improve retail customer experience

Easy Steps for Good Retail Experience

We can’t help but take the retail experience for granted. We walk in, shop, and check out. The journey through the store — what makes up the retail store experience — isn’t thought about at all as we go through it.

And that’s the point.

A good retail experience is something we don’t typically pay attention to. (Unless it’s an amazing retail experience.)

But developing an impressionable retail experience isn’t easy. Which is why we’ve compiled a few steps below to keep in mind as businesses strive to create the best retail store experience possible.

Store Design

store design principles

The retail store experience is largely dependent on a store’s design. There has to be logic to the layout. Meaning, customers who have never stepped inside the store before being able to intuitively guide themselves along their journey.

The best retail store experience includes aspects, such as:

  • Wide enough hallways for customers at busy times of the day.
  • Clear labels that direct the customer’s journey.
  • Bright lighting to illuminate the store.

Sounds obvious, right? Sure. But retail designs can be improved in not so obvious ways as well.

For instance, there is a tendency to believe that the more merchandise, the better — that stores should surround customers with items to buy. But that doesn’t mean you should be putting items near the entrance!

Those first steps a customer takes into a store are called the decompression zone. It’s exactly what it sounds like: the place where customers adjust to the store.

In Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping, Paco Underhill writes, “By the time the person is starting to engage with the physical environment, some of the stuff you’ve put by the door is blown past.”

To summarize, don’t put items in the decompression zone.

Companies have to think about the customer’s immediate journey and design a layout which will enable them to have an amazing retail experience.

An Eco-Friendly Experience

Recent years have hailed the positive effect of nature for people’s mental health and overall well-being. Did you know that the color green emanates a calming effect for people?

How can retail stores use this knowledge to their advantage?

Making use of greenery and natural lighting creates a congenial environment. The kind of retail experience customers are more likely to visit when they’re in need of a particular item.

The point is that an amazing retail experience is created through seemingly tiny improvements. Things that we don’t always think about or recognize.

The Single Line

improve waiting line experience

What customers want when they line up at the checkout queue is first come, first serve. Afterall, the saying is both one of the definitions of justice and the best retail store experience.

The best way to ensure “first come, first serve,” is to direct customers into a single queue, what’s called a serpentine queue.

It’s not necessarily faster than the standard practice of multiple lanes and multiple registers. But the slithering line does ensure that customers never have to feel ill-served because someone else has checked out before them.

Add Merchandise

A serpentine line makes it a simple matter to add eye-catching merchandise to the queue. Which, if the item is right, may result in an impulse purchase — while also providing a distraction for customers.

Specialty computer stores may opt to feature USBs, canned air, or energy drinks near their checkout. This particular store knows that these items routinely end up in their customer’s shopping carts.

Of course, it’s not always obvious what customers may find enticing.

Which is why improving the retail store experience has to rely on an analytical approach: the collection of customer data to improve their journey throughout the store.

Enter the Queue Management System

queue management system for retail

Here’s a shocking fact that can’t be ignored: 86% of surveyed customers will walk out a store if the line is too long. And of the ones that wait, about 45% report feeling very irritated.

With such high numbers, there’s an obvious recognition of the importance of in-store experiences and the need to have a queue system that prevents lines from becoming chaotic.

Is there a solution?

Of course! It’s called a queue management system, or QMS for short.

QMS, like Qminder, improves retail customer experience by removing the hassle of traditional lines by utilizing the latest and greatest technologies.

How a Queue Management System Works

Instead of standing in line, customers sign in to a digital queue. They walk up to a tablet, tap in their name, and are automatically placed in the queue.

At the same time, service representatives are alerted that a customer has joined the queue and can decide who can best meet her needs.

And customers don’t feel anxious about how long they’ll be waiting. Thanks to digital signs throughout the store the customer knows who waits before them, so they can listen for their name.

No need for an inefficient take-a-number system!

Or, the store may opt to send customers an SMS text message, letting them know that it’s their turn to be served. Queue management systems remove all the hassle of waiting by freeing customer’s time.

Customer Service to the Rescue

how to improve customer service

Did you know that between 65% and 75% of businesses overwhelm their employees?

And when employees are overwhelmed, they’re not happy. And when they’re not happy, they can’t deliver amazing retail experiences.

Plus, reports of bad customer service is twice as likely to travel by word of mouth than a positive experience. That obviously hurts business.

The easy way to fix this problem? Give employees the information and autonomy that shows you store cares about the importance of in-store experience.

It’s no surprise that happy employees show up to 12% greater productivity than their less happy coworkers.

And customers notice. A report by American Express found that:

“Nine in ten Americans (91%) consider the level of customer service important when deciding to do business with a company. But only one-quarter (24%) believe companies value their business and will go the extra mile to keep it.”

Go the extra mile, place customers first. Do so by treating your employees well, and they’ll automatically treat customers well, improving the retail customer experience.

The first steps towards creating an amazing retail store experience is the recognition that the experience can always be improved.

Discover how you can enhance your business’ retail experience by using Qminder. You can try it for free for two weeks, right now.

With Qminder at your fingertips, you’ll discover new ways to create an amazing retail store experience.


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