As consumers, it’s hard to discount the convenience of Amazon. Without leaving the comfort of your home, you can have almost any product delivered to your doorstep in just a couple of days. But, when you think about the best retail experiences that you have had, chances are good that Amazon doesn’t hold a candle to what brick and mortar stores offer.
As retailers, you have the power to drive tremendous loyalty through store visits. When stores run smoothly and consumers have top notch experiences, online alternatives can’t compete. Here are three reasons why the best retail experiences occur in stores and not online:
Matt Farah, host of The Smoking Tire, recently shared an experience he had at O’Reilly Auto Parts store that highlights the role of retail stores when you need something right away. He says, “I was filming All Cars Go to Heaven 2, a movie about purchasing an old car on Craigslist and driving it 800 miles, offroad, in Utah. While filming, I needed something “right now,” in the way that you do when you’re stuck on the side of the road, with no cell service, in the middle of nowhere with a Toyota Previa that just released all its oil onto the pavement below.”
Matt hitched a ride into a small town and found the local O’Reilly Auto Parts store. He says, “The part I needed, a drain plug, was in-stock, along with the oil for the car I was driving. I was in and out of there in minutes. I felt pure joy. With that part in hand, I was saved right then, not in two or three days. Filming could begin again.”
Consumers love visiting retail businesses that hire associates who are passionate about the products they sell. Stores like Home Depot and Sephora are famous for their associates’ product knowledge and ability to help you kick off a home project or find that perfect lipstick. YouTube videos are great, but there’s nothing like holding a product in your hands while an experienced and passionate associate shares advice and tips and tricks. It’s why many customers choose to shop in-store and seek out passionate associates and why there will always be a place for brick and mortar stores.
Have you ever walked into a store to pick up one thing but walked out with three? That’s the power of retail merchandising and great store execution. When HQ is able to effectively communicate promotions and campaigns with store teams, stores run better. Why? Store leaders are able to spend more time with their associates, who can engage more effectively with customers to share new products.
Zipline customer, BevMo! found that when they solved their communications problems between HQ and stores, customers bought more. Jessica Siwy, Sr. Manager of Store Operations & Customer Service explains, “The efficiencies we have achieved in our communications program mean that our promotions are more successful. Our store teams, our heroes, are spending more time with customers and they’re buying more.”
As Jessica from BevMo! describes, a lot rides on how HQ empowers its associates to be well-trained, responsive to customer needs and happy to represent the brand. Retailers that do this well will drive loyalty and build customers for life.
If you are looking for ways to drive customer loyalty, start by looking at how comms flow from HQ to your store leaders and associates. Want to learn more? Check out our Introduction to Store Communications for retailers, then reach out. We would love to chat.