Harness the power of customer-centric thinking to boost your store sales

How can you transform your store into a hub of excellence and customer understanding? That was the  question up for discussion in the latest Health Stores UK Shop Talk webinar. 

The session was introduced by regular Shop Talk co-host Joanne Hill of Amaranth. Joanne said that today’s fast-changing retail environment, whilst challenging, offered valuable opportunities to businesses who innovated and added value. 

Creating the customer experience 
She said: “In my view, retail is no longer a case of opening your door and letting the products do the work. You’ve got to create an experience for the customer, demonstrate your subject knowledge  and proactively engage with our communities.”

Dave Christie of business mentoring specialist Take on Goliath, then led the main part of the discussion, with contributions from Joanne along the way. 

Dave made a strong case for putting the customer at the heart of retail decision making, and talked through the key elements of ‘customer-centricity’ – a strategy and a culture of doing business that focuses on creating the best experience for the customer, and by doing so builds brand loyalty. These include designing the customer-focused leadership, gathering feedback to drive continuous improvement, empowering front line staff and – crucially – understanding your customers.

Attract new customers, or stagnate 

He said: “We need to be looking at the customer, and what their needs and wants are. And that probably doing things a little bit differently. 

He added: “It’s crucial that we find new ways to talk to new customers, because if we only talk to our existing customers our businesses will stagnate. 

“We sometimes forget, that we do speak in a rather specialised language that doesn’t always resonate with everyone. So we need to find ways to communicate effectively, and draw new customers in.

Customer understanding is absolutely key to becoming a customer-centric retailer.”

How does your store look to others?

Dave suggested a very practical way of understanding how a customer might perceive your store. “Approach your own store from 100 yards, enter it and walk through the store as if you were your own customer. That could really help you understand how your store looks and feels – and what it says – to your customer. It will also help you to design your customer experience.” 

The online session included a ‘walk-through’ of techniques and strategies that, collectively, will help your store become a hub of excellence. They included:

• The challenges in becoming a customer-centric business

• Understanding your market

• Customer persona

• Tailoring your product selection

• Creating an engaging in-store experience

• Building strong customer relationships

• Importance of community engagement

• Embracing technology – data-driven decision making 

  • Adapting to changing trends

Health Stores UK members can view the session in full on our website. Please visit www.healthstores.uk and click Members’ Area/Videos and Webinars

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