It’s no secret that consumers have gotten pickier over the years. Even before the pandemic, the ever-increasing demand for better and faster service put a strain on retailers. Those who embraced e-commerce technologies had a leg up in this regard, as they could offer consumers unhindered convenience right at home. On the other hand, consumers still valued the brick-and-mortar experience, as it allowed them to try out products before making purchases online.
In the current pandemic, one may think that the fundamentals have changed. In a way, they have. There is no question that the future of retail is digital, but what about consumers and their expectations?
With a dwindling consumer base brought about by the pandemic’s economic hardships, every customer — and every single sale — counts. Customers will have all the leverage in post-pandemic retail, and their desire for instant gratification shows no signs of stopping.
How can you deliver instant gratification as a post-pandemic retailer? It all starts by understanding your customers and giving them precisely what they want. The simplest and most effective way is by just asking them directly.
How satisfied are you with the product selection?
Dead inventory is expensive. It’s therefore critical to only get the products your customers want. Perhaps customers find that a particular product is frequently out of stock when they need it the most. Or some brands are preferable to others. Maybe you’re doing a great job, and you should continue to provide the products you already do!
Asking this question through on-site customer surveys, one of our retail partners discovered the following: While products generally sold well, customers were not satisfied with the product selection. What could be the source of this contradiction? After an investigation, they discovered consumers felt they had no choice but to buy what was available as there was no other store nearby.
Did you find all that you were looking for?
If customers can’t easily find your products, they’ll go somewhere else. Whether it’s a UX issue on your website or your brick-and-mortar store has too many sections, asking this question is a powerful way to find pitfalls in your customer journey. Here’s an example: One of our retailers suspected that it was more important to have a particular product brand than the product itself. That is, either have the right brand or don’t offer the product at all. They used one of our ExpressPod terminals to ask this question in a multiple-choice format, offering options such as “No, the brand I like wasn’t in stock” and “No, I couldn’t find the product I was looking for.”
How easy was it to find what you needed?
In a similar vein to the previous question, one of our partners suspected that the way they arranged their products on shelves and aisles was confusing customers. Although the retailer placed related product categories near each other, they had no data on whether this worked. This question allowed management to learn from the locations that were scoring high on this question, implementing their strategies to the rest of the store network.
How friendly/helpful were we today?
You understand how crucial it is to respond to customer complaints quickly. You also understand the power of avoiding them in the first place. By asking this question in a survey or using a smiley terminal, you can get an overall sense of how your locations are performing regarding customer satisfaction.
This question helped one of our partners understand spikes in negative customer responses at specific hours of the workday. Cross-referencing their data with the data captured through this question, they discovered that the negative spikes always occurred during a shift change. Upon further investigation, the drop in staff availability caused longer waiting times at checkout, which led to more frustrated customers. A quick change to the shift schedules solved the problem.
You can read more about this case here.
Please rate the speed of your checkout today.
Some locations perform better than others. There are many reasons this could be, but capturing real-time feedback from customers through well-crafted questions helps clarify things.
For one of our supermarket partners, ensuring a quick checkout made or broke their customer experience. Asking shoppers this question as they left the supermarket gave the chain a birds-eye view of which locations were underperforming — allowing management to focus only on those with significant delays.
Want to see more questions across different industries? Check our top 30 industry-specific survey questions for maximum feedback.