Have you ever wondered how to grab the attention of customers walking down the high street? In the hustle and bustle, it can be hard to stand out, and it is even harder to draw in sales with many consumers opting to shop online. Harder still is retaining those new-found customers. Competition has never been fiercer for retailers, and as we emerged from the pandemic, the hopes that retailers had for shoppers to flood through the doors didn’t meet the expectations – as we were faced with an increase in the cost of living.

However, while it might feel like the way forward is to slash prices in hopes of attracting more footfall, it turns out it is no longer just about cost savings if you really want to make an impact. What consumers are really looking for is a unique and memorable experience. 

Jon Knott, Head of Customer Insight at Dojo

Experience is everything in today’s commerce 

Latest industry research has shown that 1 in 3 of us seek out memorable experiences most of the time, and we are prepared to pay 28% extra when we find it. As consumers demand more from business owners, these are the new drivers powering the dramatic shift from commoditised goods and services to engaging experiences on the high street. 

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In order to make these encounters memorable, it means placing experience at the core of what retailers are offering. While this might seem like an obvious and more natural fit for services that offer a social setting, it is possible for many retailers across a variety of sectors to really take advantage of this by focusing on the customer experience. 

In part, this shift has been driven by the pandemic as there is no getting away from the fact that consumers have missed the simple things, such as shopping in store and having a chat with a store member. In fact, 58% of consumers cited that COVID has made them realise how much they value experiences, which provides an enormous opportunity for retailers to capitalise on, if they are open to creating a new approach.  

Small and strategic changes can be the difference 

Meeting these expectations can feel like a difficult task. Businesses need to reach customers on an individual level while also appealing to a wide customer base, and at first, it might feel as though this presents a paradox. However, offering a genuine and personal experience through customer experience is a great way to achieve this. Understanding customers can be the key and this doesn’t have to mean any extra expenses for businesses. In addition, technology can also play a critical role, especially as we strive for a more seamless customer experience. 

Technology is defining the age we live in and it is no different for shops on the high street. Digital touchpoints are increasingly defining the way businesses interact with their customers. However, there are still many misconceptions about the role and impact of technology. 

For some, technology can be seen as a blocker, removing the personal elements and adding a barrier. However, if used correctly, technology can actually bring you closer together. It can enhance customer experiences through apps and digital devices, and even facilitate faster and more effective decision-making, together with providing insights that enrich everyday interactions with customers to enable long-term engagement. 

In addition, technology plays a critical role when it comes to the payment process. After all, no customer wants to be faced with a long and tedious payment process when they are ready to check out and leave the store. The experience should run smoothly throughout the entire process. Things like integrated payments and contactless go a long way to building a positive and efficient interaction, and we shouldn’t forget about providing the right mix of payment options for customers to create a seamless payment experience.

The experience economy is really about consumers having a distinctive experience where they feel appreciated, listened to, and understood. Sometimes this means quick payments and speed, other times this means making that emotional connection. It is about understanding customer needs and creating an experience that is right for them. The businesses that will thrive will be the ones that can bring elements of the experience economy into their business model.