As a sports-mad teenager in the early 90’s, my weekends were spent like most lads my age - pestering my Mum to buy me the latest trainers, football boots and sports equipment.
Normally my pleas would be met with a firm NO, but on the odd occasion that my nagging worked, we would walk to town and visit our local Sports shop, where the friendly assistant knew both of our names.
Back then, the reputation and power of shops were in the hands of the assistant and the owner. The assistant would keep the shop running, learning about all of its regulars and building the brand’s reputation, whilst the owner got on with ensuring that the shop had eye catching stock that would keep its customers coming back again and again. And it worked – business was booming for that shop in Daventry and it felt like they really knew us, as we did them.
I have countless examples of this kind of retail customer experience in the Nineties; from the Fruit & Veg van that would come round on a Sunday ahead of our family lunch, to the video store assistant who would personally recommend which films to watch based on my taste.
Terrible fashion statements and dodgy hairdos aside, the 90’s knew how to get two things right – the retail customer experience and engaging consumers on a personal level.
Fast forward 20 years and my shopping experience looks like this - I type my product in online, pick the shop that comes up first on Google and spend all of four minutes choosing what I want.
Now I’m all for the convenience of the online customer experience, but why should I give this brand my loyalty? Was the process simple? Yes. Am I satisfied with the goods received? Well of course. But was this experience memorable in any way? Do I feel like the brand knows me? Certainly not.
As it stands, I have no reason to go back to that online brand - yes they may offer me next day delivery, but we have no relationship and I know that I’m nothing more than a sales statistic to them, and even if I’m not, that’s at least how I feel.
But there is a way that they could win my loyalty; simulating bygone times and offering me a personal and engaging retail customer experience.
The answer? Using technology to compliment the speed of online shopping with Proactive Communication and Fast Feedback – keeping me informed throughout the order process and then inviting me to share my thoughts once the delivery has been made. Something as simple as letting me know when to expect my parcel, giving me the power to change the delivery to another day and then asking for my feedback shows that the brand cares about me as a person. They don’t want me to waste my day sitting around to sign for a package and they certainly don’t want me to have to chase them for information. They want to know what I think about the product and will truly listen to what I have to say.
Decades may have passed, technology may have moved on, but customers and brands still essentially want the same thing– to deliver and receive a great experience.
Find out how Fast Feedback and Proactive Communication can help you make your Customers' Experience one to remember: