Retailers are investing fortunes in their supply chain, inventory management, allocation and replenishment, all to have the right stock, in the right shop, on the right day. But are they overlooking something obvious when it comes to the final steps? Mercaux’s Domenico Antonucci investigates in the first chapter of a new series all about CX solutions to maximise in-store sales that you'll be able to experience at NRF 2024 at booth #6444, alongside a plethora of cutting-edge composable store experiences with our partners.
What’s wrong with the current model?
Let’s begin by setting the scene. It’s a great day – a customer enters your store with the intention to buy, but is just a few steps away from finding the right item for them. After picking something out, they ask your sales associate whether they have it in a different size, colour, etc. Your sales associate agrees to take a look. This is the crucial point where things go wrong for many retailers.
All too often, your sales associate leaves your most valuable customer ALONE on the shop floor while they try to find the answer to their question! This might involve going to a till terminal (assuming it’s free), a back office PC, or simply going to the stockroom to find the item. This leaves your customer ”hanging around” for who knows how long? This has to be the worst thing you could do to a customer that is ready to buy – they’re left wondering how long they should wait, or if your sales associate will ever return. Meanwhile, your sales associate wonders where they are going to get the information from, and whether the customer will still be waiting for them when they return.
An unhappy situation for both staff and shoppers
We’ve all seen disappointed customers who have seen the sales associate they just asked a question to, talking to another client or colleague, and simply assume they were forgotten about. Result: Any chance of a happy customer is lost and your “definite sale” is now a walk out!
Left unchecked, this problem gets worse – knowing that this will happen if they ask for help finding a product puts your customer off approaching associates in the first place, while staff dread customer contact when they know that getting the information they want is a thankless task that often leaves them dealing with an unhappy customer.
So, having spent millions on your stock, merchandising, and logistics, you tell the customer that you want to leave them alone at the last hurdle. This is worth repeating, you leave them alone at the time when they need you most! Surely, there has got to be a better way to help your customer get what they want?
The answer? Giving your customers access to alternatives easily
You could be providing a better experience for both customers and staff every time with Assisted Selling and Floor Runner, allowing associates to check stock and send requests for items directly to staff in the stock room. If you aren’t able to get the item the customer wants, you have to stop putting the pressure on them to find an alternative. This becomes yet another point of friction, placing responsibility on your customer. Instead, equip your sales associates with Assisted Selling to take this burden off the shopper, or let them browse the Endless Aisle themselves at an in-store touchscreen kiosk, saving the sale before the customer leaves the store empty-handed. This can be done by sending digital baskets to customers via Whatsapp or Email, which is a fantastic way to record what happened in-store.
There’s a similar story at play when it comes to fitting rooms. It’s a common occurrence – the customer tries on an item, and it doesn’t fit. To get another size or find an alternative item, they need to get dressed, leave the fitting room, and do it all over again. How many times do you think your customer is prepared to go through this arduous process before they just decide to abandon the purchase? Currently, the fitting room is dead space in a store, because it serves the sole purpose of letting the customer try on clothes without being inspired further.
Digital Fitting Rooms by Mercaux allow customers to browse the store’s collection and request items to be brought to them all without having to go back to the shop floor. They can scan barcodes of products they brought to the fitting room to get more information, after which the screen displays additional recommendations or even complete looks put together by the store’s HQ to inspire them further. All of this adds that surprise and delight effect that will set your in-store experience apart from competitors, and increases basket sizes.
What can you do right now?
If you’re not supporting your store staff with the right information at their fingertips every time they’re at a customer’s side, or letting your customer discover products in every part of the store, you’re slamming the brakes on your sales machine at the most crucial moment of the sales cycle – the customer is in front of you wanting to buy, and you choose to walk away.
Here’s the exciting bit you need to pay attention to. Retailers who use the Mercaux Assisted Selling app have increased conversions in store by over 15%. This translates to a 7-10% uplift in store revenue from your current footfall!
If you’re ready to leverage all that fantastic supply chain effort and maximise your store performance, I’d love to be able to show you the power of these solutions in person at NRF 2024 this coming January. I’ll see you at the next parts of my series, which will demystify Clienteling, Remote Selling, and the Endless Aisle.