Good customer experiences come in all shapes and sizes: Make sure they’re always in-stock!

Ask the customer, ask your colleagues, and ask yourself what is a ‘good customer experience?’ and you will automatically receive a myriad of answers…even from yourself.

One of the popular answers will be a physical shop which has atmosphere, beautiful displays, and attentive customer service with personality. Of course, this is one type of customer ‘experience’, but it is again only one of many.

And it won’t always be a ‘good’ customer experience, no matter how well executed.

The best definition came to me from a customer, unsurprisingly. They said that a good customer experience is one that allows them to succeed in their shopping mission.

It is our role as retailers not to let the customer fail. And to do that we must understand what constitutes success for our customers. I warn you there will be as many reasons for success, and the ways to achieve it, as there are customers. There will be more, because success for any individual customer, may vary for different visits.

On one occasion the customer may require inspiration, seeking out extraordinary products and displays that attract their eye, and unveil the beauty and the attributes of what they discover.

On another occasion the customer may want to make a quick and decisive purchase that satisfies an immediate need. Authority of display and ease of shop.

Another time, they may simply want to talk. They may want to discuss their possible needs, or they may simply want to have a conversation. Community retailers must ‘sell’ this intimacy as well as their stock.

And for many, to buy a bargain, a buy a reduction, to be the luckiest person in the world to be in the right place at the right time to get the deal. Never under-estimate the importance of price in the process of delivering a good customer experience.

The message from this to all retailers is that we must be flexible. We must be attentive, empathetic and we must always be completely customer facing. We should put in place those amazing displays if that is what is required some of the time, but we must also be prepared to cut across such distractions and go direct to the sale.

Of course, we must also be clear about who we are as a brand and what we represent to the customer. It is impossible and inadvisable to be all things to all people. It is commercial suicide.

So do glorify in your extravagance and your individuality if that is what your customer enjoys, if that is your mission, at the heart of your proposition. And do revel in your efficiency and convenience if  spreadsheet shopping is what brings customers to your door.

But be prepared to listen and adapt.

Don’t make fatal mistakes that always lead to failure.

Be stocked with essential and best seller products for all customer journey eventualities.

And be fully stocked with the widest variety of customer journey eventualities.

Always make sure give the customer the experience they want, not the one that you want them to have. Even if that sometimes feels like failure.

In the meantime…

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