Products Aren't Enough: Customers Want "Shoppertainment"
Patricia Norins, Spokesperson for American Express’s Small Business Saturday, shares a tip on improving in-store customer experience:
Shoppers are hungry for an in-store experience that provides them with the not only products they are searching for, but also an environment that is visually stimulating with a top-notch customer service experience. Sarah McNally, owner of New York City–based McNally Jackson Books, hosts book clubs, readings, and discussions in her store. She believes the key ingredient to creating a successful event experience is focusing on the details. "Running a great community is the accumulation of thousands of little details," says McNally. "I think that's what chain stores are missing."
Such events have been a major initiative of Abby Fazio's independent pharmacy, New London Pharmacy. After seeing success during the holiday season, Fazio designated Fridays as "Fancy Friday," during which time her staff dresses up and customers are treated to a glass of wine and product demonstrations. "People are so appreciative and customers have been spreading the word, which is very powerful," Fazio says. "I'm seeing a lot of new people that I never did before."
Action: Specialty retailers should consider offering classes, workshops and in-store events to engage their customers. You could also team up with other local small businesses. For example, if you sell kitchen equipment, invite a local coffee shop owner to teach the secrets of a great espresso.
Technology is having a serious impact on the buying experience, but by consistently providing a reason for customers to visit your business and purchase products from you, your business can continue to grow in 2013.
Patricia Norins is the Publisher of GIFT Shop Magazine and Specialty Retail Report. She speaks at conferences around the world educating retailers about innovative marketing and visual merchandising strategies to profitably grow their business. She is spokesperson for American Express’s Small Business Saturday initiative and is regularly quoted in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times as the authority in specialty retail. She shares business tips via her blog at specialtyretailexpert.com.