- By Sophie Langham
- Feb 27 2017
Making it MemorableImportant Customer Experience Lessons for Retailers
There is no doubt about it, the pressure is on for UK retailers in 2017. The Government’s plan to hike rates for high-street shops will inevitably have an impact on their costs and feed through to higher prices for the consumer. We need to be given a valid reason for not shopping around for the cheapest price, or indeed just simply clicking on Amazon. So in order to build customer loyalty, retailers need to look for ways of making the shopping experience truly memorable if they are to survive. ‘Ok’ is no longer good enough. As consumers, we’re not only looking for much more, we now expect it.
I witnessed a great example of how this can be achieved the other day when toy shopping with my children. We were looking for a family game that we could take away with us on holiday. The criteria was simple – it needed to appeal to a large age range, it had to be simple to learn (I personally hate long instructions) and light enough to put in a suitcase. The choice of toy shops in my local town is fairly extensive – everything from Toys R Us to The Entertainer, not to mention various department store offerings, all with great toy departments. We however opted for Fun Learning, a small chain of independent stores in London and the South East and an online service.
The reason I chose this retailer is that I had bought from them before and they’d impressed me. Their sales team are not only friendly and attentive, but they seem to know their stuff and make great recommendations.
They didn’t disappoint – in fact on this day they took it one step further. As usual we were greeted with a “Are you looking for something particular today – maybe I can help you?” (or words to that effect). I explained what we were after and was shown a variety of games that met my criteria. The girl serving us clearly knew and had experienced the games she was describing.
She talked with enthusiasm and shared her personal favourites. We must have looked unsure or maybe indecisive because in the next breath she was asking “Would you like me to show you all how to play – I have a box open”. She proceeded to pull up a mobile counter (she’d clearly done this before) and got out the game. She then offered to pair up with my younger son and challenged my older son to a game. Wow! Everyone was happy and ten minutes later we were purchasing said game!
Fun Learning were successful in creating a truly memorable experience that day – one that I’ve shared with several friends. They’ve totally won me over and I’ll no doubt be returning in the not too distant future. What struck me most about my experience though is that this is a retailer who was already doing everything right. They clearly understand the importance of offering a consistent customer experience; they employ the right people and invest time in making sure their team know their products. But over and above those basics they’re looking at ways to ‘delight’ and create not just a good service, but an outstanding one – one that their loyal shoppers will remember and talk about.
It occurs to me that some of the larger successful retailers that we know and love could learn a thing or two from this small independent toy store. We have come to expect a great service from the likes of John Lewis, but is that enough? A memorable experience can go a long way beyond even the best known brands to encourage loyalty – and it’s something a digital-only retailer can never do!
What are the high street’s best going to do to ensure that consumers remember the experience rather than the price they paid?