Are you listening?

According to The Office for National Statistics (ONS) retail sales have seen a return to growth throughout October as consumers began preparing for Christmas.

With increased volumes of consumers visiting retail stores we would suggest that it’s vitally important that attention is paid to the customer experience. Great experiences reap great rewards, with almost two-thirds of customers willing to pay a premium for them.

Like with friendships, customer relationships bloom when individuals feel understood. But when customers feel like their needs aren’t appreciated, even after multiple interactions, relationships can weaken and break down.

This is why here at Retail Maxim we support many of our clients by providing Customer Exit & Intercept Surveys. In a nutshell, this involves speaking with customers as they exit a store, utilising a short and focused set of questions to gain their opinion on a range of elements.

So for example, key benefits for retail clients include understanding questions such as:

  • Why customers didn’t purchase
  • Where else they shop for similar goods and why
  • What is their perception of the brand?
  • What is their perception of the customer service received instore
  • What are customers’ unfufilled needs?

Answers to questions such as this help allow data to be put at the heart of decision making, to shape strategic direction and to help put customer experience at the heart of a retailer’s approach.

Please email marketing@retail-maxim.co.uk for more information

Dare we say it?… Christmas will be here before you know it!

This ‘golden quarter’ is an absolutely crucial trading period for most retailers. Now is an ideal time for retailers to seize the opportunity to leverage bricks-and-mortar locations to provide a truly differentiated, memorable and distinctive instore experience to shoppers.

However, as important as getting the Customer Experience right during Christmas trading is, it’s also important that the momentum of excellent customer service provision carries forward into 2022.

At any time of the year, store staff have an enormous influence over the customer experience, right from the moment a customer steps inside the store until they leave. This can include welcoming customers, offering help, assisting the customer to understand their needs, providing advice and solutions, and ensuring that the customer feels reassured over their choice.

At Retail Maxim we offer a range of CX measurement & development services that can help clients improve their service offering from traditional store based Mystery Shopping through to Omni Channel assessments and CSAT surveys.

Please email marketing@retail-maxim.co.uk for more information.

Retail rule book rewritten

For some observers the question remains, why would a customer visit a bricks and mortar store when there is an infinite selection of goods to choose from online? It’s a valid question. We believe that, put simply, at our core, most of us are social creatures. We like to be able to ask questions and share thoughts and ideas with professional staff who are both personable as well as knowledgeable.

It also comes down to re-assurance: reducing post purchase dissonance and leaving a customer with the feeling that they made the right decision.

Cutting through all the noise around headlines such as ‘Death of the High Street’, we have concluded that the savvy retailers are not actually wrapped up in the ongoing arguments about “stores versus online”. Instead, they are focused on finding new ways to MERGE both of these routes to market to drive memorable customer experiences and give consumers more reasons to shop with them.

A practical example of this “merging” process is the use of Online Video to bring store staff to the digital audience. Increasing numbers of retailers offer ‘Live advice’ direct from their stores via a virtual connection. This has been labelled ‘humanising the online shopping experience’ and reinforces the earlier point about us being social creatures at heart. This is just one example and we are certain that as technology progresses, so too will the clever ways in which it can be harnessed to enhance customer experiences.

In conclusion, we believe that physical stores complement online and vice versa. It’s not a simple either / or choice. Of course, understanding the customer experience and gleaning feedback is just as important as it always has been in this rapidly changing environment. That’s why, at Retail Maxim we offer a range of CX measurement & development services that can help our clients improve their service offering from traditional store based Mystery Shopping through to Omni Channel assessments and CSAT surveys.

Please email marketing@retail-maxim.co.uk for more information.

Mystery Shopping your Retail Partners

We have seen an increase in demand for our Mystery Shopping activities in the UK for brands and manufacturers of goods whose main route to consumers is by working closely with select retailer partners. This can range from manufacturers of pet foods and flooring through to prams and baby products, plus everything in between! In most cases the manufacturer / brand provides a significant amount of marketing and training support to their selected retail partners.

Our role in this scenario usually involves members of our Mystery Shopping field team visiting the host retailer’s stores, acting as a normal customer and assessing how a particular brand is being represented and promoted by staff. This level of insight can be so helpful for manufacturers and brands to develop further ways they can support their retail partners to drive sales of their products.

With so much competition amongst brands and manufacturers combined with a consolidation of retail space and a focus on service excellence, we expect the demand for Mystery Shopping in this area to continue.

#Mysteryshopping #Retail #Manufacturing #CXmeasurement #Customerexperience

Please email marketing@retail-maxim.co.uk for more information.

High Street Regeneration

As we all know, the shift in retail patterns has taken a painful toll on High treet retail. However, as is well documented, it also presents a huge opportunity to rebalance the core of our towns away from retail dominance and back to a place with a rich mix of uses where
people live, play and work … plus shop. As every town and high street is different, there can be no ‘one fits all approach’ to regeneration and placemaking. Therefore, to help understand how town centres are meeting current and future requirements there has never been a more important time for Town Centre Managers, Councils, and Planning Consultants to undertake local Customer Insight. This will allow data to be put at the heart of decision making to shape strategic direction and assist in future proofing town centres.

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Car parking provision justifications

The new London Plan is expected to be published by Sadiq Khan in the coming weeks. Specifically, in relation to car parking allocation for retail redevelopment, the London Mayor will undoubtedly be seeking to find an appropriate balance between the viability and vitality of a retailer pitted against excessive car parking provision that can undermine greener forms of travel as well as public transport.

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What the Retail Industry can learn from the closure of Thomas Cook

 

According to retail statistics, out of 31 failing companies so far this year, 1184 stores have been closed either due to dissolvency or restructuring, casting doubt over the jobs of at least 35,594 employees. 

 

In our previous blog, we looked at how to protect stores from the ever-increasing influence of online shopping upon the retail industry. Today, we’re going to explore why one of the most recognisable brands on the high street has capitulated under the pressures of the modern economy; and how their mistakes correspond with the retail landscape.

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How to protect your High Street Store from the rise of Online Shopping

Online shopping is just one of the many wonderful developments since the turn of the millenium. No queues, stock readily available, and no need to leave the house? Yes, please!

Unfortunately, like many industries that have suffered from the advancements in technology over the past few decades, the High Street is enduring a considerable challenge from online retail, as stores close at an alarming rate across the UK.

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How important is Same-day Delivery for Online Consumers?

About 10 years ago, the concept of same-day delivery, where a customer makes an online purchase and goods are delivered to the customer on the same day, was almost non-existent in e-commerce. However, technology has rapidly improved making e-commerce shopping more efficient, faster and easy to use. Consequently, the way products are delivered to consumers has also improved. As a result, not only are many online retailers are offering same day delivery, many online shoppers expect it.

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Does the weather affect how you shop?

While there are seasonal trends in retail – bank holidays, Christmas and regular sales – the weather can also play a large part in sales and even pricing.

From hot summers to wet winters, the conditions can determine how consumers buy, what they buy, when retailers introduce new lines and when sales periods start.

It’s a fine balancing act for many retailers, with those managing to take advantage of shifts in the weather getting the best results.  Running the right promotions at the right time can lead to a considerable increase in sales and profits.

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