The demands of shoppers have never been greater. Traditionally, good customer service lay at the heart of a good in-store experience. However, a customised range, easy-to-navigate layout and contactless payment options are now seen as essential features for the average convenience store. Shoppers are seeking more inspiration and it is now more important than ever to get the in-store experience right, writes HIM’s Laura Solomon.

The task of crafting the ultimate in-store experience is not a simple one. However, HIM has identified five top factors that shoppers value the most. These are: ease of shop; staff friendliness and helpfulness; speed of service; clear signage; and cleanliness of store.

For the first time ever, ease of shop has been voted of priority importance by shoppers. Enhancing ease of shop can encourage upselling opportunities for a range of missions. For example, 88% of breakfast-to-go shoppers do not buy a hot drink to go, while more than half of lunch-to-go shoppers do not buy soft drinks. Retailers should direct personal messaging to shoppers and inspire with displays to interrupt and tempt. It is also key to maximise space by creating secondary locations that feature multiple categories such as a Big Night In location with alcohol, crisps and snacks and confectionery. Placing alcohol in secondary locations can also drive category penetration by 5%.

The blurring of retail, food to go and dining channels is now on the rise and offers optimum convenience. Exciting examples are emerging of retailers modifying the store environment to create theatre and make shoppers’ visits more memorable. Eat 17, a family-run Spar in Hackney, East London, features a florist, burger bar and refillable wine station, and even screens movies in store. Premier Whitstone Village Stores in Cornwall has recently incorporated a café and lounge bar to serve the local community.

With shoppers expecting more, retailers should enhance their store environment to inform, interrupt and inspire. Creating an experience that is unique to their neighbourhood should prevent shoppers going elsewhere.