Retail is Broken: This is the Solution
Some might say that retail is dead, another victim of COVID-19. However, I would argue that it is merely changing but far from finished. The pandemic has hastened changes to physical and digital retail experiences and customer behavior. Still, organizations that recognize and anticipate the shift can adapt and benefit from the new business-as-usual.
Key Ideas to Improve Your Customer Experience
There are both theoretical reasons and practical reasons why customer behavior is changing. In this episode, we discuss the key ideas of both.
Psychological theory underlays much of our behavior in retail experiences. For example, customers like to touch things when making decisions to inform themselves that they are making a good one about a product. People also use body stimuli in thinking. So, what we buy when we feel warm is different from what we purchase when cold. In theory, we also sometimes make other buying decisions in public than we would in the privacy of our homes in the glow of a computer screen. That also goes for our unplanned purchases; we choose different impulse buys online than in person.
From a practical perspective, customer behavior follows some general patterns as well. First of all, we have a well-worn process for decision making for purchases. These adapt to both physical and online experiences. Also, we want different types of retail experiences depending upon our perceived importance of the purchase. In other words, we don’t need a physical experience for commodity items, but we might for a more significant investment item, like technology or appliance purchase. The physical experience is sometimes the reason customers shop with you, whether that’s because it is fun or because being there makes people feel like part of the club. Sometimes, it’s because you are buying something that you feel you need to see, like the fish you will serve to dinner guests (you know, back when having dinner guests was still a thing).
Here are some highlights of the discussion:
- 01:18 – Colin shares a recent experience of buying a large television for the living room vs. a smaller one for the kitchen.
- 05:02 – We introduce the four key theories that underly the changes in retail today.
- 07:28 – Colin shares a story about when he consulted the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street. (No, really.)
- 15:13 – We share the practical observations of customer behavior in both types of experiences.
- 19:18 – We explain that physical experiences often help build confidence for a customer’s buying decision.
- 20:51 – We discuss how customer segmentation could help determine if customers want a physical retail experience for specific purchases.
- 27:40 – We talk about what you should consider and the recommended actions when designing your respective physical and online experiences.
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Customer Experience Information & Resources
LinkedIn recognizes Colin Shaw as one of the ‘World’s Top 150 Business Influencers.’ As a result, he has 289,000 followers of his work. Shaw is Founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy LLC, which helps organizations unlock growth by discovering customers’ hidden, unmet needs that drive value ($). The Financial Times selected Beyond Philosophy LLC as one of the best management consultancies for the last two years. Follow Colin on Linkedin and Twitter.
Click here to learn more about Professor Ryan Hamilton of Emory University.
Why Customers Buy: As an official “Influencer” on LinkedIn, Colin writes a regular newsletter on all things Customer Experience. Click here to join the other 22,000 subscribers.
Experience Health Check: You already have an experience, even if you weren’t deliberate about it. Our Experience Health Check can help you understand what you have today. Colin or one of our team can assess your digital or physical Customer Experience, interacting with your organization as a customer to define what is good and what needs improving. Then, they will provide a list of recommendations for critical next steps for your organization. Click here to learn more.
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