Are You Giving Your Customers ‘Retail Rage’?

 

I recently came across an article in Huffington Post entitled “Introducing ‘Internet Rage,’ The Road Rage of Our Time.”  The basic premise covers our growing impatience with… well, just about everything, fueled by our current generation’s need/expectation for immediacy. Also known as “IWWIWWIWI” (I want what I want when I want it).[1] The article gives all-too-familiar examples of the feeling of your blood boiling when your Web browser freezes or the twirl of a loading sign that appears to have no end.

This concept of internet rage got me thinking about a different type of expectation that has increased over time and has led to what one could call “Retail Rage”. The same consumers that experience internet rage as a result of impatience and a need for instance gratification likely also experiences similar symptoms as a result of retail rage.

When a customer sets out to learn more about your product and ultimately make a purchase, they don’t care about the complexities of juggling multiple channels. In fact, they don’t even understand what a channel is.

Retail rage is caused by a variety of issues that plague today’s retailers (and frustrate today’s consumers). The most common causes include out-of-stocks, inconsistent information ranging from pricing to availability across channels or even store locations, lack of personalization, access to well-trained product experts, and the ability to shop on their own terms: in-store, online or on a phone or tablet. When a customer sets out to learn more about your product and ultimately make a purchase, they don’t care about the complexities of juggling multiple channels. In fact, they don’t even understand what a channel is. There’s just retail. And to them, it should be everywhere at all times. Same principle applies – “IWWIWWIWI”. End of story.

It’s difficult to keep up with today’s consumer. The bar has been significantly raised. Consumers expect making a purchase to be easier and faster, as well as everywhere and at any time. So what do you do? Is there a cure for retail rage?

You need to be on top of your inventory and you need to have insight into who your customers are, what they like and how well your staff is able to build relationships with them.

The short answer is ‘yes’ but the long answer is you won’t be able to fix the issue(s) overnight. Many retailers are investing heavily in improving the customer experience and those who ignore the problem simply won’t survive the latest landscape shake-up. So start where you can.

You can’t deliver on a pretty retail experience for your customers with a beautifully designed store, website or mobile site with the latest innovations in retail technology if your back-of-house operations are all a mess. Clean it up. This might mean a change in (or using for the first time) retail management software. You need to be on top of your inventory and you need to have insight into who your customers are, what they like and how well your staff is able to build relationships with them. Next, you need a content management solution. If you run multiple stores and/or have an online or mobile store, content managers take stress and time out of making sure your product information, marketing and branding are the same across all your touch points.

Transform your store from a place to merely make a transaction to a destination that delivers a great experience.

Once you’re confident you have the right tools and support in place, you can move on to the fun stuff: creating retail spaces with customer-facing solutions that transform your store from a place to merely make a transaction to a destination that delivers a great experience.

It may seem like a daunting task, but now is the time to stop giving your customers retail rage and start delighting them!     

 

[1] Decoding the New Consumer Mind by Dr. Kit Yarrow