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.
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