Consumer psychology 3: Design impactful retail experiences

While only a few of us will ever set out to be business owners, and even fewer of us will own a physical store, almost all of us know the feeling of being drawn into a store.

In an instant, that store made an impression on you. What pulled you into the store in the first place, the sights, the sounds? You also knew in a split second if you’d want to stay and see what they had to offer, or leave.

If you understand how consumers feel and think, your business can stand apart from your competitors.

Let’s look at three things you need to convert a mere window shopper to a loyal customer.

Before that, let’s ask: What makes a good retail experience?

You need to hear this – creating a good retail experience extends beyond the store itself. It’s about marketing your products with a certain look and feel to give off an impression customers can associate with your store.

While we cannot cover all aspects of branding, in this article we are going to give you an overview on what makes a good retail experience.

Also check out the other articles on Consumer Psychology:

So let’s design a positive retail experience for your customers.

  1. Brand experience

Unfortunately, in a 2021 survey on this aspect, Asian-Pacific countries scored low on customer experience.

Brand experience in-store includes a navigable store layout and a pleasant atmosphere. Customers want to look forward to an exciting store design and atmosphere when they enter your shop, and feel like they had a good deal when they leave.

Store atmosphere includes the physical characteristics of a retail store to attract customers, and is essential to the development and perception of your brand.

Your store’s atmosphere can directly impact its success. Customers not only care about how a store looks and feels, but research shows that a store’s atmosphere directly affects customers’ purchasing behaviour. They spend more money in shops with better ambience because of the impact on their mood.

Let’s look at skincare brand Aesop. Apart from their consistent black, white, and bronze colour combination across their storefront and products, their stores implement soothing lighting and a neat structured display of their products.

More importantly, stores have products out front for sampling, but it’s the allure of its calm, minimalist interior that draws customers into the store.

So how exactly does one create an atmosphere?

Start with the basics. Make sure customers can see and understand what you are selling upfront by designing signs with a readable font and visuals.

Ensure your storefront is attractive enough to hook passersby. Find inspiration from the Internet, hire a designer, or learn from the best; look at how Starbucks handle their design process.

Next, keep your store clean. Go the extra mile to keep your store dust-free, invest in an air purifier, or a scented humidifier. Note that some customers might be highly sensitive to smells. A natural scent should suffice.

Eliminate clutter around the cash register – get rid of notepads, and the mess of different payment devices by investing in a single smart point-of-sales (POS) system that streamlines your payment processes while digitalising your business operations.

For example, just look at how Qashier client Flourish Bakehouse uses their store location in a colonial house to create a homely cafe atmosphere.

Finally, make all your customers feel welcomed. For example, if you sell expensive items or services, use “buy now pay later” (BPNL)  options such as Atome. This assures most of your customers can afford your products or services.

Besides, if you use a smart pos solution which allows all kinds of payments, it’s super simple for customers to choose the BNPL option.

  1. Customer engagement

Customer engagement is part of a pleasant retail experience. Your staff must know how to mete out excellent service with in-depth product knowledge when called upon. They should be willing to explain and advise customers, or help find products.

Have you experienced either of the two scenarios? 

a.) You walk into a shop, and the retail assistant hovers directly beside you, commenting on every product you’ve touched or,

b.) You walk into a shop, and everyone’s unbothered, so you leave because you can’t get help. 

While these are extreme examples, each scenario is one that you want to avoid. So it’s important to have digital touchpoints so customers who prefer to shop solo can do that. Plus, it also speeds up the shopping process.

Other ways to speed up the shopping process include running promotions for customers to pick up their online orders in-store or buying online and picking them up later.

By allowing multiple options, you provide customers with a shorter wait time. For food and beverage (F&B) stores, a hangry customer is not a pleasant customer. So let them order on Grab or QashierEats before picking them up at your store!

Ultimately, you don’t need a huge budget to improve customer engagement.

Redeploy your staff to engage and interact with customers, rather than be busy tracking stock in the backroom. Invest in a smart POS solution – the Qashier X1 or XL, automated just that so staff can quickly look up products. Plus it keeps track of your merchandise for you, so staff will know when you’re running out of stock.

The next part of excellent customer service is knowing how to handle customer feedback and resolving issues as quickly as possible. This requires you to understand how customers feel in-store. You’ll need some way to collect customer feedback as they leave the store, so they can let you know if service standards were as expected.

Send an online feedback form with an incentive for a discount, or perhaps a touchscreen feedback panel to survey how satisfied the customer was without making them feel hassled.

  1. Shorter wait times, faster shopping times

Despite the rapid rise of online shopping, customers still enjoy the physical experience of shopping in-store. A 2021 study done in Asia finds that customers value human interactions greatly despite the Covid-19 surge in digital interactions.

So the in-store experience and human interaction whilst shopping will still be important. And it’s clear to see that Asian shoppers value the personalised experience when they get it at the stores, based on marketing statistics.

In-store, the shopping and payment experience can make or break your customer’s purchasing decision. A Wharton study shows that customers want to feel that store assistants are proactively helping to speed up the shopping process, especially if the check-out line is too long.

Just look at how customers rave about the customer experience at Love Bonito since they gave customers a queue number to continue shopping instead of queueing for the changing room.

And of course, Uniqlo’s multiple digital self-check-out machines have received much praise from shoppers.

But for a small business, what’s the best way to speed up the check-out process for a better customer experience?

You can digitalise your payment systems while keeping the human touch. Invest in a smart POS system that lets customers pay through a card or e-wallet. This will speed up transactions as they don’t have to fumble with cash and change.

You can also print a QR code on your receipt for an “aftersales” touchpoint. Customers will keep connected with your store if your QR code leads them to your social media page or a feedback form, especially if it leads to a social media page where you can keep them excited with new product updates or sales. Your marketing reach extends beyond the point-of-sale, making sure you stay in the mind of your customers.

So, is the smart POS solution the answer to an impactful retail experience?

Well, yes. Investing in one lets you keep operational tasks on a back-burner. It fully automates admin processes, freeing your time to generate new ideas for your business.

If you want:

  • A clean, smart interface for a clutter-free counter
  • Inventory management
  • Solution to offer and track customer rewards 

You’ll realise that a smart POS solution can improve your store experience by leaps and bounds.

Other digital solutions for businesses include QR code table ordering, table management (F&B), employee management, customer relationship management (loyalty programs), inventory management, data analytics, and cashless payments in an all-in-one device.

Qashier promises a seamless setup within 10 minutes without needing technical expertise. It boasts a user-friendly interface that is simple for anyone to learn and use. In addition, you’ll find 7-days-a-week responsive technical support from the local team if you require assistance.

Qashier is also affordable, with prices starting from as low as SGD1/day (in Singapore with a PSG grant), and this includes hardware, software, setup, training and 7-days-a-week local support.

Speak to us to see if Qashier’s Smart POS can meet your business needs. Find out how Qashier’s Smart POS can meet your business needs. Schedule a meeting with us here, call us at (+65) 3165 0155, WhatsApp (+65) 8882 8912, or email [email protected].



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