Despite online shopping’s ascendence, especially during the pandemic, in-store shopping remains consumers’ preferred venue for buying groceries and other goods. And it’s not even close. Given shoppers’ overwhelming preference for shopping onsite, it’s up to brick-and-mortar retailers to optimize the in-store shopping experience. If potential customers enjoy shopping at your brick-and-mortar store, they are going to keep coming back. It’s that simple.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways retailers can upgrade their in-store experience and bolster customer loyalty:

Buy online, Pick up in-store (BOPIS). BOPIS surged amid the pandemic. As we’ve mentioned before, our shopping behavior doesn’t so much exist as a binary between in-store and online shopping, but as a hybrid between the two. BOPIS marries the best of both worlds by allowing customers the convenience of browsing online and the immediate gratification of receiving the item in-store, on their own schedule. Plus, they save money on delivery fees. BOPIS is a great tool for retailers looking to increase shoppers’ basket size at checkout. According to Insider, 85% of shoppers purchase at least one additional item when picking up their online purchase.

Mobile self-checkout. Nothing deters a shopper quite like looking into a store and seeing endless checkout lines. That was especially true during the past year when customers needed to get in and out of stores quickly to keep contact with other people to a minimum. Mobile self-checkout allows shoppers to bypass lines entirely by enabling customers to scan the item on the retailer’s app, drop it in their bags, and be on their way. Shoppers have high expectations for their in-store experience, and brick-and-mortar retailers who can help shoppers avoid waiting in lines will have a substantial edge over their competitors.

Invest in your employees. As much as shoppers love browsing on apps and shopping online, engaging with another human being is still a key factor in distinguishing an exceptional in-store experience from a good one, and a good customer experience from a bad one. In fact, 59% of customers stop shopping at businesses after one bad interaction with an employee. Plus, sometimes a customer needs an immediate answer, recommendation, or opinion, and that’s something an app just can’t provide.

Giving your employees the tools they need to offer superior in-store service is key to building brand loyalty among your shoppers. Are your employees educated about the products so they can effectively advise your customers? Are you giving them the most current information on inventory, price changes, and sale items? Are you empowering them to order products for customers upon request? Are you adequately staffing each shift so that each employee can give customers adequate attention, especially during busy times? Ensuring your customers engage with friendly, knowledgeable, and approachable staff during each and every visit will pay dividends in repeat business.

Enable your app to communicate with customers while in-store. Consumers are seeking more personalized shopping experiences. That’s why it’s important that your mobile app is equipped with advanced data and AI capabilities offering relevant deals, sales, and other offers to each customer at the most opportune time. The hybrid online/in-store shopping experience should ideally be a closed loop where your app can communicate with the shopper at every touchpoint in their shopping journey. Part of that loop might include sending customers alerts on sales and deals on items relevant to their shopping behaviors. Personalized alerts tailored to each shopper’s data are received as helpful reminders along the shopping journey, preventing the customer from walking out the front door before realizing they forgot to pick up their favorite brand of seltzer or tortilla chip. Plus, well-targeted alerts go a long way in increasing basket size at checkout.

The in-store experience remains critical to retailers, and whether you’re looking to equip your mobile app with an easy checkout experience, seamless BOPIS capabilities, or a relevant targeted ad experience, Swiftly can build a solution designed to make your customers’ experiences seamless and enjoyable—both inside the store and online. By partnering with Juniper Networks, Swiftly is integrating Juniper’s Mist AI capabilities to empower retailers to deliver only the most sophisticated, personalized ad experience to their customers.

Curious to learn more about how Swiftly improves the customer experience at every step of the shopping journey? Get in touch today.