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Customer Expectations: How Retailers Can Meet Them

Retail is evolving, possibly faster than at any other time in history. Here's how small businesses can keep up with customer expectations.
Retail is evolving, possibly faster than at any other time in history. Here’s how small businesses can keep up with customer expectations.

In today’s evolving retail landscape, meeting customer expectations is crucial for businesses to thrive. Customers now have higher expectations than ever before, and companies must be willing to go the extra mile to meet these expectations and provide exceptional customer experiences. In this article, we will explore the strategies and best practices that retailers can adopt to meet and exceed customer expectations, ensuring their long-term success in a competitive market.

Retail is evolving, possibly faster than at any other time in history. Here’s how small businesses can keep up with customer expectations.

“Retail as the Third Space” is the key trend affecting small businesses. Today, retail is all about knowing and fulfilling customer expectations. This has been going on for a long time, but it’s really starting to take hold now.

Brick-and-mortar retail will more and more be a “third” space. In addition, it will be one that is only partly about transactions. As eCommerce and mCommerce become more common, retail space is evolving and adapting to the challenges.

This means, among other things, customer service, the customer experience, and creating a distinctive, engaging environment.

5 Things Customers Want in a Retail Store

1. Personalized service is expected.

Customers demand face-to-face service that isn’t available online. This is critical for your store to stand out from the one-dimensional internet purchasing experience.

According to recent research, customized treatment from a sales associate is a major factor in the retail business. In fact, it is a significant component in deciding where to purchase for at least 75 percent of consumers. Customers are more than happy to give personal information if it will help you provide better service.

What to do about this customer expectation:

Compile client information and use it to tailor offerings and interactions. However, keep in mind that your workers put the “person” in “personalization” in a brick-and-mortar store.

Therefore, make sure your salespeople are well-versed in customer service. In addition, see to it that they have the authority to provide a great customer experience. Personality is vital. You can teach someone how to use a cash register. However, you can’t teach them how to deal with people.

2. Customer expectations include online and offline access.

Customers are looking for a similar experience across all channels. Even the big retailers are catching up where this is concerned. Customers want to have easy transitions from your internet store to shopping retail.

For example, according to recent research, 56 percent of consumers want to have a shared shopping cart that crosses all channels. They would like to be able to put something in the basket on their desktop and have it appear on their phone. However, only 7% of retailers provide this feature.

In addition, shoppers want to be able to order items online and pick them up in-store. Further, they would like to be able to order items online and return them to a local retail location. Only 29% of shops, on the other hand, offer customers the option of buying online and picking up something in their retail store.

What to do about these expectations:

If your company has both an eCommerce and a brick-and-mortar presence, make sure the two experiences are connected such that one complements the other.

Look at shopping cart software that allows users to share their carts across several channels. Additionally, examine your store and website in detail. Ask yourself if your brand is consistent both online and offline.

Furthermore, try visiting your website as if you were a consumer. Pay attention to how easy it is to browse and buy. Ask yourself if your eCommerce experience on a phone and a laptop are the same. Finally, consider incorporating click-and-collect into your store.

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3. Retailers and shoppers take full advantage of mobile technology.

In your retail store, how are you using mobile technology? It’s used for a variety of purposes by your consumers.

According to a recent poll, 63 percent of shoppers use their mobile phones at stores to compare prices, check inventory, look for deals or coupons, and more. Therefore, consumers expect to receive mobile discounts and coupons on their phones.

Furthermore, 67 percent say that promotions like these have a big impact on where they purchase. Additionally, 40% believe they are more likely to shop at a location with a mobile point of sale.

What to do about these customer expectations:

Use mobile technology to empower salespeople so they can stay up with their consumers.

Within the next three years, according to studies, three-quarters of shops expect to have devices in the hands of their employees. Only 16 percent have them in-store now and believe they are effective. In addition, 20 percent have them but believe they could be better.

With a mobile POS, your salespeople can complete sales floor transactions the moment a customer decides to buy. This will decrease line waiting and provide salespeople more time on the sales floor to interact with customers. According to recent research, the latest POS trend is that 22% of merchants allow customers to check out using their mobile phones.


4. Customers expect loyalty rewards.

It’s great to be able to recognize loyal customers during checkout. However, what if you and your staff could recognize loyal customers as soon as they enter the store?

Almost two-thirds of the consumers polled say they don’t mind if shops recognize them as they enter the store. This is true as long as they get something good in exchange.

What to do about this expectation:

Look for loyalty rewards schemes that allow you to track customers in-store using their smartphones.

You’ll need to give incentives to persuade clients to sign up and reveal their personal information and location. However, invitations to special events, early access to new products, and personalized promotions are all popular and effective loyalty bonuses.

5. In-store financing is expected.

Credit cards are typically unavailable to cash-strapped and debt-averse people. Without credit, paying for expensive retail goods might be difficult.

