Ultimate customer experience examples & actionable tips for every ANZ retailer

Ensuring excellent retail customer experiences (CX) is vital. Get actionable, must-read tips & ultimate customer experience examples by Aussie & NZ retailers.
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min read
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Retail Express
April 28, 2022
Aaron Blackman
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CEO & Founder
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Retail Express
April 28, 2022

Table of contents

Understanding the importance of great customer experiences and service is nothing new for Aussie and Kiwi retailers. But after two years of constant change, many find themselves juggling multiple moving parts. With so much going on, how do we deliver exceptional customer experiences in retail right now? Which Aussie retail brands are doing it well, and what can we learn from them — even if our business is much smaller than the big guns? (Heads up: we’ll tell you — and give you some of these ultimate customer experience examples.)

Today, we’ll briefly outline the main drivers required to deliver excellent customer experiences (CX). We’ll analyse a couple of Aussie retail brands that are excelling in CX in different ways. And we’ll give you vital, actionable tips that every Aussie retail business can use.

Personalisation: the #1 driver of customer experience{Why personalisation is the #1 driver of customer experience}

According to KPMG’s Customer Experience Excellent Report 2021, personalisation is the number one driver of CX, having a massive impact on customer loyalty and advocacy.

Retail advocacy is when existing retail customers literally ‘advocate’, meaning they publicly recommend or support your brand. For example, they chat to friends, strangers at the shopping mall, online - and share their positive experiences about your retail brand.  

Of course, retail advocacy is free, which is a huge perk. But better still, the beauty of advocacy is that human beings respond positively to what others say — far more than how they react to a slick paid advertisement.

So, let’s get people talking about your brand. Let’s learn how to personalise the customer experience.

example of automating the retail customer experience throughout the sales funnel

Find out how Retail Express can help your retail business deliver the ultimate customer experience with omnichannel POS software. Get in touch for a free personalised demo today.  

How to personalise the customer experience{How to personalise the retail customer experience}

There are hundreds of ways to personalise your customer's experiences. Handwritten notes accompanying orders and using customers’ first names are a surprisingly effective way to start, but there's a lot more.

Personalisation requires knowledge about the individual, so using the right software is an important step to gaining this information. Intelligent eCommerce POS software will give you actionable customer data so you can segment them to cater to their personal preferences — which can then be used in various ways. You can personalise emails, marketing campaigns, social media ads and offer loyalty bonuses, to name a few activities.

For example, Retail Express seamlessly integrates with ActiveCampaign, a powerful app that can automate the customer experience — and dramatically drive sales. It allows you to give personalised emails and SMSs at every stage of the sales channel. You can send email marketing campaigns based on the customers' previous interests and purchases. And you can install web chat software to have personalised conversations with customers when they want it most.

Empathy and resolution are also essential factors in creating an excellent customer experience, according to KPMG's recent report. Outstanding, efficient physical transactions are still vital, but the psychological aspect is currently taking the limelight. Consumers now crave care and human connection.

Personalisation through live chat is another customer experience example

Connect, care and resolve customer problems{How to connect, care and resolve retail customer problems}

Examples of human connection and resolution are everywhere — and it's not complicated. We’re talking about rapidly replying to customer queries and complaints, picking up the phone to talk to customers, apologising when necessary, using customers' names, acknowledging mistakes or writing personalised notes. The right software can also help things along significantly, such as implementing live-chat for easy communication.

"The benefits extend beyond customer loyalty through to significant improvements to revenue and retention, a resultant reduction in marketing costs and uplift in customer acquisition and engagement metrics for brand."

Lisa Bora Partner in Charge of Corporates – Management Consulting, KPMG Australia.

Find out how Retail Express can help your retail business deliver an outstanding omnichannel customer experience by integrating all your data. Get in touch for a free personalised demo today. 

Each year, KPMG Australia surveys thousands of Aussies to evaluate which brands are providing the best customer experience, according to their metrics.  Included in their Top 10 list were MECCA, Bendigo Bank, Bunnings, Afterpay, Specsavers, Priceline, Chemist Warehouse and The Iconic. It’s worth checking out some of these winning brands to see if any of their strategies are worth exploring.

