Booking a personal shopping appointment used to be a luxury. A trip into town, a glass of wine in a plush changing area without having to navigate escalators, counters or rails. The customer service and experience was sublime, and average spend per transaction far exceeded that of the regular shopping experience. That was until COVID-19 put a stop to much of this. However, we are now seeing a different type of personal shopping experience emerge. It is still personal, it is still interactive and it can even still involve a glass of wine and refreshments (albeit on your sofa at home). What’s more, it is far more accessible to consumers than the personal shopping of the past.
Retailers like homeware and furniture giant Dunelm are discovering that giving customers the opportunity to book online shopping appointments is the ideal way to get ‘up close and personal’ with customers who are less confident about venturing in-store.
With so many consumers eager for the elements of shopping that are difficult to replicate online – inspiration, discovery, curation, and a sense of community – video and virtual reality-based appointments make it possible for retailers to give customers the personalised one-to-one experiences they miss.
Technology now enables retailers to offer just about any kind of online appointment service – demonstrations, consultations, beauty tutorials, personal shopping, gift selection and product recommendations – to customers in the comfort of their own home. Remote appointments are providing an opportunity for retailers to turbo-boost their personalisation efforts and provide the frictionless and continuous customer service that people want and need.
Offering pre-arranged browser-based appointments, backed by customer profiles and analytics help staff conduct appointments that drive value and personalised service. It doesn’t just build goodwill and loyalty. It increases average transaction value by five times.
With talk of second waves and local lockdowns, social distancing isn’t going away any time soon. As we approach key dates in the retail diary, such as Back to School, Black Friday and the pre-Christmas season, retailers will need to be agile and adaptable, using a wide range of capabilities to create the end-to-end shopping experiences that make it easy for shoppers to stay loyal.
Businesses able to use technology to grow and maintain customer relationships through the delivery of individualised services will be best positioned to reach targeted consumers more precisely and effectively – and deliver a better, safer shopping experience to consumers, come what may.
Credit: John Federman, CEO of JRNI