September marks the start of the new school year – and it’s not just pupils who can benefit from embarking on new endeavors. This is a great time of year for small businesses to take stock of their current customer service capabilities, and input any necessary changes ahead of the peak Christmas trading period.

To help you get started, iVend Retail has put together some suggestions based on our work with retailers in the small business community:

  1. Put the customer at the heart of all your decision making The biggest benefit of being an independent business is that you get to do things your way: your products, your branding, your style of service. However, the approach you choose should always be modelled around the customer you are targeting and what they want from their SME shopping experiences.Whether you’re looking at merchandising, layout, promotions or in-store technology, as a general rule of thumb, if it won’t matter to your customers then you shouldn’t be investing in it. Really spend time getting to know your shoppers and what makes a great bricks-and-mortar encounter; this will enable you to prioritize change.
  2. Empower your staff to give great service One of the reasons many people shop with SMEs is their passion and knowledge of the products and services being offered. However, the reality is that no one person can remember everything – nor should they be expected to.Putting technology into the hands of your front-line staff can give them the connectivity they need to provide richer, more informed one-to-one encounters. We’ve seen a real development in cloud retail technology over the past 12-24 months, which is making connected devices like mobile Point of Sale more affordable for smaller businesses.
  3. Capture customer information whenever you can
    With a smaller business, shoppers want to feel like they are well known and highly valued. Therefore the onus is on you to capture the data insights necessary to create a personal relationship.Mobile Point of Sale can support this goal, as store associates can access/store information about a customer’s purchasing history, and tailor their service around previous orders. It also creates the opportunity to offer ‘random acts of kindness’ to loyal shoppers, such as a limited edition discount or complimentary gift.Equally, giving staff tablet devices gives you the opportunity to capture new customer details, so that you can market new products and offers to them to encourage repeat business.
  4. Do something with your data One common mistake that retailers of all sizes make is collecting data that they then don’t use to create better customer experiences. For SMEs especially, shopper insights are an important resource for understanding when and how often consumers are shopping at your stores, and what they are buying, in order to make decisions that benefit your bottom line.Putting a proper reporting and analytics dashboard in place is essential to ensuring you are utilizing those findings to improve shopper encounters.

If you’re an SME looking to improve your customer encounters, iVend Retail is an expert in providing seamless omnichannel customer experience. Visit the iVend Retail online store to see how we can help you cost-effectively convert more sales and increase shopper loyalty.

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