in the queue should be minimal, and service instore should exceed their expectations.


Make it appealing and interactive

As much as customers continue to love real-world retail, events of the past two years mean in some instances they need a good reason to enter a store.

This is where the in-store customer experience comes into its own, playing to the bricks and mortar strength of interaction, staff knowledge and the ability to touch, feel and test a product.

Retailers should turn their attention to their displays and store layout, ensuring their outlet provides an enticing environment that lures customers in.

Essential to this are tools like reporting and analytics, allowing the retailer to understand which displays a customer interacts with, what times of day a store is likely to be busy, how well marketing promotions are working, and that all-important sales conversion rate.


Hone in on clientelling

Once a customer is in-store, the service should be second to none. The focus should be on providing efficient, knowledgeable expertise and a frictionless sale.

hone in on clientelling

These days, the customer also expects an endless aisle, where, even if a product cannot be located in-store, it can be sourced on their behalf.

When it comes to frictionless experiences, it’s all about equipping staff to assist the customer wherever they can, using mobile devices, so they never have to leave the customer’s side, and can complete a transaction at the moment.

Further tools which assist the frictionless experience include simple things, like smart keys which allow staff to open cabinets, displays and drawers on a customer’s behalf without hunting around for a key.


Look to your inventory

A solid grasp of a store’s available inventory is critical to the customer experience. This inventory should be tracked in real time, across all channels and instantly updated so customers and staff can see exactly what is available at what location.

This is especially important at a time when supply chain issues are impacting the retail landscape.

You can learn more about improving your inventory management here, with tools that assist including RFID inventory tracking, on-shelf availability sensors, mPOS, Tablet Stands and reporting and analytics.


Staff training is a must

A retailer’s staff are at the frontline of the customer experience, with their insight, sales skills, and knowledge one of the major reasons a customer chooses to shop in-store.

Staff training is a must

Sales associates should be regularly trained so they can provide a stellar customer experience while offering a deep insight into the products available, how they work and further items that might be of value to the consumer.

In addition, retailers should arm their sales associates with the right tools to provide that customer experience, whether that’s mobile Point of Sale, data and analytics, or mobile devices that assist with product knowledge and stock availability.


The final word

The retail sector has endured its fair share of challenges over the past two years, but regardless of the current landscape, one thing remains clear: a great customer experience reigns supreme.

That experience should be frictionless, personal, insightful, and available wherever the customer chooses to interact with the brand.

You can learn more about optimising your customer experience here.