3 tips to engage retail customers as they wait

 
Dec. 8, 2016 | by Neil Rieger

What do you do when you wait in line at Starbucks? Do you scroll through your Facebook news feed? Maybe you reply to your emails, or check the headlines on Twitter? Whatever it is, waiting time in the retail world is almost inevitable. However, it's also an opportunity for businesses to engage and connect with their audience through tools such as digital signage.

Rather than leaving your customers to stare down at their phones, use that time to connect them with your brand. In this article, we'll show you three quick and simple steps for starting to plan the engagement of your retail audience while they wait.

Give Your Audience Something To Do

The first step to engaging your customers while they wait is providing them with something to do. