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3 Ways to Create an Immersive Shopping Experience Your Customers Will Love

When I first heard about Nordstrom’s NYC flagship store opening, I was curious to see what the company would do to take its in-store retail experience to the next level. Nordstrom didn’t disappoint.

When the company opened the seven-floor store at 57th Street and Broadway in Manhattan this October, it made sure service was at the forefront of the brick-and-mortar establishment. Though I don’t have any business ties to Nordstrom, I study retail markets and am always curious about how the latest brick-and-mortar store trends impact online shopping and e-commerce growth.

Here are some interesting retail innovations inspired by Nordstrom’s flagship store–and other retailers–that you can apply to help your brand.

1.  Create opportunities to spend time in the store.

The new Nordstrom location offers in-store spa services like blowout bars, facials, massages, waxing, manicures, and more. Offering services like these–and a martini bar and sit-down eateries–keeps customers in the store longer, making them likely to spend more money, according to a Journal of Marketing study.

Look for ways your company can create more in-store experiences that align with your brand, like how Lululemon’s new Mall of America megastore features workout studios, snack bars, and a 6,000-square-foot “experiential area.” Those could involve booking appointments online to try on clothes, providing an in-store café (à la Ikea), or hosting product demonstrations and interactive experiences, like Lush.

2. Create a seamless omni-channel experience and provide multiple ways to get products.

Nordstrom says its online sales jump about 20 percent in a local market when it opens a store there. That, in my opinion, is because of the company’s buy online, pick up in-store options, as well as its offering easy curbside pickup.

Online retailers are opening brick-and-mortar stores because they recognize that customers like to have an option of returning an online purchase in-store. If you’re an e-commerce company that isn’t ready to launch a retail store, consider offering an inventory-free showroom, which could equate to customers spending 60 percent more and buying more expensive items, according to research from the Wharton School and Harvard Business School. Or launch a temporary pop-up shop, like Adore Me’s invite for VIP shoppers.

3. Build smarter, tech-driven experiences.

Customers want a full-service experience from the moment they walk in the door. If you’re a clothing retailer, one way to do that is to create smart fitting rooms. That can be as simple as creating a button customers can push that calls a sales associate, or it can be as advanced as the smart-mirror fitting rooms at Ralph Lauren’s flagship store, which show various sizes and colors available for items. Luxury beauty companies are testing out AR in airport pop-up shops around the globe, enabling customers to play with virtual makeup in trials through virtual mirrors.

By Maria HaggertyCEO, Dotcom Distribution

Source: 3 Ways to Create an Immersive Shopping Experience Your Customers Will Love | Inc.com

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Why You Should Thank Customers

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Many consumers choose small businesses over bigger names simply because they want to support their community. Others appreciate the personalized service small businesses provide.

However, if it seems as if the business is undervaluing them, these customers may not stick around. In fact, 68 percent of customers cite feeling as if the business is indifferent to them as the reason why they switch to another company.

This Thanksgiving, show your appreciation by making sure you thank all of your best customers.

Why You Should Thank Customers

Without loyal customers, it is much harder to run a successful business for a few reasons:

  • It is easier and less costly to retain customers than attract new ones.
  • Developing relationships with customers create brand advocates.
  • Thanking your customers adds a sense of personalization to the service. This puts you ahead of big corporations, which are rarely in the position to show that they care about their customers as individuals.
We know how hard it can be to stay on top of your business. We offer SEO, mobile web design, and social services just for small business owners like you! 

 

How to Thank Customers

Just saying “thank you” is insufficient. These words alone are empty — you need to show that you mean it.

Give a gift

When it comes to thanking customers, it really is the thought that counts. There is no need to offer anything lavish. Choose something your customers will benefit from and is customized in some way. Examples include a book that influenced you, homemade treats, or a gift card. Gifts should just be for your top customers — if you offer one to everyone, it loses its meaning.

Send a handwritten note

Even if you have a very limited budget, you can thank your customers. For instance, if you have just a handful of loyal customers, send out handwritten notes to everyone. The effort you put into this will mean much more than an email — and it is less likely to go unnoticed. Make each note personal, even if this means you need to send fewer.

Hold a competition

If you have enough in your budget for just one amazing gift, hold a competition with the chance for just one lucky customer to win. Give the contest a name that ensures participants are aware you are holding it thank them.

It is best if you can make the competition revolve around your brand. For example, you could ask customers to tell stories about how one of your products improved their lives. Use social media to garner more attention for your business.

Post photos

Another way to utilize social media is to post photos of your customers (with their permission) on your pages. As well as allowing you to thank customers, this will show real people interacting with your products and using your services.

Make a charitable donation

Advertise your brand’s values by making charitable donations in the names of your customers. Choose a local organization or a charity that has some link to your industry or business.

Teach them something new

Knowledge is priceless. Consider what problems your customers have and offer solutions. The opportunities for distributing your knowledge are endless. If you want to keep things in the digital sphere, you can send an ebook, webinar, or infographic or even invite customers to an online knowledge center. If you want to interact with your customers in person, hold an event that gives them the chance to learn something new and useful related to your offerings.

Throw a thank-you event

Another way to bring all your top customers together is to hold an event with the sole purpose of thanking everyone. There is no need to invest much — just a few refreshments are fine. You may well end up making a few sales in the process.

If you’re not a local company, this idea can still work for you. Invite everyone to a live webinar or Facebook video where you can thank them.

Sit down and talk

If you’d rather have more personal interactions, schedule one-on-one sessions with a few customers. This is a great opportunity to find out what people like about your company and what you could be doing better. Meet customers over coffee or invite them to lunch.

Begin a loyalty program

Add customers to a new loyalty program after they spend a certain amount or visit your business a certain number of times. Rewards can be special offers, discounts, or freebies.

Reciprocate with support for other local businesses

If some of your customers have their own companies in the area, you can show your appreciation by supporting their businesses. Go beyond simply choosing them over their competitors — you can recommend their products and services in your store, refer your customers to them, mention them on social media, or even reach out about collaborating on a future event.

Offer an upgrade

If you provide a service at different levels of quality, surprise a few of your top customers with an upgrade.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to express your gratitude, but it shouldn’t be the only time you thank customers. Incorporate customer appreciation into your strategy year-round to make sure your customers always know how much they mean to you.

About The Author

Laura Holton

Utilizing her knowledge of SEO and inbound marketing practices, Laura has gained significant attention for her articles and blog posts. Writing on a range of B2B topics, she helps entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level, provides inspiration, and solves the most pressing problems small businesses face.

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