Why delivering an exceptional retail experience is more important than ever

shoppers in a retail mall

There’s no doubt about it, e-commerce is taking an ever increasing slice of consumer spending away from the high street. Recent figures show that online sales grew 16 percent in 2016 from the previous year, with shoppers spending £133 billion with UK online stores. This is against a continued decline in sales for the high street.

However, it’s not all bad news. Research by retail brand consultancy FITCH and card payment company WorldPay found that consumers want more than online can offer and place a higher importance on the in-store experience than ever before.

Clearly, bricks and mortar retailers are going to have to up their game if they want to attract more footfall to their stores by making the experience more engaging and enjoyable. Most experts agree that those retailers that can provide a good integrated service across all channels – in-store, website, social media etc – are likely to do best. In a physical store, this means making sure staff are knowledgeable and approachable enough to help out customers looking for advice and pointing them online if necessary.

But attracting more footfall is also about making the shopping experience more enjoyable; mixing buying with socialising, entertainment, eating and drinking. Undoubtedly connected to this is the requirement to provide a pleasant shopping environment. According to financial news site, thebalance.com, seven of the top 10 ways to turn off customers from physical stores are related to neatness and hygiene.

Maintaing a clean and tidy shop

Areas that are heavily used by shoppers are likely to get dirty quickly, so cleaning regularly is essential, and not just for food retailers. Consumers want to know that what they are buying is good quality, which is not helped by a grimy store appearance. Floors are usually the first to become grubby, but they are difficult to clean while customers are walking around. To minimise dirt and cleaning use commercial mats and flooring that are designed to trap dirt, dust and moisture. Citron Hygiene’s commercial mats do just that and are professionally laundered on a regular basis to ensure they remain effective.

Also important is ensuring stock is neat and well ordered. For clothing retailers, particular attention should be paid to dressing rooms, which are likely to become untidy and cluttered as customers discard unwanted clothes. This gives an overall impression that the retailer cares about its products and what its customers think.

Encouraging staff to be clean and tidy

Aside from being helpful, staff should also have a professional appearance. To prevent shop assistants from spreading germs and dirt from handling cards and cash, having dispensers of hand rub by the tills is worth considering.

Reducing bad odours

There is little point in creating a clean and tidy shop floor if it smells dirty, as that is one thing likely to have customers reaching for the door rather than their wallets. This is particularly an issue in clothing stores where people are often using changing rooms that have little or no fresh air ventilation. Automatic odour neutralisers make bad smells disappear by purifying the air, neutralising odours and breaking down the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) responsible for malodours.

Using good scents

Psychologists have for many years confirmed that we are all influenced by what we can smell, with individual scents triggering certain moods, memories and responses. Research has shown that fresh scents such as citrus fruits, spices and mint can encourage shoppers to spend more money in store. So, bricks and mortar retailers should look at using fragrance diffusers to ensure their premises have a clean, subtle fragrance, reinforcing their brand.

The high street shop is far from endangered; it just needs to evolve to embrace the needs of the modern consumer.

For more information about how Citron Hygiene can help your store adapt contact: 08000 665 552 or get in touch via our online contact form.

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