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HomemibusinessIs Your Customer Turned On?

Is Your Customer Turned On?

“Create an experience” – we’ve all heard it said, but are we really doing it? Customers are curious and retailers need to display their stores in an experimental and interactive manner. Not only will this provide an unforgettable experience for the customer, it will mould their opinion of your retail brand.

Your phone battery is drained – it’s on 2 per cent. What do you do? You re-charge it – obviously.

Your customers are just the same. They can only hold knowledge and maintain their enthusiasm in your store’s offering for so long. Sooner or later, their power of concentration will fade and they’ll forget all about you – unless you’re there to re-charge their flagging interest.

Today, consumers are actively interacting with online retailers as they look for the latest products and best offers. Retailers have up-skilled their presence in the digital space to match speed. Now it’s time to modernise your approach to in-store retailing as well by developing an interactive strategy that will engage the customer with you, your product and your retail brand. Using technology to make strategic use of your store’s layout can help you achieve this.

Retail stores need to engage and create unique experiences to give consumers a reason to return

Melbourne optical retailer eyeclarity has done exactly this. Innovative ‘myeyes’ selection assistant kiosks have been strategically placed in each store allowing customers to engage with the product and to personalise their own eyewear. Eyeclarity also has an interactive Lenslab where customers can experience various new lens technologies developed to improve their vision.

Owner of eyeclarity, Jim Papas said the kiosks have been designed to educate and connect with customers at a more personal level. “Eyewear is a very difficult product to sell, which is why the idea of interacting heavily with our customers is working. As customers enter eyeclarity, they already know the brand is more than selling eyewear. It’s an experience.”

Jim believes interactive store layouts speak louder than words to customers, and engaged customers are constantly recharged through loyalty.

“Many of the skills in the industry have been lost, commoditised into a one-size-fits-all approach. The level of engagement and interaction we maintain in our stores is the cornerstone of what sets eyeclarity apart from our competitors. We connect to our customers. We do not sell products.

“Our staff educate our consumers in the latest technologies by challenging them to experiment and interact within our store (customers are challenged to dip their lenses in a bowl of sand for instance, and dared to bend eyeclarity’s eyewear in half). This has allowed us to achieve a high level of brand loyalty and growth which cannot be replicated online or by our competition,” said Jim.

In essence, Jim’s advice is simple. “Retail stores need to engage and create unique experiences to give consumers a reason to return.”

He said adding value is key. “Retailers need to think long and hard about their business and how they can add more value beyond showcasing and selling products. Today’s retailer must present a reason for consumers to walk into the store which cannot be replicated online or by competitors. That is the challenge and this is why retail is exciting in its ongoing innovation.”

Think of yourself as the phone, the phone charger as the connecting experience and the battery as your customer. When you connect your store to your customer, your customer remains charged and connected to your retail brand. It’s an ongoing circuit through customer interaction and engagement. Turn your customer on, keep them charged and don’t let their battery die.

Reprinted with kind permission from the Australian Retailers Association. Originally published in The Retailer Issue 49 Jun 2015.

Shivana Shankar is sub-editor for The Retailer.