It’s easy for retailers to get caught up in their own interests and sometimes lose focus on what’s important. How can I get the customer to buy more? How do I increase customer footfalls and retention? How do I make the most out of each customer? All valid questions, but if your focus is on issues like these, you’re losing sight of the fact that your customer is your biggest advocate.
Think about the customer journey in terms of what you can give the customer and what you can take away from the customer to make their experience better. Focusing on this improves the customer experience, which should have a direct effect on answering the questions we already spelled out.
Give the customer information.
More relevant information can often improve the customer journey and give them a better experience in your store. By passing on knowledge, you empower them to enhance their relationship with your brand. For example, playing all advertising on fuel pump screens can seem appealing, but also showing infotainment at the dispenser can make a customer’s day better. Playing local traffic and weather is valuable knowledge while games and trivia provide a fun experience. And that enhanced engagement will make your merchandising messages more effective.
Take away friction.
To make your store more convenient, focus on removing any constraints or hassles that negatively impact the customer journey. This can include everything from making sure the entryway is clear and easy to walk through to smart, retail technology that improves the experience. Implement grab and go ordering on your app to decrease the length of time customers must be in the store. Not only does this take away friction for the customer, it also can help increase market basket.
Walk the walk.
Get your head out of P&L statements and focus on the customer journey. Walk your property. Be in your store. Find out where the pinch points are. From there, you can enhance the customer journey. This can be by adding technology like self-checkout and kiosk ordering. It can also be empowering to your employees to further improve the customer journey.
Look at your property from the exterior, too. Stand in the forecourt and think about what would drive customers into your store. You should always aim to set yourself up as a destination that makes customers’ lives better. Maybe you have the best ice cream in town, so parents want to stop to get their kids a treat. Maybe you have great lunch options for busy workers to stop in and grab a quick lunch.
Always put people—customers and your team members—first in business. Don’t think about the gross margins on your proprietary food products first. Think about how those items can improve your customers’ journey. It’s pretty simple. If you are putting customers first and making their lives easier, the margins will follow.