Whether you own a restaurant, a retail store, or even just a gas station, your customers have certain expectations about you and what they want from you. Based on the research we have done for our retail customers, these are five common expectations that most customers share.

"Scan It" self-checkout kiosk at Gia...

  • It’s about the experience, not just the product. In this day and age, you can buy just about anything, sometimes even cheaper, on the Internet. But part of the reason people go to stores particularly local stores and specialty stores is to have the shopping experience. They want it to be clean, well-lit, and pleasant. If you can enhance the experience and give the customer a great feeling as they walk back out the door, your chances of return business grow exponentially.
  • Make it easy to buy. This isn’t limited to “we take Visa, MC, and American Express” it includes everything that touches the customer. From parking, getting in the door, shopping hours, and in-store organization, it has to be easy to fit an interaction with you into their lives. The hassle factor is a huge and it will keep customers out of your store.
  • There are many other options out there. Customers come to you for a reason. If the customer is in your door, they’ve already made at least a partial decision to shop with you. They could have gone somewhere else but chose your store instead. Welcome them and make them feel wanted. If you have a niche shop, then your expertise is valuable and will make customers want to come to you, not just because of products or price, but for the transfer of knowledge and help. But you have to make the experience enjoyable for the customer to learn. See our first point above.
  • Everything in the retail experience counts. If you own a retail store, and have the best and widest selection available. But a lot of your product are kept in the back of the store, the staff is subpar or unfriendly, customers have to navigate though messy aisles, then it will hamper customers’ motivation to come to you, no matter how good your selection is.
  • Customers are not alike. If you own a music shop you need to know that all musicians aren’t the same…a drummer is a different personality than a clarinet player, the rocker is different from the jazz musician. The customers know their own differentiating factors, and if you can learn those differences and adapt and cater to various types of customers, providing them a customized shopping based on their needs, you’ll certainly certainly be one step ahead of your competition..

Understand and follow these five basic customer expectations and you are well on the way to creating a loyal shopping experience where your customers will want to return again and again, and bring their friends.

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