What’s driving customers away from your store?

What’s driving customers away

In the words of legendary management guru Peter Drucker: “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer”.

It’s sage advice, but as the swathe of recent retail closures indicates, easier said than done.

More importantly, few retailers have a real idea about what’s driving customers away from their store. Is it online shopping, is it a slump in consumer confidence, or does the store’s cool factor fail to hit its intended mark?

Perhaps a bit of all of the above, but more likely it’s the customer experience. And that’s something that can readily be changed.

Here are four factors driving customers away from your store and how you can turn it around.

Pushy sales staff

What’s driving customers away from your store

Attentive customer service is one thing, overly pushy sales associates another. In 2018, the Usabilla survey ‘Retail Nightmares’ found one in 10 customers most often left a store due to pushy and aggressive sales staff, while almost half (49 per cent) had lied to sales staff to get out of a conversation in store.

For millennial customers, the aversion to aggressive sales tactics was even higher. Just under two-thirds admitted they had lied to a sales associate in-store just so they could hightail it out of there.

Customer experience tip

Staff should make themselves available to assist customers but recognise when it’s time to back off. Many shoppers like to browse unimpeded, but welcome assistance when they ask for it.

Can’t find what they’re looking for

What’s driving customers away

We’ve all been there…searching for an item that should be in stock according to a retailer’s website but isn’t once we arrive in store.

Chances are that scenario comes down to one of two factors: the retailer has failed to accurately account for their stock, or the item in question was stolen.

According to a report last year by global payments provider Adyen, 83 per cent of shoppers had chosen to leave a store and not make a purchase in the six months prior due to an item they wanted being out of stock.

They further estimated that statistic equated to $14 billion in lost retail opportunity in Australia.

Customer experience tip

If out of stocks are a regular occurrence, look long at hard at your loss prevention and inventory counting, then consider upgrading to RFID or better shoplifting prevention.

Too long in the queue

What’s driving customers away

It’s a well-known fact that today’s consumer is time-poor which means they simply don’t have the luxury of waiting in a queue.

Lightspeed recently found the maximum time people are prepared to spend waiting is 6 minutes 46 seconds, while Retail Week noted 89 per cent of shoppers have left a store due to a long queue, and 65 per cent of those said they immediately went to a rival outlet afterwards.

Customer experience tip

Arm your staff with mobile Point of Sale. mPOS allows sales transactions to occur on the floor and is affordable to scale up when needed.

Inadequate website

What’s driving customers away

Long before consumers even set foot in a store, they’re researching products online, and if they can’t find what they’re looking for or can’t purchase it easily, they’re hotfooting it to a competitor.

In 2018, a study by Search Engine Land  found 73 per cent of potential customers conducted an online search long before they physically went shopping with the aim of comparing products, seeking availability and generally sourcing information about what they intend to buy.

Meanwhile, Usabilla reported 61 per cent of shoppers will leave an online store if they don’t like the website’s design, navigation or structure.

They further noted inadequate product content poses a problem when browsing for approximately one in five consumers, and 18 per cent of consumers report that a difficult to-use website or app would be the factor most likely to prevent them from ever returning to an online store.

Their main gripes? Websites which are hard to navigate and fail to highlight product information like sizing specifications, colour, etc.

Customer experience tip

Design your website with the customer journey in mind, ensuring it reflects the experience you want your consumers to enjoy. Online retail is a vital element of the physical retail process so give the shopper the information they need to patronise your store.

You can learn more about improved customer experience here.