It's become commonplace for a number of industries in the past year to have customers booking in advance to do things. Yet, as things mercifully get back to normal with widespread vaccine rollouts, the idea of booking in advance to visit the grocery store is beginning to fall out of favor given the immediate danger has passed.
However, shoppers who got to enjoy the semi-exclusive experience of perusing an entire retail store in private or with a small number of people have discovered they're pretty fond of the idea. Once reserved for luxury shopping experiences alone, the concept of booking a private shopping binge is now accessible to most.
Retailers that wish to capitalize on this trend and draw in more customers with the promise of unfettered access to their racks of clothes, shoes or other merchandise need to keep a few things in mind to achieve long-term success.
Make it Run Like Clockwork
Implementing a modern booking system for your business isn't complicated and allows for a simple overview of resources such as staff schedules and a concierge-like calendar of customer appointments and personal notes.
If a customer who likes to shop privately in the morning prefers to do so while holding a latte, for instance, enterprising store owners can make a note of this quirk and use it to their advantage in whatever way they see fit. By taking into account this personal preference in the customer’s file, owners can step up their service and make personal appointments run like clockwork.
The more information retailers can gather on what their customers want, the better. Customers will willingly provide their details if it means they’ll be receiving special offers and discounts to make their next personalized shopping experience feel worth it.
Put on the White Gloves
There are many other ways an appointment booking system allows retailers the opportunity to personalize their customer's shopping experience. Personalized shopping appointments should mesh with loyalty programs that let customers book exclusive slots and during otherwise typically busy hours such as Saturday afternoons or the holidays.
Retailers can add an interstitial questionnaire that customers need to answer between the page where they fill in their details for an appointment and the page to select the date they want to shop. This practice can provide valuable information that can be paired with historical customer purchasing information in order to later present tailored offers or be used for other marketing incentives.
To prevent no-shows, retailers can send push notifications, text messages and email reminders so that customers are less likely to cancel.
Get Everyone Excited
Your staff will also need to familiarize themselves with how to serve appointment shoppers. Like any personalized luxury experience, put your best team members at the front of the store when welcoming private customers. These should be your most ambitious and skilled employees who can handle personalized requests, make tailored recommendations, and skillfully upsell when needed. Retailers should pair private shoppers with employees with whom they can form lasting personal relationships to turn single visits into repeat customers.
If your staff do exceptionally well in handling a private customer and are offered a tip, encourage them to take it. Meritocratic sales environments always breed better results as it motivates workers to expend more time and effort to benefit your company. The best way to get everyone excited about offering personalized shopping experiences is to make it one in which those who put in the most effort see the best results.
Although the danger appears nearly over and people are now beginning to shop in-store again, the desire to have a private or semi-private shopping experience still remains. Customers eager to "revenge shop" rather than order things online want to book their private shopping spree; retailers that can facilitate those experiences only stand to benefit.