Focus 03: The New Purpose: Service

In our final week of daily bite sized snippets, we explore THE NEW PURPOSE.

Today’s topic is: SERVICE

Every brand and retailer needs something different from physical retail. What they need and the extent to which they need it will depend on the brand, the sector and the size of store portfolio. But one thing that all brands and retailers have in common is that changes are required to meet a new purpose.

Consumers will always want the level of service that can only be achieved in physical retail and the reassurance and feel good aspect that it provides. Brands and retailers also need physical retail to connect with their consumers at a human level, project their brand personality, inspire trust through their people and provide one-to-one services such as advice, consultations, demonstrations, alterations or treatments.

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Service means different things to different brands and retailers depending on their unique offer, but what remains consistent is that consumers won’t accept anything other than good service. Although it’s important to consistently deliver good service across all channels, service in store has taken on a new dimension following the pandemic.

  • Following the loneliness of lockdown, ironically human interaction is what many consumers crave and fear at the same time – in the short term at least, essential to providing good service is ensuring that both staff and consumers feel safe.
  • Initially it is anticipated that there will be less footfall in store, but conversion and basket size will increase as consumers shop with purpose. This may trigger the role of the store to change to meet evolving consumer needs.
  • In some cases store staff will have more time to spend with shoppers and provide a higher level of personal service, potentially making a ‘service by appointment’ model more viable.
  • Extended services may also become more important as consumers expectations from physical retail increase. Although not a new concept, how extended services are delivered in store will need to be reassessed.
  • Intrinsically linking physical with online services will also rise in importance as consumers expect consistent levels of service across all channels.

Consumers will return to stores to experience the level of service and reassurance that only humans can provide.

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Every brand and retailer will face different challenges based on the sector, their product offer and physical space, but there are a number of things that brands and retailers can do now to ensure service in store is market-leading and builds trust and loyalty amongst consumers.

  • Create an evolved strategy for delivering service in store, considering what is needed now and how this is likely to change in the medium to longer term.
  • Explore improved methods of service linked to fulfilment, such as live inventory to prevent consumers leaving store disappointed and empty-handed.
  • Review added value services that can be implemented to provide more reasons to come to store and create a fulfilling experience such as the below:
    Information
    – Assisted product testing and demonstrations
    – Workshops for consumers to learn about associated topics
    – Knowledge sharing amongst staff and consumers
    Fulfilment
    – Evolved click & collect and reserve in store processes with additional features such as drive-through, kerbside service and contactless collection
    – Personal shopping by appointment
    – Consistent sale and return policies across all channels
    Services
    – Alterations, adaptions and personalisation
    – Repairs and recycling
    – Sharing and rental opportunities
  • As the face of your brand and the people on the ground engaging with your consumers, ensure store teams fully understand and are committed and able to deliver your service strategy.

We can help you to develop an evolved strategy for services in store, and through creative and commercial thinking design and implement changes to become an integral part of your store concept.

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As brands and retailers open their doors again and consumers return to stores, what can you do now to identify and implement both the subtle and more far-reaching changes that are needed to fulfil the new purpose of your physical retail.

Get in touch if you would like to arrange a virtual workshop with our founding Directors Adrian & Jenny to see how can help you work through your opportunities, or download the full document HERE

Lucy

Lucy Moore

14th July 2020