Retailers in 2022 face unprecedented challenges and opportunities. Increased competition from DTC brands has driven up customer acquisition costs. Consumers with more choices and higher expectations are quicker to move to the other brands. This has forced retailers to think differently about how they can make every shopper’s experience personalized and provide a seamless transition between their digital and physical experiences.
Welcome to the appointment economy. The future of customer experiences, especially for retailers with a digital and physical presence, will be scheduled, optimized, and personalized. Leading retailers are finding creative ways to leverage appointments to increase the metrics that matter most – conversion rates, average order value, customer lifetime value, and loyalty.
Below are 5 ways leading retailers are leveraging appointment scheduling to increase sales and build customer loyalty.
1. Shopping by Appointment
As retailers diversify their in-store experiences and invest more in value-added services to drive in-store traffic, they need a reliable tool to ensure all logistics go off without a hitch. Online appointment scheduling gives shoppers a seamless experience, as they can make their appointments digitally and then venture to the store to participate in an event, service or one-to-one appointment.
When shoppers decide to book an appointment, they have full control over where, when and how that booking is fulfilled. They enter their information and their preferred store location, as well as the day and time they want an appointment.
- The brand can serve more relevant pre- and post-appointment messages and marketing campaigns that truly capture consumer attention
- The store can better schedule employees based on appointment schedules and upcoming classes
- The employee will be better prepared to ensure each engagement runs smoothly and that it’s personalized to the needs of that specific customer
Wedding dress shopping is an extremely emotional, and at times, frustrating process. Many brides wait their entire life for the moment when they find their dream gown. So, for David’s Bridal, providing a stellar experience from beginning to end is critical. David’s Bridal offers an appointment scheduling tool on its web site to help eliminate some of the frustration that comes with the process. The bride or member of the bridal party can set a day and time to visit a store. They can even opt-in to receive a text message reminder prior to the appointment.
Since offering this capability, David’s Bridal has found that 93% of customers with in-store appointments make a purchase, and those who book appointments have a 50% higher conversion rate.
2. Personalized Service for Consultative Sales
A recent Accenture report found that 90% of all B2C customers start their research online before making a purchase. While online is a great place to start, some purchases require the human expertise that your in-store associates can provide to convert them into loyal buyers. With online appointment scheduling, your consumers can start their research online, and easily find a time and location that is convenient for them to work with your experts. From furniture, to make up, to home improvements, to highly customizable products, online appointment scheduling provides both the convenience and expertise your buyers need. It also ensures your associates are prepared to deliver the insights and expertise that increases in-store conversion rates, drives higher average order values, and delivers an expertise that increases brand loyalty.
THE CONTAINER STORE
The Container Store offers thousands of products that enable customers to personalize and organize a specific space — whether it be a mudroom, a college dorm room, laundry room or closet. To help ease the shopping experience, online visitors can set a time to meet with a space designer that can help them find the right options for their needs. With hundreds or even thousands of options to choose from, the space designer is able to provide the consultative experience that drives brand loyalty and provides a great shopping experience.
3. Promotion of Value-Added Services
As retailers look to add revenue streams by introducing services beyond their typical products, driving in-store traffic for these services can be a challenge. With online appointment scheduling, you can promote these services throughout their digital shopping experience while ensuring they have instant access to schedule a time and location that works for them.
UPS Stores have expanded beyond their menu of traditional shipping offerings to include a complete suite of personal and business services, including paper shredding, printing consultations and even notary services. The company uses its website to drive awareness of these services and enable customers to seamlessly schedule an appointment with an expert at their preferred location. This gives customers the power to select a day and time that work best for them and indicate which services they’d like to discuss. Customers feel confident that their questions will be answered, and employees have the insight they need to better prepare for these critical sales discussions.
4. Buy Online, Learn In-Store (BOLIS)
BOPIS is becoming table stakes for retailers across categories. However, retailers successfully differentiating in the marketplace are embracing buy online, learn in-store (BOLIS).
Rather than focus solely on the speed and convenience of BOPIS, progressive retailers are empowering associates with information and tools that allow them to further educate and engage shoppers who decide to venture to a store. These conversations help enrich the fulfillment process and ultimately help customers get the most value from their purchase.
Best Buy is a leader in the BOLIS revolution. The Geek Squad was established 15 years ago and since then, the retailer has made additional services, installation and classes core to its in-store experience. Offering customers deep, personal connections with employees has helped Best Buy:
• Upsell lower-margin, online purchases to in-store, high-margin products
• Drive repeat visits
• Instill shopper confidence in their purchase decisions
5. Buy Online, Pick Up in Store (BOPIS)
Thanks to Amazon and the “Prime Phenomenon,” shoppers’ expectations of the delivery and fulfillment experience have never been greater. When they complete an online purchase, they want gratification (and their goods) as quickly as possible — they don’t care if it must come by truck, car or airplane. That’s why “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS) has become the backbone of a stellar omnichannel strategy.
With BOPIS, customers can get their products faster, easier and without shipping fees. Meanwhile, retailers can benefit from eliminating excess store inventory and maximize the value of new in-store traffic. When customers visit a location to pick up their online orders, there is a greater chance they’ll walk around and browse the aisles. As a result, they will have a seamless and satisfactory fulfillment experience, and they also will likely purchase another item after they get a chance to shop around.
Join These Innovators and Book Your Own Appointment with Engageware
What do each of these retail experience visionaries have in common? Intelligent Appointment Scheduling and Queue Management solutions from Engageware. With the power of Engageware’s 20 years of experience and innovation behind them, these brands are successfully driving local store traffic, building high-value relationships between associates and customers, and reaching their engagement and revenue goals.