The most traditional retail sales funnel categorizes the shopper journey into 5 stages: Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Evaluation, and Purchase. However, in today’s evolving retail landscape, a more modernized model of the funnel expands with increased touchpoints that a potential customer can have once the purchase idea first comes to mind.
While more finely tuned, this expanded model brings with it more critical moments in the shopper funnel. The added touchpoints can bring increased friction if not monitored closely, yet the opportunity to get even closer to your customers and wow them in every step of their journey with you is even greater. Therefore, following the voice of the customer must become a top priority.
What does a modern shopper funnel look like?
While a modern shopper funnel can be compressed into the traditional retail sales funnel, important moments of experience (or micro transactions) can be overlooked, which can degrade the overall shopper’s experience and even make them step out of the funnel altogether.
A more modern in-store shopper funnel can consist of many touchpoints after awareness and interest, such as:
- Visit – are you attracting them to your store?
- Search – are they staying to browse?
- Select – are they finding what they want?
- Interact – are they helped by friendly staff?
- Try – are they trying / testing the products?
- Decide – are they making their way to check-out?
- Buy – are they making the purchase?
- Repeat – are they coming back?
The experience during each of these interactions leaves an impression, where shoppers form an opinion of their overall experience with your brand, and if they will complete the process or become a repeat customer. The way to know if you are meeting their expectations and building loyal customer relationships is by learning how well you perform through customer feedback.
Why is customer feedback important throughout the process?
Customer feedback is critical for brick-and-mortar retailers throughout the shopper funnel because, not only at each touchpoint but also when combined into the bigger picture (the overall experience) you get the pulse of your customer satisfaction and business performance.
Do you know if you have friction in specific stages of the funnel? Can you identify what they are? And how are you able to verify if a change made has had the impact you intended?
Capturing genuine customer feedback at each point-of-experience along the funnel delivers data that paints the picture of how you are today and insight on how you can build a better tomorrow. If you don’t know, you can’t improve. It’s important to recognize that your customers are your greatest source of learning, and listening to them along the way will tell you what you need to do.
3 tips to improve your retail funnel with customer feedback data
Now that you know where to look and why feedback is important, let’s get into how to use the customer feedback to identify and target improvements to your retail store’s shopper funnel:
1. Assess your products
Once a customer decides to enter your store, they are either going into Search or Select mode. It is important to be learn how factors like product availability, selection, or location can impact their experience and decision making. To find out, ask questions like:
- Did you find what you were looking for today?
- How easy was it to find what you were looking for today?
- Please rate our product selection
If customer feedback is negative, it could be pointing to operational areas of concern such as pathing, sales/space share, inventory, or categorization issues. For example, is there a frequent dip in satisfaction on certain days or hours, and does that coincide with inventory scheduling? Assess the weekly or monthly trends in the CX data against your product-related operations to track down needed adjustments.
2. Engage frontline staff
In retail, frontline staff are the face of the business. Friendly, knowledgeable (and available!) staff goes a long way when it comes to the shopping experience. It is exceptionally important to have engaged and motivated employees as they have a direct impact on customer experience. To identify the level of service, ask questions like:
- How friendly were our staff?
- Did you get the help you needed today?
- How easy was it to find assistance today?
If customer feedback is negative, it can point to the need for additional staff training or workforce / shift management assessment. For example, are there certain hours in the day that customer satisfaction declines, and does that relate to shift changes or restocking shelves?
Engaged and motivated sales staff can also influence the purchase Decision by encouraging customers to Try the product, upsell, or suggest alternatives when items are not available. And of course, friendly, and knowledgeable staff also influence a customer’s decision to do Repeat business with you.
3. Monitor your check-out
Once a customer has an item in hand, you may think it’s a guaranteed transition to Buy, however, for some customers, long check-out lines or xx can make them abandon their purchase. Smooth, fast, and friendly check-out service is a critical factor in not only securing the purchase but also encouraging Repeat visits. To learn how efficient your check-out process is, ask questions like:
- How was your check out experience?
- Were you served quickly and friendly today?
- How easy was it to complete your purchase today?
If customer feedback is negative, Wait-time ΅ Efficiency ΅ Friendliness ΅ Athlete assist. For example, compare peaks in dissatisfaction during certain hours or days against footfall, staffing, and open registers. Also, use the CX data to pay special attention to seasonal shopping, as these are the most critical times for retailers to ensure that customers can get in, get what they need, and get out as quickly as possible.
Remember, the purpose of customer feedback isn’t just to collect it and forget it. You use it to stay on the pulse of customer satisfaction and learn how changes in it impacts your performance. The wonderful thing about having a continuous flow of customer feedback is the ability to test improvement ideas and validate them through the data. That way, you can focus efforts on what you know works, tweak it to perfection, apply it as best practice in other areas, and avoid using up resources on what doesn’t work!