Five vital factors that will improve sales and loyalty are within your control as retailers. It’s time to take a closer look at what customers see

Trading conditions are never easy, but with the latest economics figures, continued Brexit uncertainty, legislation changes and strong push from competition it is more important than ever to stay ahead of the game. One of the great ways to stay ahead of the curve for the convenience sector is to dedicate more focus towards creating a unique in-store experience for shoppers.

Through our extensive research in this subject we know with confidence that the happier shoppers are with their shopping experience, the more likely they are to visit the store more often, the more they will spend per trip and the more likely they are to recommend the store to their friends and family. Focusing on improving the shopping experience of your customers is a proven way to drive success for your business.

When you are thinking of improving the shopping experience of your customers, you need to think of more than one thing. Shopping experience is made up of five key elements, which are equally important. To start off, go back to the basics and check some of the hygiene factors within your store. How would you rate yourself on cleanliness? If there are things you think you can improve, do this first. Move on to reviewing how helpful and friendly your staff are as this is a major point for your shoppers and is a large decision-making factor.

After you have considered the basics move on to how clear the signage in store is and how easy it is to shop the store. Look at things from the shoppers’ eyes and explore how you could improve the layout and location of categories. Think about grouping different categories together to create an easy shopping experience for your customers.

Last, but not least, review the speed of service in store. Shoppers are living very busy lifestyles with long work commutes and they don’t want to spend too much time on the necessities like shopping. Focusing on the above five factors and improving on those will drive your shopper satisfaction up and will positively affect your business.

Another reason why it is important to focus on those factors right now is the rise of the modern shopper and their differing demands. We are observing a trend where shoppers are becoming harder to please, the boom in online shopping means there is a greater expectation on things being quicker and more convenient. This is influencing their expectations in other channels that they shop, including convenience. If you want to be best in class, think about the youngest generation, who are your future shoppers. They want slightly different things and delivered in a different way so focusing on them will put you head and shoulders above the competition.

Caring staff and short queues work

Mathanraj Mahalingam

“Availability is absolutely key to keeping customers happy, and so is good customer service. You have to study your demographic and understand your customers’ needs.

“A lot of people come to our stores because they want quick service. If there are three people in a queue then we ring the bell and another member of staff will come and serve. No one wants to be waiting in a long queue for three items.

“In one store we have a lot of elderly people. I always have two people on the shop floor to offer assistance and staff know to help them to the car with their bags.

“It definitely leads to better loyalty and increased footfall, because word spreads that they get good service here.”

Mathanraj (Mat) Mahalingam Five Daily Stop stores, Liverpool