“Wow” Moments in Retail

Brian Gallagher

What is a “wow” moment? A “wow” moment occurs any time you exceed your customer’s expectations. It doesn’t have to be by a lot. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top. It just has to be better than expected.

As an example, we have all left a retail store and heard the associate say, “Have a good one.” What if the salesperson instead said, “Thank you for shopping with us today. I hope the rest of your day is amazing. Everyone deserves amazing”? I would say, “Wow,” and remember that for a long time.

Perhaps you are looking at a new couch for your house, but instead of being handed a book of materials, the associate grabbed a tablet, sat down with you, and showed you the exact couch in every color available, one at a time. You might say, “Wow.”

In retail today, it is more critical than ever to define multiple paths to delivering “wow.” I spend thousands of hours every year talking about retail. Even I am often overwhelmed with everything that should and could be done to transform our industry. I believe there are four key areas that every retailer must define with a gameplan over the next 12 months. A retailer without traction in these key areas may not be around in 13 months to jump on board, and even if they are, the road to success will be exponentially more difficult.

Related: TechSperience Podcast Episode 31 – 2020 Tech Trends in Retail – What’s Happening in Your Favorite Store?

1. Mobile Engagement—Employees and customers both demand a mobile experience.

As consumers, we all live a mobile lifestyle, regardless of age or demographic. Retailers that do not implement a clear mobile engagement path for both employees and customers are ignoring reality. Implementing a mobility plan is table stakes at this point. Any retailer that says, “We don’t really have a need for mobile,” should reevaluate immediately. What networks, devices, and applications are most important to your customers? To your employees?

Mobility Wow Moments for Employees:

Wow, my…

  • …training can be done without leaving the sales floor.
  • …mobile device alerts me know when it’s break time.

Mobility Wow Moments for Customers:

Wow, my…

  • …sales person didn’t have to go to the back room to check inventory.
  • …sales person and I were able to research complementary items together.
  • …purchase history and preferences are available on my device and for the sales person regardless of when or where I made the transaction.

2. Actionable Data Analytics—Use data to understand, anticipate, and measure results.

It is important for each business to clearly understand their individual capabilities around data analytics. Data can be confusing and paralyzing if overindulged, but it is critical to creating brand advantages. Understand what your organization can digest today and challenge yourself to improve the analytics process incrementally every day. The better the analytics, the better the personalization and the ultimate customer experience.

Data Wow Moments for Retailers:

Wow, my…

  • …customers visit Amazon product reviews 50% of the time. Perhaps we should provide them.
  • …employees are spending much more time on administrative functions than I thought.
  • …customers enter the store from the left 75% of the time. Perhaps I should change my display placement to improve conversion.

Data Wow Moments for Customers:

Wow, my…

  • …phone just sent me a coupon for an item I was researching the last time I visited the store.

3. Personalized Retail Experience—Understand your customer base and provide options for engagement with your brand.

Retailers have defined their customer base in large buckets such as “Women 25–45” or “Urban Males between 30 and 40.” While this is necessary for setting a baseline understanding of your brand’s goals, retailers today need to identify ways of allowing the individuals to personalize their relationship with the brand.

Personalized Experience Wow Moments:

Wow, I…

  • …get to choose the payment method that makes me most comfortable.
  • …get personalized promotions on my own mobile device.
  • …am amazed that the digital signage marketing always feels like it is meant for me.

4. AI, AR, VR Vision—Use mobility, analytics and personalization to define your future state.

I compare these technologies to mobile technology just five years ago. They are nice to have today, but in three years’ time, they will be a necessity. Developing a strategy and identifying your roadmap today will create clarity for system deployment and preparation. The goal should be to create a great experience and minimize the rip-and-replace of expensive technology systems.

AI, AR, VR Vision Wow Moments:

Wow, I…

  • …never expected to design my actual living room from a picture.
  • …am so glad the sales associate can anticipate all the items I need for a project even before I realize.
  • …am amazed that I can finally pick out a perfect gift for everyone, and I know it will fit.

What will you use to create your “wow”? As a retailer, a constant search for new technologies to engage your customers will ensure your transformation continues for years to come. Connection has the partnerships and experience to bring your “wow” to life.

Brian is the Retail Strategy & Business Development Director at Connection. Brian joined Connection in 2016 as the Retail subject matter expert (SME) after leading National Store Operations teams for more than 20 years. Brian has a deep understanding of today’s Store Experience and Customer Engagement solutions requirements and works collaboratively with customers and partners to create complete business solutions to drive customer engagement and revenues. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling with his wife and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.