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What Goes Into a Thoughtful Retail Experience?

Posted by Christine B. Whittemore on Feb 6, 2012 9:45:00 AM

This is a 3 minute read.
Thoughtful retail experience from Zipcar
I admire retail thoughtfulness, the kind of careful attention to details that communicates to customers that they matter and that translates into a talk-worthy retail experience.
Zipcar and Nufloors Coquitlam understand this as do the two retailers featured in this NRF2012 article titled How to make your customers love you more.

Thoughtful Retail Experience: Nufloors Coquitlam

During my Surfaces 2012 Marketing and Selling to Flooring and Stone Power Consumers (aka Women!) presentation, I shared the case study of Nufloors Coquitlam, a flooring store in BC, which epitomizes a thoughtful retail experience. 
Here are a few of the details that General Manager Cynthia Dean pays attention to:
  • Creating an inviting store appearance that reinforces: ‘We Sell Fashion’ 
  • Cleaning the carpets on a monthly basis
  • Steam cleaning the bathroom grout lines
  • Putting away flooring samples consistently
  • Ensuring clear sight lines to the back of the store
  • Banishing bits of paper stuck to the walls
  • Making sure that price tags are neat
  • Offering large umbrellas by the front door for customers to stay dry
  • Having a bowl of red and green apples and fresh flowers at the reception desk
  • Creating a comfortable seating area
  • Welcoming store visitors and offering them coffee & water
  • Keeping the parking lot tidy
  • In the spring and summer, growing flowers in the pots outside the front door
  • Selecting giveaway Nufloor pens that don't fall apart
  • Offering a chocolate bar for completing an instore survey
It's amazing how much customers appreciate thoughtful touches. Just think about your recent retail experiences...

Thoughtful Retail Experience: Zipcar

My friend Gary Petersen, who lives in New York City, sent me the following email about Zipcar.
Zipcar IKEA parking
Zipcar - not sure you know about them being a suburban dweller, but the car less (and small carbon footprint urban dwellers) love it.

Basically the premise is one joins the Zipcar club, $50 year, and you can rent cars on line for specific periods of time - two hours to two days. (Not a long time long distance opportunity, but that is not their niche.)
You get a card with a infra red reader on it, and you order the specific car you want, on line, from many venues which are garages, or parking lots. Within a 5 minute walk from our building are 5 locations. No paper work, no waiting in line, nada. You call up 30 minutes in advance, go to the lot, wand the reader on the car and off you go. They pay for gas and insurance. Now it has its own little things you have to deal with, but for me it's great. 
Now the great marketing: this insert [pictured above] on a notice from them describing reserved parking at IKEA for Zipcar. This is a major problem for manhattan dwellers - if you go to Ikeat how do you get the stuff home? Zipcar ties the short term rental with easy parking, genius!!

I agree this is genius! Zipcar thoughtfully considers its customers' or members' pain points and addresses them in a remarkable way that gets them talking about it. It makes me wish I weren't a suburban dweller and had reason to use them regularly. 

Which are the little details you focus on that help you deliver a thoughtful retail experience?


Topics: customer experience, retail experience

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