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RETAIL STRATEGIES: READILY
AVAILABLE WAYS TO CONNECT
WITH CUSTOMERS’ EMOTIONS.

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Have you ever taken Latin? What a strange way to start an article about retail experience, might you say. Bare with me for a second.

Have you ever taken Latin? What a strange way to start an article about retail experience, might you say. Bare with me for a second.

The word emotion harks back to the Latin word emovere. Go one step further, and you’ll discover that both the words emotion and motivation are derived from the root movere, which means movement. The takeaway for retailers? Emotional connections in retailing are intrinsically tied to customer movement and motivation.

I find this tidbit of linguistics helps me remember why emotions play such an essential part in people’s shopping decisions. Indeed, no matter how good you think you are at making rational purchase decisions, as a shopper, you’re always going to be influenced by your emotions. This means that, as a retailer, you need to trigger positive feelings for your customers. Do it right and see your in-store foot traffic conversion and retail sales go up.

Below, a list of top-of-mind checkpoints to help ensure you make the most of your retail experience. No costly undertaking. Just readily available tactics.

1. Keep your store light and airy

2. Welcome to the retail comfort zone

3. Schedule staff correctly

4. Double down on staff training

5. Create engaging retail displays

6. In-store online connections

7. Maintain a clean, lean selling machine

8. Place curated retail speed bumps

9. What’s your store’s emotional connection score?

1. Keep your store light and airy

Have you ever been to a store that just felt claustrophobic? If you have, you probably didn’t stay very long. When things don’t feel good, we naturally veer towards something that does. This design faux-pas holds online as well, whether it’s reading media content or browsing an eCommerce site.

For years, retailers were taught to put as much merchandise on the sales floor as possible, a sort of “lay-it-out-all-and-they-will-come” strategy. In today’s market, the rules have changed. Consumers expect something radically different; they seek curated retail experiences. Being a successful retailer now entails convincing customers that you’ve got something truly special to offer—not just a store overflowing with merchandise. The first step in reaching this goal starts with streamlining your retail space.

Retail Tips & Tricks:

  • Begin by rethinking the merchandising layout as if every item were exclusive or available in limited quantities only.
  • You don’t need to do your whole store at once: taking a progressive approach will ease you into the process.
  • As you go along, you’ll get a better feel for what works, hone your retail curation skills(!) and even observe customer reactions.
  • Get inspired: check out episode 6 of Netflix’s Interior Design Masters.
“It’s not how many units of stock you’ve got out. I want to feel the shop. I want to connect with it emotionally. That is what shops will be about in the future.”
— Mary Portas, retail consultant, Portas Agency

2. Welcome to the retail comfort zone

This one is very much tied to checklist item numero uno!

Unless people are dealing with a power outage and freezing temperatures, no one cares for entering a location where everyone and everything seems cramped. Having to squeeze through isles or displays because there is another customer in your way or excess merchandising protruding is a big no-no. Shoppers will either feel frustrated or feel like they’re disturbing other shoppers or both!

Retail Tips & Tricks:

  • Walk by your store, hit the reset button in your head, and consider how that space makes you feel: how badly do you want to enter that store?
  • Once inside, walk through your store carrying a couple of shopping bags.
  • Are people with young children part of your target audience? Ask friends with kids to share their thoughts.
  • Survey your actual customers about your retail space: you’ll be gathering direct feedback plus making your customers feel valued.
Even if your retail space is on the smaller side, you’ll be better off making it feel airy.

3. Schedule staff correctly

The instant gratification afforded by today’s digital world means customers have grown more impatient. When they want service, they want it now. Plus: shoppers have never had so much to choose from, whether you’re talking about products or purchase options.

As such, building a retail experience around positive emotional triggers entails having the appropriate staff-to-customer ratio; in fact, this can drastically change a store’s sales numbers.

When customers are on-site, you need to capitalize on their excitement and shopping mindset. Storetraffic’s foot traffic technologies help retailers worldwide hit the staff-to-customer- ratio bullseye. If you want to learn more about how Storetraffic’s solutions could work in your business, schedule an informative (and pressure-free!) demo with one of our experts.

