Creating That All-Important Retail Experience

We have all seen how the high street has changed over the past few years. With many retail businesses struggling in the current climate – especially with the rise of online shopping, the cost of living crisis, and the general societal changes that have occurred since the lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic – traditional transactional retail has declined.

Retail units are one of our most popular commercial property types here at Boxpod, and we have noticed that some retail businesses, however, have been booming. One of the greatest reasons for this – as we have regularly discussed in these articles – is due to a change in the way that they operate their businesses and view their customers. What are we talking about? Customer experience.

One of the retail trends that we have been seeing in the past couple of years, in particular, is the need for retailers to create an engaging experience for their customers. It is what gets them out of the house, instead of buying online, engaging with your businesses, and, importantly, coming back to you as a repeat customer.

To create an excellent retail experience that attracts, engages, and retains customers, there are three main elements to look at:

  • Creating an attractive space to bring people to
  • Offering a unique experience that people are unable to get from home
  • Providing an excellent customer experience whilst in the shop (besides, of course, good products that are good value for money)

Your commercial property and its design in central to this.

Creating an Attractive Retail Space

It is important that, in order to attract people to your retail unit, you create a space that is attractive and gives the feeling of safety – both internally and externally. On a very basic level, this means keeping it clean, tidy, and fixing anything that might be broken or shabby. Make your that the space is not too cluttered and that your customers would feel comfortable in there. In this case, comfort is the key.

You could consider adding an area where your customers can rest, offer customers water, and make sure that the room temperature is ideal for your customers to stay in, for example.

By making it an attractive retail space, you can make it somewhere that people want to visit and spend time in, giving you a higher chance of making sales and engaging with them.

The outside of the shop is also important – make sure that you have good signage and remember that the shop window is your chance to show people what you are all about.

By choosing the best retail unit to rent for you, you can design your space according to your priorities in creating the most attractive environment for your customers and your business.

Offering a Unique Customer Experience

There are many reasons why people choose to shop from home, and it is the job of any retailer with a brick-and-mortar shop to come up with new ways to attract customers out of their homes and into them. This means offering something more than they can get at home – an experience.

Successful retailers are especially embracing technology to add more to the traditional ‘transactional experience’ (a customer going into a shop, buying, then going home) with a more hybrid approach. 

Some retailers, for example, are using QR codes on products to give customers more information about what they are, what they are made of, or how they can be used. Others use augmented reality to help customers to visualise their products beyond what they can see in a shop. Creating a personalised experience is becoming increasingly popular – building bespoke products, for example.

Without using additional technology, you could consider offering a personal shopper or appointment service, for example.

Other retailers are using experiential marketing to create a unique customer experience – perhaps having a live band playing, a book reading, product demonstration, or networking event. Another idea is to use social media to create a buzz – perhaps having a backdrop that is great for photos or other props that could also be used for social media marketing and brand building.

It is important that you keep the experience authentic to your business and its branding. It is also important to note that creating a customer experience should not be about creating a gimmick, you need to ensure that it is customer-centred and focused on their needs.

Customer Service and Communication

The factor with the greatest effect when it comes to retaining customers is ensuring that they are treated well in the time that they are engaging with you. This includes ensuring that you have impeccable customer service whilst they are in your shop, enabling your staff to go above and beyond, making sure that the technology that you are using actually works(!), providing an efficient service, as well as ensuring that you communicate well with them (when it comes to complaints, for example).

By giving your customers the ideal experience whilst they are with you, you are going a long way to helping to retain them, keeping your customers coming back repeatedly.

There are other things that you can also do to help retain customers, such as offering loyalty cards, discount schemes, mailing lists, etc.

Choosing Your Commercial Property

If you are at the stage in your business that you are looking for a first, or new retail unit to rent, you can make decisions on the best one to choose according to the kind of customer experience that you are hoping to create.

You might wish to have areas where a personal shopping experience can take place, a social media ‘area’, or a space where you can hold (relevant) events, for example.

Here at Boxpod, we have a range of different sized and shaped retail units to rent, so if you are looking for a new home for your shop, why not browse our website to see what we can offer you?