The cost of living crisis has been prominent in the news headlines recently, hitting hopes of a major recovery as the pandemic eases. High energy prices and a range of commodity issues related to the Ukraine war have added to the pressure.
All this may be concerning in-store retailers, who will naturally be wondering how to keep people coming through their doors at a time when many are tightening their purse strings. The latest retail sales figures, showing a 0.3 per cent drop in volumes in February, show how real the issue is.
If discretionary consumer spending is likely to fall, the key is for retailers to provide something extra to help get a larger slice of a shrinking cake. This is where a strong in-store experience can make all the difference, by adding value and quality service to keep customers coming back and bolstering word-of-mouth recommendations.
Using proactive store maintenance, there are several ways this can be achieved. This means your store interior needs to be attractive, easy to get around and friendly. It makes sense to ensure that Covid-safe procedures are followed with the virus still around, even if shoppers no longer have to wear masks.
Some very simple things will help at any time. Having lots of tills to keep queuing times short is important. Not only may some get impatient and abandon their purchases, but will remember this in future. Having a good flow of customers is therefore vital.
All this should be tied in with other elements of the in-store experience such as personalisation, with the interaction between store staff who can demonstrate friendliness, helpfulness and, above all, knowledge of the products on offer can make a huge difference.
In time the current economic issues will ease, inflation will fall and consumers will have more to spend. When they do, it will be those stores that have created the best in-store experience to ensure they do well in the tougher times that will thrive even more when the economy is in a better place.