Therefore, to address the problem, an increasing number of retailers are providing financing. This allows consumers to divides payments into smaller pieces. It’s identical to traditional layaway. The difference is that clients get their products immediately.

Retailers benefit from this as well. According to one survey, 36% of respondents think that financing allows them to purchase more expensive items than they might otherwise.

What to do about this expectation:

Financing isn’t simply for big-ticket items.

Because it’s something they are demanding, even clothing companies have begun catering to younger customers and are starting to provide it.

If you want to target this market, learn more about how to offer installment payment choices. In addition, you can check out other companies that provide in-store financing and how it works for them.


Meeting Customer Expectations: The Key to Retail Success

‍Photo by geralt on Pixabay


1. Understanding Customer Needs and Preferences

To effectively meet customer expectations, retailers must first gain a deep understanding of their target audience. It’s not enough to rely on basic demographic information; retailers need to dig deeper and uncover the needs, interests, and motivations of their customers. Market research plays a vital role in this process, allowing retailers to gather insights and feedback directly from their customers.

By conducting surveys, interviews, and analyzing customer data, retailers can identify key patterns and preferences among their customer base. This knowledge enables businesses to tailor their products, services, and overall customer experience to align with customer expectations.

retailer 3

2. Personalization: The Power of Tailored Experiences

One of the most effective ways to meet customer expectations is through personalized experiences. Customers expect brands to understand their unique needs and provide tailored solutions. By leveraging customer data and technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), retailers can deliver highly personalized recommendations, offers, and interactions.

For example, retailers can utilize customer purchase history and browsing behavior to curate personalized product recommendations. They can also implement targeted email marketing campaigns and loyalty programs to engage customers on an individual level. The more retailers can personalize the customer experience, the better they can meet and exceed customer expectations.

3. Seamless Omnichannel Experience

In today’s digital age, customers expect a seamless omnichannel experience. The boundaries between online and offline shopping have blurred, and customers want to have consistent interactions across various touchpoints. Retailers must ensure a smooth and integrated experience throughout the customer journey, regardless of the channel or device used.

This means offering features like click-and-collect, allowing customers to purchase online and pick up in-store. It also involves providing real-time inventory information, enabling customers to check product availability at their preferred location. By creating a seamless omnichannel experience, retailers can meet customer expectations for convenience, flexibility, and consistency.

4. Transparency and Ethical Practices

Customers today value transparency and expect businesses to be socially responsible. Retailers should be open and honest about their policies, pricing structures, and sourcing practices. By providing transparency, retailers build trust with their customers and demonstrate their commitment to ethical business practices.

For example, retailers can share information about their supply chain, highlighting fair trade partnerships or sustainable manufacturing processes. They can also provide clear pricing breakdowns, ensuring customers understand the value they receive. Transparent practices not only meet customer expectations but also contribute to brand loyalty and advocacy.

5. Proactive Customer Support

Meeting customer expectations goes beyond the initial purchase. Customers expect proactive and responsive customer support throughout their journey. Retailers should invest in robust customer support systems, including multiple channels such as phone, email, live chat, and social media.

Furthermore, retailers can leverage AI-powered chatbots to provide instant and accurate responses to customer queries. These chatbots can handle basic inquiries, freeing up human support agents to focus on more complex issues. By providing proactive and efficient customer support, retailers can meet customer expectations for timely assistance and problem resolution.

6. Continuous Improvement and Innovation

To stay ahead in the retail industry, businesses must continuously improve and innovate. Customer expectations are constantly evolving, and retailers need to adapt to meet these changing needs. By embracing new technologies, exploring emerging trends, and staying updated on industry developments, retailers can ensure they are at the forefront of customer expectations.

For instance, retailers can leverage data analytics to gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. This data-driven approach allows retailers to identify areas for improvement and make data-backed decisions to enhance the customer experience. By constantly innovating and improving, retailers can exceed customer expectations and maintain a competitive edge.

7. Feedback Collection and Actionable Insights

Collecting customer feedback is essential for meeting and exceeding expectations. Retailers should actively seek feedback from their customers through surveys, reviews, and social media engagement. This feedback provides valuable insights into customer satisfaction, identifies areas for improvement, and highlights successful strategies.

By analyzing customer feedback, retailers can identify recurring issues or trends and take actionable steps to address them. This customer-centric approach demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement and shows customers that their opinions are valued. Additionally, retailers should regularly communicate with their customers, updating them on improvements made based on their feedback.

retailer 4

8. Competitive Analysis and Differentiation

To meet customer expectations effectively, it’s crucial for retailers to keep a close eye on their competitors. By conducting thorough competitive analysis, retailers can gain insights into what their competitors are doing well and identify areas where they can differentiate themselves.

