Customer Service & Experience: 18 Examples of Retail Innovation – Hitachi Solutions (2023)

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According to theU.S. Department of Commerce, there are approximately 3.8 million retail stores in the United States. In other words, retailers exist in a highly saturated marketplace. But there are a few techniques that always seem to help brands differentiate from the competition: providing outstanding customer service and creating memorable customer experiences.

Take a look at the brands below to see the many different ways retail is reinventing the customer experience.

18 Examples of Outstanding Customer Service & Experiences

1. Chewy

Chewy is an online retailer that sells pet products. Pet parents can get discounts when they sign up for autoshipping on repeat orders, which means they can save money without having to worry about driving to the store to pick up Fluffy’s cat food.

What Chewy is most well-known for isoutstanding customer service. When you receive your first order, you also get a personalized, handwritten note welcoming you to the Chewy family as well as a special free toy or treat for your fur baby.

The company also likes to add an element of surprise to their orders. Customers who upload photos of their pets to their account are chosen at random to receive custom portraits of their pets, which has been a hit on social media and establishes Chewy as a memorable brand.

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2. Francesca’s

Women’s retailer Francesca’s has a small-boutique feel that makes every customer who walks through the door feel like they are entering into a fashionista’s closet.

Their customer service is what truly sets them apart from mall retailers like Forever 21 and H&M. As you shop and grab items you like, a sales associate will place them in your very own dressing room that’s complete with your name written in chalk.

The employees also act like friends as opposed to sales associates, suggesting items that would look good on you and helping you find the perfect outfit for a certain occasion. These are small acts of customer service, but they go a long way in terms of differentiating your brick-and-mortar store from online shopping options.

3. TOMS

Simply calling TOMS an online retailer is a total understatement. The company is passionate about giving back to various causes to the point where they have become more well-known for theircharitable naturethan their incredibly comfortable footwear.

Since TOMS donates a substantial amount of money and shoes every year to charity, their customers can easily feel good about their purchase. The more you purchase, the more there will be donated, which also helps TOMS’ sales.Customer Service & Experience: 18 Examples of Retail Innovation – Hitachi Solutions (1)

4. Lowe’s

Lowe’s announced theLoweBotin 2016, an autonomous robot designed to help customers seamlessly navigate their stores. The robot can answer simple customer questions like, “Where are the light bulbs?” and even direct customers to follow it to the right aisle. LoweBot can also scan shelves for real-time inventory monitoring.

By handing off simple customer queries to the LoweBot, store employees are able to put their expertise to better use by assisting customers with more complicated requests. That means customers don’t have to wait for help very long, making their shopping experience much more easy going.

5. Sephora

Those who wear makeup understand the frustration that comes with finding the perfect shade for your skin tone. That’s why makeup and beauty brand Sephora created a program, calledColor iQ, to help shoppers find the perfect foundation, lip, and concealer color matches. Since its launch in 2012, Sephora has generated over 14 million Color iQ codes!

To take advantage of the program, customers can visit their local Sephora and a team member will scan their skin to find their personal Color iQ code. Not only does this make Sephora’s products as effective as possible, it creates loyalty once a customer finds the perfect brand and shade of makeup.

Sephora also uses an omnichannel approach with Color iQ. If they don’t already have one, customers can find their Color iQ through a tool on Sephora’s website. Returning shoppers can just enter their code in the ecommerce platform and view a list of relevant products.

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6. Warby Parker

Warby Parker is another retailer that is embracing ecommerce and brick-and-mortar innovation. Noticing the rising cost of prescription glasses and sunglasses, the company sells high-quality, affordable frames and lenses that are both stylish and durable.

The company has physical locations in large metropolitan areas, but their ecommerce store makes it easy for anyone, anywhere toshop. If you’re browsing online, you can select Warby Parker’s Home Try-On and they will send you a sample order of five frames of your choosing for free. This puts the product directly into the hands (or faces) of consumers who may not be able to visit a brick-and-mortar store.Customer Service & Experience: 18 Examples of Retail Innovation – Hitachi Solutions (2)

The Warby Parker app features a Photo Booth that lets you take selfies wearing the sample frames. If you share the photos on social media and tag Warby Parker, they’ll even respond and tell you which frames they think look best on you.

If you are able to visit a store, some locations even offer eye exams so you can make sure your prescription is up to date before you invest in new frames. This convenience and affordability makes wearing glasses chic and easy.

7. Adidas

Adidas’ New York City store is packed with retail-tainment, including a track where customers can test out shoes and get their stride analyzed for a personalized footwear recommendation. The location also has a juice bar and bleachers where you can catch a game on one of the massive flat screens. It’d be almost too easy to spend an entire day in the store!