Remember though, there’s no cookie-cutter formula to deliver excellent CX. What works for one brand may be death for another. Retailers need to understand the strengths and limitations of their products and services. Then, they must assess their data and customer feedback and finally test various channels and strategies to see which are most beneficial for their brand.

Personalised customer experience examples{Personalised customer experience examples in retail}

Here are two Aussie brands that deliver numerous personalised customer experience examples in quite different ways.

Aussie & NZ retail CX example #1: MECCA (Accelerated digital drive & brand integrity){Aussie CX example #1: MECCA — plus actionable MECCA-inspired tips}

According to KPMG, MECCA "has topped the charts this year... due to their accelerated digital drive across communications, operations and ensuring astrong focus and delivery in brand integrity and expectation management."

Says MECCA's chief digital officer Sam Bain, "The biggest change is probably the extent to which we now use customer feedback and data. We use a lot more quantitative data to drive decision-making today, whereas we used to rely more on anecdotal insights."

Bain explains that they focus on four core pillars (NB: We've added examples from reports and observations):

  • Content and storytelling –  Includes live streaming make-up tutorials by industry-leading professionals, featured product articles, make-up 'how-to's (with stunning, entertaining video content), inspirational articles on current trends and virtual services such as personalised make-up advice online, and much, much more.
  • Seamless omnichannel experience - This is multifaceted and extensive, but includes collecting personal profiles for marketing,  Ship from Store, Call and Collect and online booking for an array of in-store service appointments. (MECCA is always an excellent brand to see great omnichannel customer experience examples)
  • Relevant and personalised journeys - For example, providing exquisitely personalised email campaigns, social media advertising and automated sales emails triggered by online activity.
  • Exceptional services - There's video or live chat for beauty advice or gift ideas, live chat for customer support and free phone support. MECCA's loyalty program, Beauty Loop, enables them to avoid discounts while incentivising customers with a tiered bonus system. The more you buy, the higher the bonus level. And the bonus? A goodie box of product samples, encouraging future sales. Plus, by capturing customers' order history, they simultaneously leverage off the data of these 4.3 million highly engaged MECCA customers.

ETHICS AND VALUES

MECCA does an exemplary job of displaying its ethics and values — an essential component of emotionally connecting with today's customers. Here's how:

Diversity & inclusion: MECCA has embraced a culture of diversity that's far from a box-ticking exercise. They thoroughly use models of all genders, body shapes, races and cultures to showcase their products — an ethos also reflected in the staff employed in-store. They offer make-up for all skin tones — and encourage the inclusion of all genders throughout all services and events.

Social change: Their social change program, MECCA M-Power, focuses on educating women and girls to advance gender equality. Their aim is clear — to support 10,000 girls through secondary school by 2025.

Sustainability: MECCA has teamed with TerraCycle, global leaders in recycling the un-recyclable, offering customers a convenient in-store facility to recycle their cosmetic containers.

MECCA-INSPIRED TIPS:

Focus on customer feedback and data to make informed retail business decisions to drive revenue and increase profit margins

  • Dive into your data to make factual, data-led decisions - rather than relying on anecdotes or hunches. Powerful POS reporting software can give you actionable insights on everything from financial, sales performance, products, inventory and supply chain reports. It can also provide detailed customer analytics and reports — helping you understand your customers and their needs better. And, this data can also be used for creating more personalised marketing and loyalty programs.
  • Create surveys, streamline customer feedback processes to understand your customers' wants and needs. Let them know they're listened to by fulfilling these demands and expectations. One

Create content that helps your customers

  • Consider educational 'how-to’-style blogs or videos on how to assemble/apply/use your product
  • Interview industry experts or share current trends and news updates on your product and how it helps.
  • Profile a loyal customer or staff member monthly  
  • Share news about your achievements occasionally but keep the focus on content that helps the customer.

Deliver the omnichannel experience

  • Whether you're a single or multi-store product retailer, you can benefit from omnichannel. By integrating all data with clever point-of-sale software and changing to an omnichannel strategy, you'll offer customers a far better retail experience. There'll be more choice, more communication, more product availability and less friction.

