Whether you own or manage a retail business, or are simply a consumer, it is obvious that the retail experience is not what is used to be. As competition has grown, customer relationships go far beyond the door of any brick and mortar store. In order to effectively compete, retailers need to connect with customers beyond those four walls. But sometimes, developing the necessary strategies can be costly to the retailer, and consequently, expensive for the consumer. Testing new products and methods in limited geographic areas can help businesses better define the needs and wants of their customers and give them what they’re looking for.
Establishing Brand Loyalty
From Tide detergent to Aeropostale clothes to Coach handbags, most people have brands they are willing to spend a little more money on, even if they are on a budget. Whether the brand is known for quality, style, or the status it displays, Brand loyalty is one of the biggest things that can allow retailers to establish the largest gap between production price and retail price.
But individual products don’t hold a monopoly on branding. There are several retail stores that give customers an expectation of value when they walk in the store. TJ Maxx is a good example of a store that customers return to because they expect value. Because TJ Maxx still offers brand names, despite the wares being mostly overstocked merchandise, customers feel they are getting something good without spending a lot of money. The brand’s, “Never the same place twice,” philosophy gives customers confidence that they can save money and keep their individuality.
Inspiring an emotional connection to your brand to drive sales
The ability to save money and remain unique is one of many things that can drive up sales. Customers can choose to look clever and tell friends about their great bargain, or make them believe they paid more than they did.
Another quality customers like to portray, particularly in this day and age, is that of being health conscious. Consumers are more and more interested in eating healthy foods and providing those foods to their families. Many of these customers shop at places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets. Is everything in the store healthy? Certainly not, but the option is there, prominently displayed and customers feel encouraged to purchase those goods. For that, they keep coming back, even if it means paying a bit more.
Providing a unique and engaging customer experience that increases sales
When it comes to providing an engaging customer experience that generates sales, Amazon.com is a great example. The “little online bookseller that could,” has become the online one-stop-shop for just about everything.
One of the main things that catapulted Amazon into the forefront was that the company seemed to know its customers. Amazon doesn’t peek in windows, but it is a master of tracking. The company knows where customers browse, and what they buy. When Amazon makes a suggestion, chances are customers will seriously think about making a purchase. Even those who want to resist shopping at large retailers keep returning in spite of themselves.