4. Double down on staff training

I get very passionate about this topic—and I’ve touched on this before. People are one of the most critical assets a store has to differentiate itself from eCommerce, let alone from other brick-and-mortar locations. Working on the sales floor is challenging, yet it’s harder still to have the essential tools. And though finding staff, period, is a challenge for many retail businesses, it’s worth it to go all-in and train your associates on customer service, people skills, product knowledge, plus how to deal with difficult situations. The efforts will pay dividends: workers take the job more seriously, become better at it and enjoy it more. In the process, your potential buyers become happy customers.

Retail Tips & Tricks:

  • Industrialize your training process. Build yourself a simple training plan you can later apply to any new worker.
  • Consult your team, touch on challenges and areas for improvement regularly, providing advice along the way.
“I’d be looking at employing Happy People, people who want to be in your business. It starts with the people every single time.”
— Mary Portas, retail consultant, Portas Agency

5. Create engaging retail displays

If everything in your store is important, then nothing is. Create focal points and add some positive tension to the mix. Focusing people’s attention on specific product elements/areas will serve the rest of your offering.
It’s human nature: spot something interesting, get closer, discover something interesting along the way.

The same principle applies to your signs, whether it’s storefront windows or inside your space. Going that extra mile to make them attractive and position them for optimal visibility is worth every second. Get your staff involved creatively—you may have hidden talent among your ranks.

Also, go beyond promotions and rebates. Print or digital displays in your store can inform customers of your brand and your products, supporting your staff’s endeavours and even serving as a conversation starter between customers and staff.

Retail Tips & Tricks:

6. In-store online connections

In-store signs aren’t your sales staff’s only sidekick. Indeed, QR codes are making a comeback. Use them in your store or display links so that customers can quickly get more information about products. You’ll not only make your customers’ shopping easier; you’ll also be guiding them toward online content that YOU’VE selected—not a competitor’s site or eCommerce platform.

This extra bit of information makes shoppers feel better about making a purchase right there and then. It’s also a great workaround when faced with ongoing physical distancing measures that limit human interactions.

With retailers looking ahead, beyond post-pandemic recovery, and with so many customers craving positive experiences, there’s no better time to raise the bar on your store’s emotional score.

7. Maintain a clean, lean selling machine

I’m not talking about your basic, regular vacuuming and dusting here. In this day and age, your entire store is a window display.

Today’s customers are aesthetically savvy. Use this as an opportunity and make it part of everyone’s responsibility on your team to keeps things tidy and appealing, all day through. Carry out this mindset from the decompression entry zone to changing rooms and checkout space.

8. Place curated retail speed bumps

Dwell time is an essential metric in retail and for a good reason. The more time customers are willing to spend in your store, the more they are eager to, well, actually spend. To avoid having customers charge through your store, enhance their shopping experience by adding a few speed bumps.

They may be jarring when riding in a vehicle, but speed bumps are an entirely different beast in retail. People often enter a store with tunnel vision. They came in looking for something specific. You need to nudge them into discovery mode. Your speed bumps can take the shape of signage, table displays, seating areas, artwork and more. The idea is to provide customers with compelling reasons to slow down the pace, stop for a moment and take in what other gems your store has to offer.

What's your store’s emotional connection score?

OK. So creating emotion-driven shopping experiences is critical. But how would you know how well you’re delivering? You can’t measure your store’s emotional score directly, yet you can measure related components, top of which is your store’s conversion rate.

Monitoring your conversion rates requires two key metrics: your transaction numbers and your foot traffic data. Storetraffic’s people counting technology and software capture accurate foot traffic numbers and connects with your POS system, handling the entire number-crunching process for you. As a retailer, you’re systematically getting an accurate reading of your conversion rate, allowing you to observe the compound effect of your staff and retail experience tactics—which includes your store’s ability to resonate emotionally with customers.

If you’d like to learn more about the insights provided by foot traffic numbers and the benefits of Storetraffic’s people counting technology, hit the button below to schedule a conversation with a Storetraffic expert!

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