We have entered a new era of trading. It is no longer enough to offer fast and cheap products, consumers are looking for more. The reality is that Covid has changed consumer behaviour, with many people rethinking what is important to them and how and where they want to spend their money. But this has also presented retailers with an opportunity to reinvent success. According to latest research58% of consumers say that Covid has made them realize how much they value experiences, being the simple things they miss the most, like enjoying dinner and having a physical experience in a store.
This gives retailers the opportunity to carve out a space in the market and compete with the online world. Consumers are increasingly looking for memorable experiences and are willing to spend their cash for them. This may open up new opportunities for businesses, at a time when we are facing fierce competition and a rising cost of living. Retailers don’t necessarily have to compete on prices online and lure customers through the door with sales. What is important for today’s consumer is to create a pleasant experience, one in which he feels valued and appreciated. The end result is a win-win situation, retailers don’t have to cut profit margins or invest in big changes, it’s really the little nuances that can have a big impact.
However, the businesses that will succeed and stand out will be those that recognize that the experience goes beyond the transaction. With consumer needs constantly changing, meeting your customers’ expectations is no easy task. The same survey showed that there is actually a significant gap between what is offered and what is wanted, and if it is not recognized, it can result in missed market opportunities. The survey found that 89% of companies say they go above and beyond to provide unique experiences for their customers, but only 48% of consumers say the same.
Adding a personal touch
So what are the lessons we can learn from this? It’s not about making companies work harder, or offering an out-of-this-world experience. It really is the small points of contact that will make the difference. In today’s world of commerce, businesses can use technology, data and information to understand what matters to their customers and make small changes. For example, enabling a seamless checkout process can go a long way and ensure customers don’t leave at the last hurdle. In addition, customers want to pay how and where they want, whether through a credit card, contactless payments, or even remote payments such as payment links. Taking a flexible approach that suits each client will really pay off in the long run.
Business owners may think that creating a memorable experience means taking extra money out of their pockets at a time when every extra penny counts. But this does not have to be like this. The same poll found that consumers are finding strong customer service more rewarding than atmosphere and price. These little things don’t cost much in terms of time or money, but they can make a difference in customer retention. By combining these small changes with technology, companies can also ensure that they offer digital touchpoints throughout the customer journey and gain insights. It is this data and insight that will ultimately enable businesses to create a memorable experience, based on their customers and their spend. Imagine being able to discover what customers want, even before they walk through the door, or understand how they want to pay and what matters most to them.
Building meaningful relationships
Customers are, of course, an intrinsic part of any business. Engaging with them regularly and always making them feel valued by rewarding their loyalty will increasingly be the success differentiator. This may seem like a daunting task, but the good news is that the rewards are huge and the changes can be small. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and by leveraging the technology that can provide this information, businesses can really get to know their customers and create a memorable experience that’s tailored for them.
With expectations higher than ever, companies can harness the experience economy to enable a tipping point and deliver something customers want. The future of commerce is about more than just shopping, and it is brick-and-mortar businesses that will be best placed to put experiences at the heart of their business, and those that can harness data and insights to do so will be best placed to thrive.
Jon Knott is head of customer knowledge at dojo