Its probably a mixed bag…with some stores being better than the others..
Today we are not talking of the retail e commerce experience - but that of the brick & mortar stores where also some of us continue to go for our grocery & allied shopping - usually over the weekends…although sometimes on weekdays too.
So the objective in this short piece, is to share some of our personal & consulting customer experiences in the brick & mortal retail sector and seek inputs from the reader on their experiences and views too.
This weekend I went as on most weekends to one of India’s biggest brand stores, in the retail sector at Gurgaon - housed in one of the big shopping malls - on what is known as the malls MG Road @ Gurgaon.
l The store looked very different - the inner layout of the shelves and placement of goods was completely transformed & felt very confusing; and given the massiveness of the change seemed disorienting
l Everything seemed different !
l Fruits & vegetables were in a different part of the store; so were almost all grocery sub groups and brand placements ? too much change done too fast - leading to disorientation of the customer
l Even the placement of the trolley was changed so before we reached a trolly - a 100 meter walk was already done.
l Even the “may I help you” staff in their bright T shirts - seemed lost and disoriented and while they were trying to help - they themselves had to walk around to loacte the right shelves - when we asked them.
l When asked why so much change had happenned from lat week - they would smile & say it was a management decision.
Whew ! after much walking around and re-walking in the store’s alleys and between the shelves we managed to wrap up our shipping and did the customer - not so smooth check out(billing & exit) still wondering whay all that change was done ?
Incidently, for one of our retail clients in Mumbai - we had done a customer journey mapping (CJM) project to identify satisfaction & dissatisfaction levels in each stage of the customer journey with the brick & mortar ( and e commerce) retail chain. During that exercise we had found that the analysts in their head quarters used to be continuously doing data crunching & analytics to optimise the store layout & placement of goods - for growing revenues and optimising costs and brand partnership margins for themselves. During that CJM exercise we had found that while there were a number of oppertunity areas which the retail chain could benefit from the biggest pain area that customers spoke about & which got highlighted in the exercise was “ease of parking “ and not in the top need the ease of placement & access to goods inside the store, etc.
So while there are multiple opportunity areas for improving customer experience in the relatively traditional brick & mortar retail sector too - we highly recommend the Customer journey mapping(CJM) exercise to any company so they can optimise & improve customer experience(CX) and grow faster !
The retail sector benchmark index for US is around 78% currently (last reported by the ACSI in 2018) , behind some of the other sectors where customers are being served better. Chances are the same is true for India as well.
What are your thoughts about the retail sector customer experience ? love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or do write in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org