Retail

7 Ways to Provide the Best Shopping Experience

Archery lessons, hands-on help and hosting fun events can help your store beat the online market.
Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Author: Jackie Holbrook

With a finger swipe and one fingertip tap while lounging on their couch, customers can buy whatever they want with their mobile phone and have it delivered to their doorstep.

E-commerce is booming so fast that by 2021 e-commerce sales are expected to hit $4.5 trillion worldwide. That sounds like a scary future for storefront retailers, but don’t panic. Although it seems everyone shops entirely online, e-commerce generates only 10 percent of retail sales in the United States. Customers still do most of their shopping at storefront locations.

Customers often order products online because it seems more convenient than shopping in person. However, online purchases can potentially become big hassles. Online customers can’t test products or try on clothing. And even two-day shipping requires longer wait times than visiting the store and buying products in person.

As a store owner, you have an edge over online-only businesses. Archery shops offer many services customers can’t get online, whether it’s testing new bows and equipment, taking archery lessons or getting bow tune-ups. Archery shops are essential to archers and bowhunters. Even though your customers need such services, you must explore other ways to boost your store’s performance and keep customers returning, even for items available online.

Here are some ways to give your customers the best retail experience possible:

Staff your shop with archery experts who can answer questions, be helpful and provide valuable insight into products and the archery and bowhunting industry. Photo Credit: ATA

Awesome Customer Service

Customer service is vital to business, and this is where storefronts must shine. Customers cannot get similar service online. A customer experience impact study revealed 53 percent of consumers willingly pay more for items and experiences they value most.

Great customer service takes a storewide effort. Staff your shop with helpful experts who can answer questions and provide insight into products, and the archery and bowhunting industry. Listen to your customers’ needs and find solutions. Great customer service includes little things. Answer the phone and return calls promptly. Don’t make customers wait at the register. Smile and greet customers when they walk in. For additional tips, review these seven tips for providing great customer service.

Hands-On Help

Providing hands-on help is a service that’s nearly impossible to find online. Archery requires equipment tailored to individuals, and that means work for service technicians. Make sure your bow technicians understand their important role in creating loyal customers. Even little jobs like refletching arrows or tying in peep sights are opportunities to showcase your commitment to customer care. Encourage customers to test equipment. Approach each customer interaction with a smile. Be helpful and show that you enjoy interacting with customers.

As the archery expert, streamline your product lines to reduce doubt and confusion for customers. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Provide a Curated Experience

Customers can find almost anything they want online, but that’s not always good for business. Studies show that too many options confuse customers and make them pass up purchases. As the archery expert, you must streamline your product lines to reduce customers’ doubt and confusion. Carefully selected options help you reduce overhead, improve vendor relationships and stock up on inventory.

Make sure your staff knows the reasons behind your product selections, including the manufacturers’ great customer service, reliability and value. If customers ask why you carry certain products over others, your staff must be able to explain the store’s decisions.

Be the Local Expert

Understand your region and use that knowledge to improve your customers’ archery experiences in and out of your shop. If you’re in a Western state, be prepared to offer recommendations on specific arrows and broadheads for bowhunting elk and pronghorns. If your shop is east of a line connecting the eastern borders of Montana and New Mexico, be ready to help customers pick treestands and ground blinds for bowhunting whitetails.

Answer questions openly and cordially. Some customers will be new to bowhunting, so answer all questions respectfully and helpfully. Don’t talk down to anyone. Friendly insider insights boost your credibility. When customers find success with your tips, they’ll remember your advice and endorse your expertise.

Events are an opportunity to provide your customers with some fun, while also bringing them into your shop when they might not otherwise. Photo Credit: ATA

Host Fun Events

Encourage customers to visit your shop even when they don’t need anything. Hosting events can attract new customers and entice existing customers to return. Invite local wildlife experts to discuss bowhunting seasons, and new rules and regulations. Host wildlife calling seminars. Bring in brand reps to demonstrate new gear. If you have a range, host a themed shoot. All events are opportunities to help customers have fun while visiting a shop they might otherwise overlook.

Help Customers Improve

How-to YouTube videos and instructional articles can help customers improve their archery form, but nothing can benefit them more than lessons. Certified instructors are valuable to your shop and your customers, but it’s hard to show that without lessons and other outreach.

Make Customers Feel Valued

Shared passions bring the bowhunting and archery industry together. Make customers feel like they belong. Your staff must show they care about the customers’ experiences. Make sure you ask about a hunt’s outcome, or compliment them when they shoot better on your range. Customers will seldom make lasting personal connections and relationships online.

Another customer experience impact study found that customers seek ways to feel valued and make their lives easier. When asked what they value most when shopping, customers cited loyalty programs, hassle-free returns, and no coupons needed to get sale prices. Review your store’s policies to see if they align with customers’ desires.

As e-commerce continues growing and changing retail sales, play to your storefront’s strengths. Customer experience is increasingly important. A few simple changes can yield big results for improving your store’s connection with customers, and those connections drive brand loyalty, which leads to increased sales and word-of-mouth marketing.

If you have questions or want to learn more, ATA’s Retail Growth Initiative can help you capitalize on your strengths and explore new ways to serve customers.

To learn how other shops stay competitive, join ATA Connect, an exclusive forum where retailers discuss industry issues in a secure setting.

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