Visitors can browse shoe color options that are only available in this location and design customized shoes right in store for a fully exclusive NYC experience. If you’re visiting from out of town, Adidas will have any items you purchase delivered right to your hotel.

8. Netflix

Once upon a time, walking into a Blockbuster Video store was an overwhelming experience. The endless aisles and shelves of new releases and classic favorites was almost too much to choose from. But then came Netflix.

Netflix has taken the vast media library that you’d once stress out over in your local video store, and merged it with a high level of personalization. The more you watch on Netflix — without ever having to leave your living room — the better the streaming service can tailor your recommendations.Customer Service & Experience: 18 Examples of Retail Innovation – Hitachi Solutions (3)

Netflix uses algorithms to suggest relevant TV shows, movies, and documentaries that are similar to what a user enjoys, and delivers occasional “We just added a movie you might like” emails that announce new releases and new additions to their already huge library. Their personalization is unlike any of their competitors, so viewers can spend more time watching and less time searching.

9. Trader Joe’s

You could probably fit two Trader Joe’s stores into just one of your local big-name grocery stores. But that’s what Trader Joe’s is known for: small, curated store layouts and friendly customer service.

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In aForresterstudy, 87% of Trader Joe’s shoppers said their experience with the store is “easy.” This landed them the top spot on Forrester’s study, beating out retailers like Costco and PetSmart.

10. Virgin Holiday

Virgin Holiday recently opened what they are calling “experience stores.” Customers can get a taste of an upcoming vacation they have booked or would like to book, by sampling experiences they might have on their trip. There’s even a VR rollercoaster for those headed to Florida and a spa for travelers looking to relax on their next vacation.

11. Lush

This cosmetics retailer is very hands-on, offering aLush retail experiencethat prioritizes customer service above all else. Employees receive extensive training when it comes to product recommendations and are encouraged to perform in-store demos to really give customers the Lush experience.

Lush is also enhancing customer convenience. Instead of the typical cash register experience, employees are armed with tablets, making it easy to perform quick checkouts anywhere in the store.

12. STORY

STORY is the brainchild of Macy’s and currently has 36 locations scattered around the U.S.

Every six to eight weeks,STORY storescompletely reinvent themselves with an entirely new, original theme. They see themselves as a “narrative driven retail concept” store that can offer you a yoga class while you also learn about and experience the latest athletic wear or the newest reusable, sustainable water bottle.

13. Birchbox

Birchboxstarted as an online subscription service, but has moved into the brick-and-mortar space with a unique, personalized offering for customers.

Partnering with Walgreens, customers can now make their own custom Birchboxes in the store. This way, they get the exact products they want, stores get people through the door, and Birchbox gets “free” market research about the products a larger percentage of customers want.

14. Sonos

Sonosis known for their speaker and sound technology, and in their brick-and-mortar stores, you get to experience their products like never before.

In what they call “sound booths” customers can enter a sound-proof booth that is fully equipped with Sonos technology. Once inside, you can use a table to play with the in-room speaker system, to immerse yourself in a personal music and sound experience.

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15. Lululemon

Lululemon is about to open theirnewest experiential storein downtown Chicago. The space will be a massive 20,000 square feet and will offer so much more than yoga pants.

This store takes retail customer experience to the next level, offering food, drinks, fitness classes, and a meditation room. They will, of course, still sell their high-end yoga apparel, but now their customer service experience also includes daily yoga classes and ultra-healthy foods.

16. Amazon Books

Amazon shocked the retail community when they announced they were branching into the brick-and-mortar world, but their in-store customer experience — much like their online one — is second to none.Customer Service & Experience: 18 Examples of Retail Innovation – Hitachi Solutions (4)

Amazon Books only stocks 4-star rated products and offers customers integrated offline shopping with the benefits of the Amazon.com community. This helps customers find items they will love, and Amazon will even honor online prices for Prime members.

17. Solfire

One brand that has completely nailed the engaged and personalized pillars of optimal retail experience is the athleisure brandSolfire.

Their stores offer fitness classes, smoothie bars, and a display that allows people to share where they use their products in and around the store. Their idea of good customer service was to create a community feeling by bringing like-minded consumers together to share in their love of sport and sweat.

18. Ulta Beauty

As a beauty product chain,Ulta’s strategyto offer unique retail experiences for their customers is a complete no-brainer. In some of their brick-and-mortar stores, customers can use and experience their hair, skin, and brow products, turning the shopping experience into a spa experience. Trained customer service reps provide personalized attention and service, and will recommend products.

