A great shopper experience makes a real impact.
As a kid, I remember how jaw-droppingly amazing it was to wander around the toy store Hamleys in London for the first time. The sights, the sounds, the pure theatre of it all was spectacular.
As an adult, it was equally a delight to visit stores such as Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Harrods and Liberty in London; Galerie Lafayette in Paris and Macy’s, Tiffany’s and FAO Schwarz in New York. They were all masters of retail theatre in their own way, backed up by exceptional service and quality products.
But it’s not just the big department stores that provided me with an amazing shopper experience. I’ve also loved visits to smaller stores in markets such as the Mutrah Souq in Muscat, Oman; the Grand Bazar in Istanbul, Turkey; Deria Souq in Dubai. Other stores stand out such as Allsaints Spitalfields in London; Magasin du Nord in Copenhagen, Denmark. These stores, large and small, all focused on providing a great shopper experience.
But why does the shopper experience matter?
Well, the best physical retail experiences you’ve had remain with you for years. The sights, sounds and smells of the store, and the interactions you have with passionate, knowledgeable store staff, combine to trigger emotions that make shoppers want to linger longer, buy more and then tell friends and family about that store.
But there’s a major shift going on in the world of retail. It’s the move away from physical to online retail.
The great news is, it’s never been easier to start an online business. Low cost and fast start up, with plug-and-play software like Shopify, and the global and local reach of social media of Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, supported by marketing software such as Mailchimp and Marketo make it easier than ever to reach and communicate with your shoppers.
However, there’s a catch! It may be easy to set-up but it’s never been more difficult to get noticed in this busy and crowded global marketplace. Before Amazon and eBay existed, a large physical department store had 25,000 items for sale. Amazon alone sells over 1 million items on its marketplace!
Our challenge as smaller online retailers is to make shoppers aware of us, engage with our online store and then to take those amazing physical shopper experiences and translate them into the digital world; triggering emotions that make shoppers want to linger longer, buy more and then tell friends and family about that website. All from the comfort of their home, or during their journey to and from work, or wherever and whenever they want. That’s part of the joy of online shopping!
I’ve spent 25 years honing my retail shopper experience skills and the past 10 years translating them to the online world for the benefit of a range of clients both large and small, national and international.
I’ve loved learning how to adapt the best of the physical retail to the online world – and seeing first-hand that the shopper experience is just as important in online retail as it is in the physical environment.
There’s no doubt, if you get it right, shoppers do the same online as they do in the best physical stores. They stay longer, they buy more and they tell their friends and family about it. And they return! And, of course, that’s also all good for business.
In addition to sharing my experience with clients to grow their physical and online retail and service businesses, I’ve also loved sharing my knowledge with thousands of business owners and team members around the world to help build and improve their vocational physical retailing skills. I’ve done this through a couple of shopper experience and retail sales courses I’ve developed with my business partner Nigel Miller.
To date, those courses have focused primarily on the shopper experience in physical retail. I’m now incredibly excited to share my online retail experience.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve been heavily involved in the phoenixing of the Toys R Us brand into a pure online retailer here in Australia and New Zealand. No stores, no long leases, just a pure online play. And it’s working spectacularly. Why? Because I believe we’ve mastered the shopper experience online.
The recent global pandemic has decimated traditional retail. It’s also thrown out of work millions of amazing people who worked for those retailers. So there’s now a dearth of retail experience out there. I passionately believe that many thousands of those great retail associates can successfully turn their skills to the online retail world. And I’m passionate about sharing my first-hand experience and extensive knowledge to help them make that transition smoothly.
To that end, we’ve recently launched our “Road to Online Retail” podcast where I share my insights and tips on all things online retail. In these podcasts, we’re also calling on retail and digital marketing expert friends of ours to share their experiences and tips with listeners. We believe these podcasts can be an amazing resource for anyone involved in online retail.
But, if you want to fast-track your online shopper experience knowledge, we believe that you’re going to love our Online Retail Shopper Experience course that we’re just launching. Check it out here. On this course, we share indispensable insights into the key ingredients for successful online retail. We help you understand how to raise awareness and engagement. How to entertain your shoppers. How to build loyalty and buzz. And how to make the overall shopper experience a delight for your shoppers so that they do what all shoppers do when they’re having a good experience – stay longer, buy more and tell their friends and family about your store.
Come and join us on the journey to creating great online shopper experiences.
The Road to Retail