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Customer Experience

3 ways to help improve your customers’ shopping experience from in-store to online

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

After years of shopping mostly online, more customers are returning to brick-and-mortar stores – and those numbers only increase during peak trading periods. Want to make sure you’re engaging with customers both in-store and online? Here, we share three ways to connect your brick-and-mortar store and online shop to help your business deliver superior customer experiences. Plus, learn from a small business whose techniques may help you to improve your peak trading season business strategy.

Happy small business owner inputs order into point-of-sale system.

Your customers may want to shop with you both in-store and online. So, it’s important that your brick-and-mortar and digital shopfronts work well together. Bridging any gaps between the two will help your customers enjoy the same experience of your business, no matter how they get in touch. With the right business strategy, you can also encourage customers to shop with you across multiple platforms both in person and online.

Recently, The Adyen Australia 2022 Retail Report found that 67% of customers surveyed valued physical shops, even when they shop with those same brands via web stores in eCommerce environments.

So, to help you cater to your customers’ desires, here are three simple ways you can improve the customer experiences you deliver in person and online.

Simplify your online checkout process

A clear and user-friendly checkout is key to building a positive online shopping experience. In fact, Stripe’s The State of Checkouts in Australia 2021 report found that 35% of customers surveyed would abandon their carts if it took more than two minutes to complete their purchase. Nowadays, customers expect a simple checkout process as well as diverse payment and shipping options.

Tips for improving your online checkout

  • Integrate payment methods that your customers are familiar with, like PayPal, and buy now, pay later options, such as Afterpay. Offering trusted payment solutions such as these will show customers that you’re committed to helping protect their security and privacy.

  • Keep your checkout design simple and limit the amount of information you ask for. The more complicated the path to purchase looks and feels, the trickier it is for your customers to buy their items online. 

  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, for customers who want to shop on-the-go.

How small business Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. built strong online and in-store sales strategies

Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. is a family owned and operated brewery in Jindong, Western Australia. Their passion for creating delicious, eco-friendly beers led them to be named a State Winner at the 2022 Telstra Best of Business Awards in the Promoting Sustainability category. 

Managing director Hamish Coates says the key to a smooth checkout experience is to remove any barriers to purchase. “We want it to be as simple and streamlined as possible. That means less click-throughs, less information required to be entered, and a more robust and rounded experience,” Hamish says. “Everyone has a different way they like to pay, so for us it’s about creating the most flexible environment possible.”

Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. ensure their online checkout reflects the same process as their taphouse, so online and in-store customers get a similar experience. To further connect with their customers, the team offers a ‘pick-up’ option in both environments. Customers who purchase online can visit the taphouse and have their orders delivered to their car, while customers dining in can have their 6-pack delivered to their table.

Answer frequently asked questions (FAQ) on your website

Adding a robust FAQ section to your website is a great way to answer your customers’ questions, in the same way a sales representative may do so in store. FAQ pages can save you time and energy during peak trading periods as you’ll need to answer fewer enquiries manually.

Some details worth mentioning in your FAQ section might include: 

  • How to locate your physical store 
  • Your opening hours 
  • The shipping methods you offer
  • The payment types you accept 
  • Your returns policy 
  • How to contact your business if questions haven’t been answered.

For any other customer queries, it’s worth training your staff to help your business reply to questions quickly. This shows your business is ready and willing to help its customers, without increasing your workload too much during busy periods.

Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. take their taphouse FAQ page a step further by including an online booking system and a 3D tool that lets customers do a virtual walkthrough before they visit. These clever additions entice online shoppers to visit their location and gives in-person patrons a new perspective of the venue.

“It’s about trying to ensure consistency across everything we do, so that once our customers get the answers they need, they don’t have to ask again,” Hamish says.

"It's about making sure that the online store offers convenience, and the taphouse brings a level of knowledge and expertise. So they go side-by-side but they don't take away from each other. It's about trying to create as many similar touchpoints as possible."

Hamish Coates, managing directer of Rocky Ridge Brewing Co.

Capture and store customer data with cyber security in mind

With the influx of shoppers during peak trading periods, collecting and storing customer data is more important than ever. Having insight on who your customers are and what they want can help you map and tailor their experience – from notifying them about upcoming sales to rewarding them for their loyalty. Many customers may be comfortable with businesses using their data – as long as they’re given the option to opt-in or out.

It's also important to implement strategies that help you to protect the details you collect. Cyber security is front of mind for many customers, so it’s crucial that you have a secure system in place to store any customer data.

Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. are particularly mindful about how they use data for both their customers and wholesale accounts. “We want to make sure that we handle any data with the most care possible,” Hamish says. “All of our data is currently held in one master, third-party platform, which is our inventory and CRM system. We obviously make sure that we only use it as our customers have allowed us. So if they’ve opted in to our mailing system, we’ll use their email address and first name. And that’s the only data we’ll use.”

Connecting your physical and online stores doesn’t need to drain your time, money or energy. All it takes is a few simple, calculated steps to improve both your processes and your customers’ experience.

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