4 Steps to Create Great Customer Experiences

Modern-day consumers have more choices than ever before, and it’s crucial for retailers to keep up with the changing landscape. Fortunately, retailers can innovate to stay ahead of the competition in four steps:

  • Step 1: Aggregate data from your systems
  • Step 2: Implement a master data-management plan
  • Step 3: Analyze your data
  • Step 4: Invest in a CRM solution that works for your business

ACustomer Relationship Management (CRM)system paired with robust data science and analytics gives retailers insight and control over every aspect of their operations, while also providing unique tools to help differentiate yourself from the competition:

  • Clienteling:Deliver real-time contextual recommendations and provide insights on customer buying patterns and demographics.
  • Proximity Marketing:Push discount offers and other special deals to customers while they’re in-store.
  • Customer Loyalty Programs:Understand the buying and shopping patterns of your most loyal customers, and offer them suggestions, sales, and service based on their likes.
  • Omnichannel Management:Brick-and-mortar retailers must have an online presence as well – monitor customer behavior across channels and offer the self-service options customers crave.

If you have any questions about how you can improve your retail customer experience and provide great customer service,contact Hitachi Solutions. We provideretailers with the tools and technologythey need to transform their operations and stay ahead of the ever-growing competition.

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FAQs

What are examples of retail experiences? ›

Experiential retail is the immersive experience that brick-and-mortar retailers give shoppers. Pop-up shops, in-store masterclasses, and hosting community events are all examples of experiential retail.

What is customer service experience examples? ›

What are some examples good customer service? In retail, examples good customer service include remembering and appreciating repeat customers, forging a local connection with shoppers, putting your product knowledge to good use, and more.

What should I say for retail experience? ›

Use action verbs for describing your skills. For example, you can say "Recommended clothing styles and outfits according to customer's needs and preferences" or "Exceeded sales goals for nine consecutive months."

What should I write in customer experience? ›

In short, good customer experience can be achieved if you: Make listening to customers a top priority across the business. Use customer feedback to develop an in-depth understanding of your customers. Implement a system to help you collect feedback, analyze it, and act on it regularly.

How can I improve my retail experience? ›

12 Ways to Improve the In-Store Experience for Your Customers
  1. Offer a unique experience. ...
  2. Start with your employees. ...
  3. Make the store kid-friendly. ...
  4. Add a service layer to the products you sell. ...
  5. Improve your speed. ...
  6. Reduce friction. ...
  7. Reward your regulars. ...
  8. Host events in your store.

What makes a great retail experience? ›

Conclusion: Shoppers make the rules

Customers today demand product variety (within your vertical), the best in customer service (including modern twists like self-checkout kiosks and informative digital signage), and convenience. We also know that, for 31.5% of shoppers, competitive prices are essential.

What are the 7 qualities of good customer service? ›

7 Must-Have Qualities of a Stellar Customer Service Rep
  • Problem-Solving Skills. The number one skill you need to excel in for good customer service is problem-solving. ...
  • Clear Communication. ...
  • Friendly Attitude. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Business Acumen. ...
  • Product/Service Knowledge. ...
  • Strong Time Management.

What is your greatest strength retail? ›

Communication skills are my greatest strength. I do not struggle to strike a conversation with a stranger, people consider me a great listener, and I do not find it hard to understand what people need, or want, from the way they talk. What I should improve on, however, is my punctuality. I am often late to meetings.

How would you describe your retail experience interview? ›

If you have worked in retail before then be sure to name the company. Tell the interviewer how long you were there and what you learnt. Even if you left that job under negative circumstances, stay positive, and talk about what you gained from the experience. Example answer: 'I worked at [company name] for two years.

How do you talk about retail experience in an interview? ›

How to Leverage Your Retail Experience in an Interview
  1. Focus on relatable and relevant experiences. ...
  2. Draw more attention to results. ...
  3. Remember your soft skills. ...
  4. Don't beat yourself up.
19 Aug 2019

What are 3 important qualities of customer service? ›

Essentially, the 3 important qualities of customer service center around three “p”s: professionalism, patience, and a “people-first” attitude. Although customer service varies from customer to customer, as long as you're following these guidelines, you're on the right track.

What are the 5 qualities of customer service? ›

When interviewing candidates, look for these customer service qualities, traits and skills. Look for someone who is communicative, persuasive, is polite, patient, conscientious, and loyal.

What is innovative customer experience? ›

Innovating the customer experience means adding more value to the customer's relationship with your business. While there are many ways to do this, these efforts should generally foster a stronger connection with your customer base by offering products, rewards, and services that your competitors can't.

How can I provide the best customer service in retail? ›

10 easy ways your staff can improve the customer experience
  1. Say “Thank you” ...
  2. Stay present without hovering. ...
  3. Never turn away from an approaching customer. ...
  4. Smile. ...
  5. Establish procedures for dealing with unhappy customers. ...
  6. Encourage patience. ...
  7. Never say, “I Don't Know” ...
  8. Don't make promises you can't keep.

