During our recent webinar with Planet Retail about The Connected Store, we got talking about hormones and shopping, and how it’s easy to get carried away by technology and neglect the need for great customer service. Especially in retail.
Yes, digital is transforming the way we shop, and how retailers engage customers. There’s no doubt about that. But, there’s a danger we’ll forgot what the technology is for: it’s there to help retailers deliver a better service. And service is, ultimately, a human thing. It’s a connection that happens between staff and customers. Between the brand and the consumer. Yes, it might be via digital means, but it’s got to be based on what makes people feel good. That’s trust and co-operation.
And shopping makes people feel good.
It’s the number one activity that cheers people up (in UK at least), and even half of men say they love the thrill of buying stuff in stores. A third of people say it’s an essential part of the social lives. Most important of all, 53% of people say a store beats online shopping by a mile.
What’s going on? We’re slaves to our hormones. When humans connect, they are rewarded by a hormone called Oxytocin. It’s been called ‘the cuddle-hormone’ or the ‘warm-and-fuzzy’ brain chemical. It gets released when people establish a trust. Consumers feel it when they’re served by a store assistant who knows what they’re talking about, can help them make a purchasing decision, and has all the right information at their fingertips. It’s the hormone that underpins brand loyalty.
And that’s where the technology comes in.
A truly connected store means that sales staff can do more for shoppers. If they can do more, and do it faster and more efficiently, then the Oxytocin flows naturally. A bond of trust in both the sales assistant and the brand is established, and it’s hard to break. That’s why retailers need to focus on enabling their operations to support their people to be more effective at the point of sale. But right now, retailers aren’t very connected. They’re too focused on products. Intelligent deployment of technology to aid sales staff means you can develop your brand over the long-term but act decisively to give customers what they want in the short-term. That means ensuring the omni-channel is seamless, and culminates in a great instore experience.