Personalise your customers' journey

  • Use customer experience software such as ActiveCampaign to help provide meaningful communication via email and SMS that customers appreciate, not find annoying.
  • Consider using short, personalised videos for messaging customers

Social proof  

  • Social proof helps conversions. Implement a systematic approach to requesting reviews from customers. Email or SMS customers after a purchase with a request to review (along with a link to make the process effortless).
  • Display this social proof (customer reviews) directly on the product page or at various places on the website or digital platforms where they may help convert more sales.

Give back  

  • Whether it's the local community, a charity or sponsorship, show people that you have a trusted purpose by donating funds to charity. Trust is a vital ingredient in a long-lasting and engaged customer relationship.  
  • Giving back also provides comfort in knowing that you contribute a small proportion of their hard-earned dollars for bettering the world in some way.

Aussie & NZ retail CX example #2: Adairs (loyalty & in-store experiences){Aussie CX example #2: Adairs — plus actionable Adairs-inspired tips}

As a homewares retailer, Adairs had more than a few things going for them during the pandemic. Isolated, yearning for comfort and safety, and wondering how we've lived with those hideous cushions this long worked to their advantage. Shopping for homewares (while easing anxieties with liquor) proved to be a winning activity.

The Australian Financial Review reports that Adairs' profits rose 81 % to $63.7 million. And according to Chief Executive Mark Ronan, more growth is to come.

Adairs understood the importance of an excellent customer experience way before lockdown, though, embracing the omnichannel experience (integrating bricks and clicks) years ago. But after careful research, they discovered their success lies in customer loyalty and in-store experiences.

Linen Lovers Loyalty-

Over 75 % of Adairs' retail sales now come from their popular loyalty program, Linen Lovers. According to Adair's investor website, "Linen Lover members pay (a small fee) for a two-year membership that provides access to lower prices in-store and online, access to exclusive offers and events, and free delivery for most orders."

Linen Lovers is a simple offering that works exceedingly well.

"The beauty of the Linen Lovers program is we can continue to grow that year-on-year, and those customers continue to come back… There are many more Linen Lovers we can add", says Ronan.

Adairs also discovered that an outstanding customer experience can be met via their physical stores— large physical stores.

Since 2019, 'Adairs Homemaker Centres', have stolen focus from their small, cramped shopping mall stores. Large, light-filled, and delightfully relaxed, these centres are homely havens where a 'destination' experience can inspire shoppers — and provide value, trust and engagement. There's an abundant array of stock variety, real-life shop displays and friendly, helpful connections with well-trained store staff.

ADAIRS-INSPIRED TIPS:

  • Offer a loyalty membership: Adairs Linen Lovers membership is not free at (currently) AU$19.95. However, members can't get enough of the benefits this affords. See more info on Retail Express’ marketing and loyalty software here.
  • Consider destination retail stores: At a destination store, shoppers have the added benefit of experiencing your products in a more lifelike environment, not just purchasing them. (They can do that with a click).

Here are some ideas:

  • Hold in-store classes/events: Whether it's cooking, yoga, computers, chess games or craft, educate people in-store on how to use your products. Better still, invite industry experts or celebrities to come and talk to your customers in-store.
  • Let shoppers experience your products: Adairs Homemaker Centres have room for you to assemble a couch or bed with your furnishings of choice. Nike has in-store treadmills with virtual reality screens, basketball hoops and more.
  • Do the work for them: If you don't have the product in-store, don't send them elsewhere. With flexible retail point-of-sale software that integrates all data, you can quickly locate the product in another store or warehouse. Then, you can deliver to the customer as they choose — either in-store or to their home.
  • Make it a place people want to hang out in: Add a coffee bar or even a small lunch bar. Offer lounges to relax and encourage social engagement.

Next steps: book a free demo-

Find out how Retail Express can help your retail business deliver the ultimate customer experience. By integrating your systems with retail POS software to create an omnichannel strategy, you can give your customers the personalisation and connection they crave. Get in touch for a free personalised demo today.  

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