The idea of the customer experience is an ever-evolving creature. It flows in a direction that is constantly changing, and if we aren’t aware of where that is heading, we can rest assured we’ll be left behind.
In the not-so-distant past lies a time when retailers were the ones who held the control (for the most part) in the buying process. Retailers could regulate the content available to consumers by deciding what advertisements were going out, what merchandise would be available and at what prices. Word of mouth found the best places to shop and a simple handshake could seal the deal.
With the availability of technology increasing, the amount of information now accessible to the consumer has skyrocketed at an astronomical rate—and as we all know, knowledge is power.
The reins of available content regulation have been taken by consumers in the form of search-savvy shoppers who no longer rely on printed media for their information fix. They look to their PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones to find the best deals and for stores that best suit their changing (based on what Pins they saw this week) stylistic wants and needs. The framework that they use in their shopping experience is now multi-channel. Store websites, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), online reviews and the traditional brick and mortar store are what fuel today’s consumers in their journey to purchase.
Pedigo Furniture has been around since 1953 and has built itself on a commitment to great quality at a fair price and service. Our customers who have traded with us for 60 years know that we stand by our knowledgeable sales staff to be courteous, kind and helpful in finding just what the customer needs or wants. Our service department goes the extra mile after the purchase is made to make sure the customer is satisfied with how their merchandise is performing—often at no cost to the customer.
The past few years have been interesting for our store to say the least! With the inundation of web shopping and social media, we’ve had to tailor our traditional customer experience to incorporate the demand of the digital age. As a member of social media (SM) since 2010, we want to make sure our customers can connect with us even when our physical doors are closed for business. Our customers are going to use SM for their personal use, de facto. In response, we use it as a way to engage our customers who can’t make it to our physical store, those who want to know about current promotions or those who just want to vent and be heard! With accessibility to SM virtually unlimited, the ability to connect to our customers on a personal, digital level has expanded from an 8 to 6, six days a week window, to a 24/7 opportunity. Now, some geographical areas may use one SM platform more than others. For instance, Facebook and YouTube are our primary SM outlets as opposed to Google+ and LinkedIn. Though we have content on Twitter and Pinterest, those are not our primary sources of connection to our consumers. Each demographic will be different of course.
At the end of this past year we implemented eCommerce into our customer experience. No longer do our customers have to come into our store to make their purchase. Although we encourage consumers to visit our brick and mortar store, we want them to be able to buy however they choose—even if that means at home in their skivvies!! A recent study by FurnitureDealer.net/e-Intent found that 81 percent of consumers say they will not shop on a furniture website that does not include pricing information. We want to make sure we offer an outlet to those people who want their customer experience to look like this instead of a traditional physical store purchase. Now, our doors are never closed to our customers.
As retailers, we are responsible to be ready in those avenues our consumers are looking for us. The buying experience we offer will often be what our customers remember us by—be that great or awful! From start to finish, we must make sure we’re there for our customers from before the time they set foot in the store until after they have their new merchandise at home. It’s up to us as retailers to find where the experience our store offers fits into the customer’s personal life story of buying.