Customer Experience in Retail Guide: Strategies and the Future of CX


Last updated on July 26, 2023

Before the digital age, customer experience in retail was a completely different world. Success depended on creating an excellent physical environment for shoppers. Businesses focused on product arrangement, purchasing/return processes, and employee helpfulness.

These elements, and others, are still significant today, of course. Where and how they take place has changed, of course. But the need to deliver an outstanding customer experience hasn’t. 

According to research, 95% of consumers believe customer experience is the key to brand loyalty. With a strategic approach, you can design an optimal customer experience that will encourage your customers to return.

This guide will dig into everything you need to know about customer experience. We’ll cover its importance, provide strategies for improving it, and look at what the future holds for customer experience in retail. 

Let’s get started. 

What is Customer Experience and Why Is it Important?

The customer experience (CX) is a customer’s impression of an organization or brand based on their interactions with you. It is the sum of all customer interactions with a company or brand, from their first contact to post-purchase follow-up.

While customer experience is still important, the way someone interacts with you is not like it was a decade ago. Technology, mainly eCommerce, has changed the way people shop.

There are now multiple touchpoints for your customers–websites, apps, and newsletters in addition to your physical space (and they may never even set foot in your store!). 

Because of this complexity, the retail customer journey must be consistent across all touchpoints (website design, apps, physical space, etc.). Consistency is what customers want and expect, providing them with a great experience. 

Customer experience can make or break relationships between companies and customers. A positive experience builds loyalty and trust, increases sales, and improves customer satisfaction.

A bad CX can motivate customers to abandon the brand altogether. 

The retail market is insanely competitive today. Understanding customer experience is essential for businesses to thrive for the long haul. If you want to stand out and grow over time, CX needs to be a priority. 

What’s the Difference Between Customer Experience and Customer Service?

Customer Experience vs customer service

Businesses often use the terms customer experience and customer service interchangeably. But they have distinct meanings. Customer service is the direct interaction between a company and its customers. Customer experience is about the perception or feeling a customer has of the company.

Let’s put it another way. Customer service focuses on specific interactions, like resolving complaints or answering questions. You can think of customer service as a point on a timeline. 

Customer experience is the line. It takes into account all touchpoints during the purchasing process. CX includes product quality, ease of use, pricing, delivery speed, and more.

Your customers are most likely to find you online and shop there first. That’s where they’ll communicate with you via social media and email. For this reason, CX depends heavily on your digital marketing. If your digital marketing isn’t up to snuff, check out these great digital marketing courses to get caught up.

You can measure customer satisfaction through two metrics. The first is CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score). The second is NPS (Net Promoter Score). These metrics reveal how your customers feel about your products and services. This leads to making improvements so you can deliver a fantastic customer experience.

Retailers must pay close attention to both metrics to stay competitive in today’s market. But the Net Promoter Score should be at the top of your list. It measures how likely someone is to recommend you to others. 

When you send out a customer survey, you just have to ask one question: “How likely are you to recommend [brand/service/product] to a friend or colleague?” 

We’ll talk more about the NPS in a bit. 

5 Strategies to Improve Customer Experience in Your Store

It’s one thing to say, “We’ll give our customers a great experience!” It’s another to make a strategic plan and put it in place. Reaching your goals of customer loyalty and increased revenue requires proven strategies. 

Here are five strategies that will help improve the customer experience for your retail store. 

Understand Your Customers

Understanding your customers is essential to any business’s success. Knowing who your customers are and what they want means you can create better products to meet their needs. When you meet their needs, they enjoy the experience. 

One of the most important ways to understand your customers is by collecting data about them. This could be data like demographics, sale history, website visits, and more. Businesses can then tailor marketing strategies and product offerings for the greatest customer satisfaction.

Collecting data about your customers will give you the insights you need to craft targeted messaging. Targeted messages resonate with the appropriate audience and are more likely to drive conversions.

A huge benefit of knowing customer behavior and preferences is the ability to optimize your website for higher Google rankings with your target audience (you can use help specifically with ecommerce web development).

One of the easiest ways to understand your customers is to send them a survey. Lumoa offers a wide range of survey solutions to meet your needs. You’ll find simple email surveys to more comprehensive options.

Create a Consistent Customer Journey

Customer service meme

Creating a consistent customer journey is vital for a positive experience. This journey begins with the first contact and continues through each touchpoint. This could be communication online, sales, delivery, and after-sales service. 

Why does consistency matter? Research shows that 65% of consumers would become long-term customers of a brand if they have positive experiences throughout their journey. A lack of consistency causes frustration. And it leads to people moving to your competitor.

Using a sales funnel builder is a great way to make sure every customer is going through the buying journey properly and entering the right email sequences, or landing on the pages that best suit their needs. 

As your team gets bigger and more distributed it will also help everyone stay on the same page. The right sales funnel will give everyone in the company a bird’s eye view of the experience customers should be getting.

Consistent journeys allow retailers to ensure that customers have the same experience regardless of which touchpoint they interact with. This will increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as help build trust between your brand and your customers. Through this process, retailers can create an environment where customers feel comfortable and valued. This helps customers make purchases more often.

Increased conversion rates are another benefit of consistent customer journeys. Customers will more easily identify each step they take and are less likely to make a snap decision. This process creates new sales opportunities like up-selling, cross-selling, and impulse purchases. 

