In survey after survey, customers are expressing a strong preference for bricks and mortar shopping. Over 70% of customers are visiting stores as often as they did before the pandemic, but not everything is back to normal.
Shoppers may have settled back into old habits, but their standards have become noticeably higher. After getting used to the speed and convenience of online retail, they now expect a flawless customer experience every time.
In order to provide this, colleagues need the people skills to make customers feel special, and the knowledge to back it up. Becoming an expert on a store’s products and policies can take years, but there’s no need to learn everything at once.
Our headsets put your store’s cumulative knowledge at the fingertips of every colleague. With assistance never more than a button-press away, even brand new colleagues can answer customer queries with confidence. Here’s how it works.
Let’s get physical
The pandemic drove millions of customers online, leading to a raft of gloomy predictions about the end of physical retail. Three years later, it seems that these concerns were unfounded. Bricks and mortar has come roaring back, with customers more eager than ever to shop in stores:
- 38% are visiting physical stores more than they did before the pandemic
- Among US shoppers, the top three reasons for returning to stores were being able to get products immediately (50%), being able to see and touch products before purchase (41%) and enjoying shopping as a social experience (38%)
This is encouraging news for stores. Rather than converting shoppers to ecommerce, it seems that the pandemic created a greater demand for physical shopping experiences. This is especially true in North America, where customers are craving the kind of human interaction that only bricks and mortar can provide:
- 82% of US customers want more human interaction in stores, compared to 74% globally
- 84% will return to stores that have a pleasant atmosphere
- 42% will pay more for a friendly and welcoming experience
This eagerness for positive experiences creates both opportunities and risks. Stores that meet these expectations will have the chance to win back their old customers and convert new ones. But shoppers have also become more fickle. They know what a good customer experience looks like, and they won’t hesitate to abandon stores that fail to provide it:
- 59% of US shoppers will give up on a brand after a few bad experiences
- A third of shoppers will walk away after just one bad experience
Customers expect expertise
From slow service to stock shortages, a poor customer experience can take many forms. But there is one inconvenience that trumps all others. When customers are asked to name their top frustrations, a lack of product knowledge is mentioned time and again:
- In a 2021 survey, 64% of customers said that a lack of knowledge and expertise was one of their top five frustrations
- In a more recent survey, 35% of shoppers complained about a lack of product knowledge
- The same survey found that half of all respondents had stopped shopping at a particular store because colleagues lacked the knowledge to help them
Knowledge is power
Customers have little patience for patchy product knowledge. Regular training sessions are the best way to fill in the gaps, but this means taking experienced colleagues off the floor to lead them. With retailers experiencing a shortfall of 5.5 million workers, this is a resource that many can’t spare.
At the same time, a quit rate of over 3% means that North American retailers are constantly onboarding new colleagues. Training every new colleague to full capacity before they start would be impossible, but putting them straight to work means you run the risk of disappointing your customers. This is where we can help:
- Headsets keep colleagues connected at all times. Less experienced colleagues can ask for help at the push of a button without ever having to leave the customer’s side.
- Our conference feature lets you create bespoke conversations for specific areas of knowledge. Newer colleagues can tune into the relevant conference and get expert advice in seconds.
- Headsets can be used to provide effective on the job training. New colleagues can shadow experienced team members while they explain tasks and products.
- Our new Series 5 Pro headset provides up to twelve hours talk time, and can be fully charged in just two hours. This means that colleagues never have to worry about being cut off from their store’s collective knowledge in the middle of a shift.
By creating a shared pool of knowledge that is accessible to everyone, you can turn every colleague into a walking expert. If you’d like to find out more, talk to our team to arrange a demonstration.