Let’s wrap up the week with the final posting from the 2009 Retail Industry Outlook from Deloitte LLP. Among retail trends noted in the report is the following:
The customer experience. This one is always my favorite and the one where I think retailers can gain the most ground. Deloitte says that a “thorny” issue faced by many retailers is the lack of differentiation among competitors. One way to attack this problem, the Deloitte experts say, is to (a) provide exceptional customer service; and (b) make sure desired items are in stock. Also pay close attention to the layout of your store, the design of your Web site, your pricing, your inventory management and the ease and speed of your checkout process across all of your shopping channels.
“In 2009 and subsequent years,” Deloitte writes, “the world’s retailers best positioned for success will likely increasingly focus on offering consumers an experience that is enjoyable, informative, entertaining and easy. Certain supermarket chains, for example, have focused on creating a festive, street market environment that makes food shopping an entertaining event. Some book and music retailers have focused on the ability [for shoppers] to spend time perusing books or listening to music in a comfortable setting.”
What can you do in your store to improve your customer’s experience? I’ll bet there are several things.