Revealed: Retail Consumers’ 7 Biggest Customer Experience Pain Points in 2021

Article by Olivia Robinson | 8th February 2021

How well do you really know your customers and their experiences in your retail store?

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Customer pain points come in all shapes and sizes. They also change all the time, driven by advances in technology, shopping experiences online, and growing expectations around speed, convenience, and delivery. Even the circumstances of their purchase will affect what frustrates them. For example, your customers’ race to the drinks aisle for their first coffee of the day is going to require a much more immediate experience than their weekly food shop.

To help, we’ve compiled seven of the biggest retail customer experience pain points followed by our recommendations for addressing these in your service to deliver customer experience magic.


7 retail pain points your customers will recognise

1. Uninformed staff colleagues

According to a survey by consultancy and outsourced services provider Capgemini, 64% of brick-and-mortar retail customers recorded a lack of guidance and knowledge offered by staff colleagues as one of their top five customer experience pain points.

Employees who aren’t confident in their products or with little product knowledge will not only diminish customer experience but also sales and retention. This is especially important for staff colleagues placed in specialised departments of stores, for example, mobile phone sales, travel agencies, or technology areas.

With soaring customer demands, shoppers expect nothing less than a quick and informative response to their queries without having to go from employee to employee in order to find an answer.

How to bring the customer experience magic: Wireless headsets enable staff colleagues to talk with other users in any location, meaning they can draw from the combined expertise of the whole team to talk confidently about the products they’re selling and quickly answer or reassure the customer in question.

2. Locating a staff colleague on the store floor

Having spent ten minutes trying to locate a t-shirt in their size, your customers finally admit to themselves that they need help and proceed to hunt down the nearest employee. Only there isn’t anyone within sight. As a customer yourself, you know how that feels, and it isn’t good.

Customer service is made up of two words. As a management team in 2021, you’ve worked hard to attract customers to your store. Key to making sure they don’t leave empty handed is having staff colleagues available and accessible to serve them.

Whether it’s closed checkouts, unmanned changing rooms, or a failure to locate staff colleagues on the shop floor, this pain point is certainly one that needs to be addressed if you’re to improve your customer experience and deliver the service your customers expect.

How to bring the customer experience magic: CallPoints located around the store allows customers to have a one-to-one conversation with employees through a speaker, satisfying their need to locate employees or a product and reducing the chance they will walk out empty handed having not found what they are looking for.

3. Locating the product

This brings us on nicely to another irritation around location: products. In brick-and-mortar stores, this is a particular gripe. In fact, as many as 65% of customers find locating the product they’re looking for a key frustration when shopping in physical stores.

Increasingly used to the search convenience of eCommerce, today’s consumers expect to be able to pinpoint the product they’re looking for as quickly as possible. Even customers content to browse the shelves want to know they’re in the right department or product area. Unsurprisingly, under-delivering in this area can have a significant impact on your store sales.

67.3% of customers tend to walk out empty handed because they couldn’t find the product they wanted

When your staff colleagues find themselves on the receiving end of a stock or pricing query, they need to be able to find the right answer — and, if necessary, locate the product — as quickly as possible.

How to bring the customer experience magic: The same headset technology that empowers your staff colleagues to talk confidently and with knowledge on your products also gives them access to your whole team when it comes to locating a product or checking availability in the warehouse. Imagine how much time you’d save across the team if your staff colleagues didn’t have to make that journey to the warehouse every time? Imagine how much better your service would be if you didn’t have to leave the customer unattended?

4. Lengthy checkout queues

The sight of a long checkout queue causes your customers as much dread as it does you. In Britain, it takes only six minutes for customers to leave a store empty-handed because of lengthy queues, whilst 66% reported the pain point as a key retail irritation.

The most common reasons for checkout queues forming are price checking queries, slow replenishment of coins or till receipt, and the lack of staff colleagues available to open new tills or follow government policies like ID checks.

How to bring the customer experience magic: The implementation of KeyPad technology is aiding staff colleagues to quickly open tills to prevent or lessen queues, reducing the need for customers to wait and even take their business elsewhere.

5. Untidy stores and shelves

Put it this way: if you were at a restaurant and your table was untidy, would you want to eat there? Your store’s appearance can be a make or break for sales.

Despite this being a relatively basic standard of service that should always be managed, customers are commonly faced with opened products sprawled over shelves and floors, or piles of unfolded clothes discarded on the wrong promotional table.

Unorganised products on the wrong shelf or hanging rail could mean customers end up with a product they thought was a different price, causing frustration, price checks, and avoidable delays at the checkouts.

How to bring the customer experience magic: Offering efficient, up-to-date training on everything from stock replenishment to expected service standards can increase staff colleague productivity and help them to maintain the tidiness of the shop floor. Everyone has a different style of learning, so utilising two or more learning methods like verbal teaching followed by handouts and videos means all staff colleagues can engage and have documentation to fall back on if they need a refresh.

6. Product prices: unlabelled or wrong

In the same vein, unlabelled products or those with the wrong pricing tag are another big irritation for customers.

There’s nothing worse than comparing products, eventually deciding which one to choose, going to the checkout and the price ringing up as being more than its competitor, despite it being marked for less.

Again, this leads to unnecessary price-checking queries, which eat away at your efficiency, your productivity, and your service.

How to bring the customer experience magic: Offering a retail app makes it possible for customers to price check their own products using technology they are comfortable with and can operate quickly — their own phones or devices. Such apps can be offered to improve customer service at scale, integrate your store with digital technology, and delight your customers outside of the retail store environment through timely updates.

7. No recollection for their loyalty

One frustration that may not have been obvious is the chance for customers to earn loyalty points or be on a rewards scheme programme for consistent purchases at your store. In fact, 66% of customers want some sort of recollection for their custom, whilst 68% want brick-and-mortar stores to offer lower prices with a store membership — similar to what Amazon Prime offers online.

With many retailers now offering loyalty discounts or rewards schemes per visit, not implementing this in your store could make you lose out on vital custom to your competitors.

How to bring the customer experience magic: Everybody loves a freebie or discount, so why not introduce your customers to a loyalty programme or rewards scheme. Similar to the popular Tesco Clubcard or Sainsbury’s Nectar Points, customers can earn as they spend, and once they’ve reached a certain number of points, can redeem for money-off coupons or freebies. This method can work to your advantage, persuading the customer to spend in store so they can boost their points tally whilst at the same time promoting their retention. As 58% of customers want stores to offer something different to just shopping coupons, it may be beneficial to form a bond with businesses that specialise in other sectors, like hospitality, activities, or holidays. By linking your rewards scheme with them, you are enticing customers to shop with both parties.

Are you confident you know your customers’ biggest pain points?

And more importantly, what steps are you taking to address them?

While we’ve covered seven of the most reported complaints and frustrations here, it could well be that the nature of your business presents its own unique challenges to the customer experience. What’s important is that you identify what is frustrating your customers and take steps to address them.

The good news is, most, if not all, of these frustrations can be addressed quickly and efficiently in the short term. Whether you integrate your operations with innovative retail technology solutions or resort to traditional staff employee training programmes, the time is now for you to numb these pain points, turning them into a phenomenal opportunity to transform your service and bring the customer experience magic.

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