It’s arguably the biggest buzzword of the year in the retail industry: customer experience. Retailers are obsessed with customer experience, yet struggle to put their finger on just what facet of their business they should focus on to reach more loyal customers.
Customer experience is defined as the interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. For retailers, customer experience boils down to best serving the customer from the time they walk into the store, or login to the website online, to purchase.
What exactly makes up a great retail customer experience for customers? Here are a few retailers paving the way when it comes to offering enjoyable experiences across every touch point.
For luxury retailer Nordstrom creating a great customer experience lies in focusing on its loyal customer base. This includes making their products more accessible and providing rewards incentives that make it an easy choice to keep shopping at its stores.
With equally loyal in-store and online shoppers, Nordstrom has done an excellent job of blending experiences with shoppers on both channels. For example, offering the ability to shop and order online and then pick up the purchase in the store at the designated online order space the same day is one of the many ways to cater to customer’s many different shopping habits.
Nordstrom also knows the value of rewarding its customers for their loyalty. Nordstrom cardholders are given exclusive access to their annual anniversary sale and can purchase discounted merchandise weeks before it goes live to the public. Additionally, every purchase made at Nordstrom gets you rewards cash to use at the store. Customers like to be rewarded for their loyalty, and Nordstrom’s approach only strengthens the customer experience they offer.
BJ’s Whole Sale
BJ’s Whole Sale knows that creating a great customer experience is rooted in keeping their membership base happy. In fact, their happy members are what put the warehouse retailer at the top of Temkin’s annual customer experience study.
The BJ’s membership provides customers with so much more than access to the largest assortment of discounted bulk products. For customers it’s a loyalty and discount tool that provides them with exclusive ongoing deals and discounts both within the store and outside of it. Members save up to 25% on grocery store prices, and can use manufacturers’ coupons on purchases, making BJ’s affordable and budget friendly.
Even though the majority of sales are in-store, BJs has applied the same in-store experience to its online channel. They’ve brought their highly sought after warehouse experience to an ecommerce store that let’s customers get the same great deals no matter where they shop. BJ’s knows that consistency is key in the customer experience, including when it comes to discounts and pricing.
When you hear about retailers making strides and staying on top today, for most people a make-up company does not come to mind. Sephora delivers great customer experiences to their customers by creating customized digital experiences through personalization.
Sephora utilizes data from its Beauty Insider program to send personalized communications and recommendations to its customers. The company leverages data from a customer’s online shopping activity in-store by employing beacons, which send notifications when the shopper is near an item they left in a digital shopping cart.
The key in doing personalization well is to not ask too much information from customers. Sephora does an excellent job of asking the right amount from customers and showing them why the information is needed. Today’s customers are especially cautious of giving out too much information, as they don’t want to be overly advertised and marketed to. Retailers must invest in the right degree of personalization for their business to enhance the customer experience.
It should come as no surprise that the Amazon experience is one favored by customers. Amazon’s business is built around being customer obsessed. It lives to serve their customers in every facet of their business, and that theme of service is consistent throughout everything they do.
It’s the reason why returns are as simple as Amazon letting you keep your product and refunding you money. Or that with Prime Now you can have your items delivered to you within the hour that you ordered it. Or with Amazon Grocery you can save yourself a trip to the grocery store and have fresh produced delivered straight to your door, and the list of capabilities and Amazon features go on and on.
When it comes to the customer experience, Amazon’s approach is simple: alleviate pain points from customer’s shopping processes, by optimizing the process altogether and make making a purchase frictionless. This is key for retailers looking to make their brand Amazon-proof.
While retail giants like Amazon and Wal-Mart go head to head, Target has been quietly reinventing their customer experience in the background. Its efforts to differentiate itself haven’t gone unnoticed.
Target has done an excellent job of listening to its customers and giving them what they want: great deals, more every day low prices, quality products, and an overall better purchasing experience.
The brand recently refreshed their inventory, introducing new in-house brands and exclusive partnerships, and retiring brands that don’t fit their new fresh and modern experience approach. Another part of Target modernizing its customer experience included fully embracing omnichannel and revamping Target.com and the Target app to make the shopping process truly hassle-free. Shoppers now easily have the ability to browse online and pick up in-store, or order online and receive fast and free shipping.
How are you focusing on the customer experience to reach more loyal customers? Checkout our latest ebook to see how retailers are leveraging credit and payments to optimize their checkout experience.