Retailers are clearing $200 more per customer and getting more return business using a ridiculously simple approach. Some businesses have been doing this for a long time, but retail caught on to its unexpected benefits. Retailers have taken a page from restaurants, spas, doctors and dentists -- letting you book online, or they would hand you a radio or a gadget when you got there that would buzz or beep to tell you when it was your turn. Now it's a Geek Squad appointment at Best Buy, or a wedding consultation at Nordstrom. What is it? The newest wrinkle in eCommerce Online Retail Competition is letting customers make advance appointments online and then notifying them by smartphone when they're in the vicinity (i.e. shopping while they're waiting) that it's time for their appointment.
As retailers strive to make their customers feel good and happy -- everything old is new again, as MarketWatch reported in: Best Buy, Staples, and Nordstrom unveil online scheduling. That is to say, retail customers can make advance appointments, which ultimately saves them time and aggravation waiting in lines or competing with other customers for that time frame; and has led to serious monetary benefits for the retailers.
Not only did Best Buy report that 25 million shoppers scheduled appointments online last year, but that each shopper reportedly spent an average of $150 to $200 more at the time. Plus return business!
Other retailers like Lowe's Company and J.Crew have unveiled or expanded online booking, and more are getting on the bandwagon. Besides enticing customers to come to stores, retailers also have data from the appointments and can survey these customers and then proactively aim more relevant marketing campaigns at them.
Bottom Line for your Bottom Line
Don't wait for customers to come in. Draw them in by giving them advance appointments -- and also use the data and goodwill to establish loyal, long-term relationships.
"The number of shoppers using those tools is expected to double to 50 million this year," said Gary Ambrosino, president of TimeTrade, one of the companies that helps retailers roll out this service. Ambrosino noted that his company expects to triple its own accounts this year serving ninety retail clients.