To help you with the mapping process, divide your customer journey into different segments or steps. The five stages of customer journey mapping are awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy. Targeting specific groups of customers identifies the stages where each customer is and where they need help. 

Using video editing software can also be a useful tool to enhance the customer experience. You can create videos for each stage of the customer journey, such as how-to videos for product demonstrations, product unboxing videos for the purchase stage, and troubleshooting videos for after-sales service. Video content is an effective way to deliver information and entertain your customers. It helps them to better understand your products and services, and it can also build an emotional connection with your brand. Additionally, you can use video analytics to track how customers interact with your videos, which can help you to improve your content and provide a more personalized experience.

To help you with the mapping process, divide your customer journey into different segments or steps. The five stages of customer journey mapping are awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy. Targeting specific groups of customers identifies the stages where each customer is and where they need help. 

Modernize Your Technology

The rise of modern technologies has revolutionized the retail experience. There are almost endless opportunities here. We’ll mention three. 

AI retail assistant chatbots

AI assistants help customers quickly and accurately find the products they are looking for. These chatbots integrate natural language processing and automated responses. They provide personalized, interactive shopping experiences, making the customer experience more efficient and enjoyable. Human help is always preferable for complex problems. But AI retail chatbots are preferred when customers need simple answers. 

Augmented reality shopping

Augmented reality shopping lets customers virtually try on clothes, such as custom t-shirts or hats, or check out furniture before making a purchase. The customer gets a realistic idea of how the item will look in their home or on their body. This technology gives customers more confidence in their purchases, as they can be sure that what they are buying is exactly what they want. Augmented reality shopping also brings retailers an opportunity to create a more immersive shopping experience for their customers.

Here’s a look at Nike’s AR shopping lens on Snapchat.

Nike AR

Retail personalization technology

Retailers are using personalization technology to bring tailored experiences for customers. This creates a unique shopping experience that caters to individual needs and preferences. It also helps stores increase conversion rates by generating content that is more relevant to their interests.

By leveraging these technologies, you can make the retail experience more fulfilling and enjoyable for shoppers.

Measure Customer Satisfaction

Understanding customer satisfaction is essential for any business looking to succeed. You can gain insight into how customers view your products through feedback.

This information will improve the service quality you provide. That will always lead to higher levels of customer loyalty and retention. This data can help you identify areas that need improvement so you can meet customer needs.

Every business should have a way to measure customer satisfaction. It may be best to send out customer feedback surveys on a regular basis. Consider using other methods that allow customers to leave comments about their experience.

Regardless of the route you choose, you want to focus on your NPS. The NPS measures if a customer is a promoter, passive, or detractor. The score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters, dividing that number into 100, and then multiplying it by 10. 

For instance, if 25% of customers were detractors and 75% were promoters, the company would have a Net Promoter Score of -10 which means only 10% more customers than those who are not satisfied with their experience would recommend them to others. A score higher than 20 is great and above 50 is incredible. If you hit 80 you are in the top 1% of companies.

Implement a Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are all the rage right now. It’s for good reason. Increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by between 25% and 95%

Loyalty programs, as the name implies, are specifically designed to increase customer loyalty. And it’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to do so. Loyalty programs reward customers for their frequent purchases and encourage them to come back for more.

These programs can be used to reward customers with discounts, special offers, freebies, or other incentives that will make them feel appreciated. Additionally, loyalty programs can also help businesses track customer data so they can better understand their needs and provide tailored services accordingly.

Your loyalty program can create a positive customer experience. If you haven’t caught on yet, this means increased customer satisfaction and higher profits!

The Future of Customer Experience in Retail

The retail industry is changing rapidly, and customer experience is at the forefront of this transformation. Over 45% of companies believe customer experience will be their top priority for the next 5 years. It’s not an exaggeration to say that your future depends on your customer experience strategy.

Business Priority

As customers become more informed and demanding, retailers are turning to data-driven marketing strategies to deliver personalized experiences that keep customers coming back.

Retail customer experience analytics help retailers gain insights into their customers’ behavior and preferences. This data is powerful. It allows you to create targeted campaigns that get better engagement. Your customers will take more interest in these campaigns. And that’s more likely to drive sales and increase customer loyalty.

Additionally, the AI-powered chatbots we mentioned above can provide a more engaging shopping experience for customers. Even robots can give personalized recommendations and product information on demand.

The future of retail CX lies in leveraging data to create meaningful connections with customers. With the right tools in place, you can deliver an enhanced shopping experience that will keep customers coming back for more.

Wrapping It Up

The customer experience in retail is evolving. And technology is rapidly changing. That means customers expect personalized and tailored experiences when shopping in stores. You need to keep up with these expectations. The best way to build customer loyalty is to create a positive customer experience.

You can’t create that experience off the cuff. It takes a strategic plan. We’ve covered 5 key elements to help you improve customer experience in your retail store. If you aren’t doing these things already, continue to research and educate your team so you can meet your goals.

Overseeing the customer experience for your company may feel overwhelming. Perhaps you’re wondering where to start. Here at Lumoa, we’re here to help. Check out our products and solutions and we’ll help you start managing your customer experience today.

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