As the high street, bricks and mortar retailer tries to combat the increasing threat of ecommerce, we take a look at how you can make use of appointment software to provide retail staff with the tools and knowledge to deliver quality customer experience and drive meaningful footfall back to the store.
It’s no secret that the burgeoning convenience of ecommerce platforms is putting the strain on traditional bricks and mortar stores. Poor footfall on the high street over Christmas, in comparison to strong online sales, was deemed as another marker of doom for physical retail.
But should this meteoric rise in new online technology really be such a signal of High St apocalypse? Ecommerce is another strand of retail, but it needn’t always be seen as a direct replacement of the physical shopping experience. The world is not easily divided into people who shop online and people who shop in store.
We all do a bit of both, don’t we?
Retail Personalisation: Online Vs In-Store Insight
Think about the way we interact with online retail giant, Amazon
Amazon knows who we are.
From the moment we log in, the site recognises us, it even says ‘hello’ to us at the top of the page. More than that however, it knows what we’ve bought and what we’ve previously been searching for. It reminds us of our purchases, then recommends and steers us towards products we may like, based on this information.
How does that compare to the trip into the department store?
Does the shop floor sales advisor recognise you as a returning customer, reminding you of the jeans that you bought the last time you were there; suggesting a nice pair of shoes in keeping with that previous style choice?
Appointment Software Can Improve the In-Store Experience
Let’s take another example.
You have recently seen a sofa that looks great on a furniture website. However, you feel you need to visit the store in person, in order to understand if:
- It’s as nice as its photo
- It’s comfortable.
You visit the store on a busy Saturday afternoon and on arrival, note that all advisors are occupied with customers. So, you stroll to the sofa, discover that actually, it’s not quite what you were looking for, spend a few more minutes wandering the store, happily checking out comfort levels of various sofas.
And then you leave.
No engagement. No sale.
Now, what if, at the point that you had seen the sofa on the website, there was an option for you to book an appointment in-store?
You schedule a suitable time and day, provide some details about the sofa or style that you have in mind, the budget you’re working to, maybe even upload an image of your current living space. Perhaps an indication of whether you’d prefer a tea or a coffee on arrival.
When you arrive at the store, your sales consultant is ready for you, armed with your beverage and a raft of suggestions that fit the profile you have provided.
Your appointment software is providing you with the tools to deliver the Amazon-style personalisation approach in-store, with the added bonus of a friendly face and a warm drink.
It’s a powerful tool that can provide empowerment for your sales advisors and your business; and offer a range of value-adding benefits that positively impact on the bottom line.
- Advisor expertise – it allows the sales consultant to not only deliver a personal recommendation based on pre-loaded information, but helps elevate the perception that they are experts in their field.
- Cross-channel engagement – Visitors to your site are instantly engaged and taken along the sales journey by a simple appointment scheduling process. This engagement is continued seamlessly in-store when greeted by an informed sales person.
- Customer experience – Such an important aspect of modern day sales is the need to deliver a positive customer experience across all channels. An easy appointment scheduling process that leads to a friendly in-store consultation can deliver a positive message that you are putting your customers first, putting them at ease and trying to make the whole process as stress-free as possible.
- Brand loyalty and advocacy – A customer that feels valued and listened to, and who has had a positive experience on your site, and in your store, is a customer much more likely to buy from you, now and in the future. And if they really liked the cross-channel service, then they are certainly more likely to tell their friends, family, and maybe anyone who cares to listen on social media. And there’s really no better sales and marketing tool anywhere, than good old-fashioned word of mouth.
At thinkBooker, we specialise in online booking systems for training courses, classes, activities and events – optimised for efficiency, growth and ongoing client satisfaction.