Today, local businesses need to compete with online sellers like Amazon and even home entrepreneurs who list their products on Etsy. As many businesses continue to adapt to changing safety regulations, owners need to focus on continuing to provide a quality experience for their customers while also communicating changes and updates in real-time.  

Check out these eight ideas to better connect with your customers and drive sales. 

1. Train Your Staff on Top-Notch Customer Service

Customer service begins with you. While you may train your employees on the basics of customer service shortly after you hire them, do you retrain them and share the latest practices in offering good customer care? 

Take the time to evaluate their customer service and offer proactive steps for improvement. 

Consider how your customers interact with your staff and what they need. You can also use this time to lead informational sessions on your products and services to make your team more informed. This will give them the knowledge to better answer questions and help customers make smart purchases.  

Recommended Reading: 5 Ways to Improve Customer Service 

2. Add Music to Set the Mood

Your customers shop with their five senses. While their eyes might attract them to your store or products, the other senses will determine whether they stay there. Take control of what your customers hear by creating a soundscape that matches your brand.

For example, stores geared toward younger shoppers like Charlotte Russe often play loud, thumping club music. Their clothes are meant for going out and making a runway-ready fashion statement, and the music matches the brand. This differs from the quieter music played in coffee shops, where customers want to talk with each other or work quietly. 

With the right on-premise music, you can enhance your branding and choose music that shares your vision for the business.  

3. Make Signage Clearer and Easier to Understand

You don’t need to overhaul your store to create a better customer experience. Simply making your brick-and-mortar location easier to navigate can help customers find what they need faster. One way to do this is with improved signage. You can add clearer signage and directions to help shoppers find the sections they want, or better inform people with digital signage options

If your signage hasn’t been updated in a few years, it may be time for an overhaul. 

4. Add Services to Your Product-Based Store

If you want to create a valuable experience, consider the types of services you can offer to your customers. Offering services increases your overall value over your competition, but it also keeps customers in your location longer and increases the chances that they will buy something. 

These experiences don’t need to be expensive or highly involved. For example, many women’s intimates stores offer bra sizing to help customers know their correct bust size. This is a valuable service. However, when customers buy a bra that fits well, they are also more likely to return and spend more. What benefits the customer also benefits your business. 

5. Create a Kid-Friendly Environment

If you want to create an exceptional experience for parents, consider offering a kid-focused space where parents can drop off their kids while they shop. Kids can color or play and stay distracted to give their parents a break. 

Another idea for a kid-friendly option is to include kid-sized carts for shopping. Some grocery stores offer these so kids can feel like they are responsible for holding certain items and helping in the process. 

Outside of an experience, you could give away crayons and coloring pages or stickers with each purchase. This is a great way to be kid-friendly without too much effort. If your location has a lot of parents or kids, a small acknowledgment of these children can go a long way to win parents over. 

6. Reward Customers With Gifts or Surprises

Loyalty is one of the strongest features a business can instill in its customer base. If your customers visit your business exclusively, then you can rely on their business for years. In fact, customers with an emotional connection with a brand will stay loyal to it for an average of five years, and 77% of consumers say they have had a relationship with a brand for more than 10 years. 

Consider developing a brand loyalty program for your customers or offer gifts to customers who buy certain products or reach certain thresholds. This can build loyalty and get customers excited about making a purchase. 

Recommended Reading: 5 Brands Crushing the Customer Rewards Game

7. Keep Your Store Clean and Comfortable

Even if you don’t have the most exciting products, you can still win over your customers with a clean and welcoming environment. This cleanliness starts with your floors and shelving and extends to your windows, bathrooms, and other surfaces. Along with cleanliness, make sure your visual merchandise is organized and restocked each day, so customers never have to dig to find what they need.

You can also use signage to let customers know about extra steps you’re taking with your cleaning process. This is especially important to help them feel comfortable shopping in your location. 

8. Take Customer Feedback and Apply It

If you’re not sure how to improve your retail customer experience, turn to your customers. Ask people how the store can be improved and the steps you can take to update your customer service. 

There are multiple ways to do this. You can send out surveys or attach them to receipts, or you can directly ask customers through focus groups and voluntary interviews. Combining both of these options can help you get qualitative and quantitative data on how your customer experience can improve. 

Recommended Reading: 5 Tech Tools That Help You Collect Customer Feedback