Is Your Retail Business Healthy?

In its 2020 State of the Industry Report, STORIS shares 20 actionable strategies to help your retail establishment flourish in its 20/20 Vision Plan. 

Diane Falvey
03/10/2020
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In its 2020 State of the Industry Report, STORIS shares 20 actionable strategies to help your retail establishment flourish in its 20/20 Vision Plan. We’ve highlighted a few. For the rest of the report, visit
 www.storis.com/2020-furniture-industry-trend-guide

“We are constant consumers; being sold everywhere from social media and streaming shows to personal recommendations from friends. In a market where digital is abundant, we are saturated with messaging. The messaging that doesn’t resonate with us becomes white noise. However, some brands jump off the page. They craft experiences that rise above. We find those moments where we are presented exactly what we were looking for at the right moment. Those brands just seem to get us. They make it easy for us to infuse them into our lives to the point that shopping becomes a joy.” 

— STORIS, excerpt from STORIS 20/20 Vision Plan

 

1. Create a Seamless Experience

It is easy to take modern conveniences for granted. Business2Community wrote, “most people only make the connection between technology and customer experience when tech fails, is slow or disrupts the process.” We often notice lackluster experiences more than we realize what it takes to power flawless ones: when a store doesn’t recognize your online receipt, when a brand’s mobile website doesn’t work right on your phone, or when you build a cart and it disappears when you go to checkout. In 2020 and beyond, technology needs to do the difficult work for your employees, and it needs to do the difficult work for your customers, so all they notice is a valuable shopping experience.

In 2020, it is important to evaluate where the kinks are along your customer journey. No business is perfect all the time, but that is what we should all be working toward. Is your inventory where your system says it is? Does your staff have the knowledge to service customers? Is your checkout experience expedient? Are you prepping for deliveries as quickly as possible? Can a customer move from browsing to shopping and back again across your channels? In 2020, the perception of streamlined customer experience will only get increasingly demanding as more businesses move toward that level of perfection.

2. Drive Store Traffic

The most common challenge vocalized by home furnishings retailers in 2019 was how to increase store traffic. While traffic may be down, in theory, the buyers that are walking through your door are more qualified. Customers are browsing online first. Your website needs to entice buyers to include your store among the few destinations they ultimately visit. Customer testimonials aren’t just for products. Showcase reviews that highlight the overall experience of your store and staff. It’s also imperative that it is easy for your customers to find store location information. Further, consider your online reputation outside of your own website. Your business needs to be optimized on Google My Business and local search.

The good news for store traffic is that 62 percent of customers want to interact with tactile attributes of a product before buying. For big ticket purchases, touch is a key sensory experience. Each product page should clearly tell the customer where they can find the item on display, backed by reliable inventory data to ensure accuracy.

3. Be Your Own Customer

You’ve done all the hard work, and now it’s time to shop. The most critical aspect of any initiative is testing. When was the last time you shopped your brand as today’s customer would: in-store, online, via mobile?

The hard question to ask yourself is, would I be my own customer? If the answer right now has you on the fence, don’t panic! You now have a pulse of your current state. It’s time to set goals and create an action plan to get your business where you want it to be. After all, it is all about continuous progress. 

Many retailers and consulting firms have opened test store environments in order to experiment with their concepts of the future and implement new technologies. Many retailers at STORIS lead technology pilot programs before rolling out new technologies across their entire retail environment. Getting comfortable with the cycle of experimentation and innovation will keep your business on the cutting edge.

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