Marketing is a tool/method which helps a business enhance their customer’s experience. A great storefront with friendly employees makes for a happy customer who lingers around to buy more stuff. This is true for retail stores as well as online sites. The increase in traffic on a site is often attributed to higher earnings because of higher ad impressions and click throughs,
My favourite bookstore
A lot of bookstores these days have a coffee shop and comfy chairs to sit, where people can read books at leisure. I like this company’s ( Crosswords ) retail stores though it is strange why they have put any information about their awesome retail experience. Don’t just be distracted by their online store. They have got great retail stores where you can browse books sitting comfortably on a leather stool or chair.
The purpose of making the visit more pleasing is to make customers stay. Increasing the stay time may help increase sales.
Why shops want you to relax?
A lot of retail shop play music to create a familiar, comfortable environment. An ethnic wear shop for example would play classical music while trendy clothes store is more likely to play contemporary music. In India, a lot of stores run by families and often selling clothes offer customer a cup of tea. The reason is obvious. A less hassled, relaxed customer is more likely to buy more stuff and is lesser likely to bargain ( yes, you can bargain at many local shops in India: A tip to all foreign tourists).
An example of lower levels of customer experience
On the other hand , I have seen a few retail shops with lesser number of dressing rooms. One of the bigger turn off for mankind(and womankind) is standing in queues. The larger the queue is lesser the customer experience. It then makes a lot of sense to create additional redundant capacity ( more dressing rooms for example in retail) to take on the rush whenever it happens (often suddenly). If customers can not try clothes, they will probably be less likely to purchase them.
The same can be said for your website. Bad design can force your customer to go away.
Here is what a good site need at a minimum
- A good website selling things should be able to go from product view page to sales page in less than three clicks.
- The registration form should not feel like filling a government form.
- There should be helpful nudges and suggestions to help customers wherever needed.
- Up-selling should be done all the time but it should be as least invasive as possible. Too much upselling will be perceived as a imposing salesman trying to make a sale.
- The URLs should be such that they can be bookmarked easily ( they are called as search engine friendly urls but I would call them customer friendly URLs).
- Search functions should be exhaustive and give users enough options to get what they are looking for.
But bringing a customer to shop is not everything
To add to customer comfort, you may add things like trial period ( depending on business model), guaranteed returns and good services . The service desk needs to handled by humans even though there is a cost to hiring people and paying them. Even big businesses are getting the learning the value of keeping a humans at the customer service end.
Train your staff as much as possible
A more important point is to also make sure that you your staff( internally or externally based on the money you can spend) on customer care etiquettes. A well trained staff always helps in elevating mood of customer. Train staff on your products, your services and customer handling. You might also need to invest in IT infrastructure so that they can have the information readily available when they need it the most, in front of a customer. Your customers will appreciate promptness of your staff while the real reason is that they are supported by IT infrastructure.
Of course it all has a cost
Customer experience definitely does not come without a cost. You have to think of things mentioned above and also many others which I have not covered here.When you are planning for your business, make sure that you account for customer experience and how far your are going to go. It should be included both in your costs and prices.
The point is simple: Customers tend to buy more when they can browse comfortably either on your site or retail store.
Think of ways of doing that see your customer praising you for your great business sense.