How can you improve customer service in retail? ›

Here are some top-notch and easy-to-implement tips on how to improve customer service in retail
  1. One Smile can go a long way. ...
  2. Help your Customer with an In-Store Demo. ...
  3. Ask for Feedback and Learn from the Results. ...
  4. Train Your Crew. ...
  5. Personalize your Customer Experience. ...
  6. Effortless Checkouts. ...
  7. Make Customer Service everyone's job.
29 Apr 2022

How do you satisfy customers in retail? ›

No matter what type of business you run, providing the best customer service is a must.
...
  1. Pick up the phone from the customer. ...
  2. Don't make fake promises. ...
  3. Listen to your clients. ...
  4. Don't avoid complaints. ...
  5. Train your staff. ...
  6. Help your customers.
16 Aug 2022

What is another word for customer experience? ›

What is another word for customer experience?
customer servicecustomer care
client serviceproduct service
sales experiencecustomer focus

Why retail experience is important? ›

If your brand is able to successfully differentiate its brand identity with its products and the overall retail experience, it can help to not only build brand loyalty amongst consumers, but evidence has shown that it can also help with providing higher conversion rates.

What is retail experience design? ›

Retail Experience Design is a creative and commercial discipline that combines several different areas of expertise together in the design and construction of retail space.

Does retail experience include food? ›

Retail businesses can include grocery, drug, department and convenient stores. Service related businesses such as beauty salons and rental places are also considered retail businesses.

Does fast food count as retail experience? ›

There are many pros to fast food counting as retail sales experience. For one, it is a great way to gain customer service experience. This is valuable experience that can be transferred to other retail jobs.

What is store experience? ›

The shopping experience is the complete set of perceptions that customers receive while purchasing a product or service, and even what they feel after the deal is closed. The shopping experience is about feelings, emotions, and sensations.

What is retail experience design? ›

Retail Experience Design is a creative and commercial discipline that combines several different areas of expertise together in the design and construction of retail space.

How do you talk about retail experience in an interview? ›

How to Leverage Your Retail Experience in an Interview
  1. Focus on relatable and relevant experiences. ...
  2. Draw more attention to results. ...
  3. Remember your soft skills. ...
  4. Don't beat yourself up.
19 Aug 2019

How do you put retail experience on a resume? ›

Start With a Retail Experience Resume Section

Start with your latest / current position and then list the previous ones in reverse-chronological order. Make sure each entry includes the job title, dates worked, and the company's name. Don't exceed 6 bullets when describing your duties and achievements.

What type of work is retail? ›

What is retail work? Retail work is any type of employment that involves customer interaction and sales. While most people think of storefronts when they think of retail work, offices and online businesses that sell directly to the public are also engaging in retail work.

Is Mcdonalds retail or service? ›

McDonald's is the world's leading global foodservice retailer with over 38,000 locations in over 100 countries. Approximately 93% Of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business owners.

What do retail employers look for? ›

Verbal communication skills are the most important for employees working in shops. They use these skills to explain products and their benefits to customers face-to-face or over the phone. They employ listening skills to learn what customers want and the tasks they should complete during their shifts.

Is retail a service industry? ›

The retail industry is a service industry.

The retail industry is a service industry that provides customers with goods and services. Retailers are responsible for the sale of goods and services to customers. The retail industry is a vital part of the economy and plays a significant role in the lives of consumers.

How do you attract customers to your store? ›

How do you attract customers to your store?
  1. Offer doorbusters for new in-store customers.
  2. Send out promotion codes.
  3. Host events at your store location.
  4. Offer online shopping with in-store pickup.
  5. Create an eye-catching window display.
3 Aug 2021

How do you talk to customers in retail? ›

Maintain eye contact, smile and say, “Hello, welcome!” If you recognize them, tell them, “Good to see you again.” It doesn't matter if you don't remember their name. It's so important to acknowledge their presence and to show them that you're genuinely appreciative that they took the time to come into your store today.

What will the retail experience look like in 2025? ›

For example, by 2025, IDC predicts that 75% of retailers will make changes in their supply chains to improve carbon emissions and environmental factors. IDC says this will result in a 45% increase in customer loyalty.

What is the future of retail? ›

The future of retail includes embracing ecosystems and the experience economy, reconfiguring stores, and preparing for Web3 and the metaverse. Michaels, the arts and crafts chain, used to have employees teach art classes at some of the company's stores.

What are the types of store design? ›

There are roughly 10 different types of store layouts, including: grid, herringbone, loop or racetrack, free-flow, boutique, straight or spine, diagonal, angular, geometric, and multiple or mixed.

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