For example, retailers can analyze competitors’ pricing strategies, product offerings, and customer engagement tactics. This information can help retailers identify gaps in the market and develop unique value propositions that set them apart. By understanding the competitive landscape, retailers can align their strategies with customer expectations and stand out from the crowd.


Meeting customer expectations is a continuous journey that requires a deep understanding of customer needs, personalized experiences, seamless omnichannel interactions, transparency, proactive customer support, continuous improvement, feedback collection, and competitive differentiation. By prioritizing these strategies, retailers can build strong customer relationships, foster loyalty, and position themselves for long-term success in the ever-evolving retail industry. Remember, meeting customer expectations is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment to delivering exceptional experiences that exceed customer expectations at every touchpoint.


Q&A Section:   

  1. Why is meeting customer expectations crucial for retailers in today’s evolving retail landscape?
    • Meeting customer expectations is crucial for retailers as customers now have higher expectations than ever before. Satisfying these expectations and providing exceptional experiences are vital for the long-term success of businesses in a competitive market.
  2. What is the significance of the “Retail as the Third Space” trend for small businesses, and how does it impact customer expectations?
    • “Retail as the Third Space” highlights the evolving nature of retail, emphasizing customer service, experience, and creating distinctive environments. Small businesses need to adapt to this trend, focusing on customer expectations related to personalized service, seamless transitions between online and offline channels, and engaging in-store environments.
  3. What are the key expectations that customers have in a retail store, according to recent research?
    • Customers expect personalized service, a seamless experience across online and offline channels, effective use of mobile technology, loyalty rewards, and in-store financing options. These expectations contribute to a holistic and satisfying customer journey.
  4. How can retailers address the demand for personalized service in a brick-and-mortar store?
    • Retailers can compile client information to tailor offerings and interactions. It is crucial to invest in well-trained salespeople with the authority to provide an excellent customer experience. Creating a personalized experience involves understanding customer preferences and needs.
  5. Why is a seamless omnichannel experience essential for meeting customer expectations, and how can retailers achieve it?
    • Customers expect consistency across all channels, requiring a seamless omnichannel experience. Retailers can achieve this by connecting their eCommerce and brick-and-mortar presence, offering features like click-and-collect, and ensuring a consistent brand experience both online and offline.
  6. How can retailers effectively leverage mobile technology to meet customer expectations?
    • Retailers can use mobile technology to empower salespeople, allowing them to stay connected with consumers. Implementing a mobile point of sale (POS) system can streamline transactions and enhance the customer experience. Providing mobile discounts, coupons, and promotions aligns with customer expectations related to mobile technology.
  7. What role do loyalty rewards play in meeting customer expectations, and how can retailers implement effective loyalty programs?
    • Loyalty rewards contribute to recognizing and retaining loyal customers. Retailers can implement loyalty programs by tracking in-store customer activities using smartphones. Incentives like special events, early access to products, and personalized promotions can encourage customers to participate in loyalty programs.
  8. Why is in-store financing becoming an expectation, and how can retailers of various sizes incorporate this into their offerings?
    • In-store financing addresses the needs of customers without credit cards and allows them to make affordable payments. Retailers can offer financing options for various items, not just big-ticket purchases, catering to a broader customer base. Exploring installment payment choices and learning from other businesses can help retailers implement effective in-store financing.
  9. How can retailers continuously improve and innovate to stay ahead of evolving customer expectations?
    • Retailers can stay ahead by embracing new technologies, exploring emerging trends, and regularly evaluating customer data. Data-driven insights from customer behavior and preferences can guide improvements. Adopting a culture of innovation and keeping up with industry developments ensures that retailers remain competitive and aligned with customer expectations.
  10. Why is feedback collection crucial for meeting and exceeding customer expectations, and how can retailers effectively act on customer feedback?
    • Feedback collection provides valuable insights into customer satisfaction and areas for improvement. Retailers can act on feedback by analyzing recurring issues, making data-backed decisions, and communicating improvements to customers. Regularly seeking and acting on feedback demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement and customer-centricity.
  11. How can retailers differentiate themselves from competitors and meet unique customer expectations in a competitive market?
    • Thorough competitive analysis allows retailers to identify what competitors are doing well and areas for differentiation. By offering unique value propositions, understanding the competitive landscape, and focusing on customer needs, retailers can stand out and align their strategies with evolving customer expectations.
  12. In conclusion, why is meeting and exceeding customer expectations an ongoing commitment for retailers in the retail industry?
    • Meeting and exceeding customer expectations is an ongoing commitment because customer expectations are constantly evolving. It requires a deep understanding of customer needs, personalized experiences, seamless omnichannel interactions, transparency, proactive customer support, continuous improvement, feedback collection, and competitive differentiation. This commitment ensures exceptional experiences at every touchpoint, fostering strong customer relationships and long-term success in the dynamic retail industry.
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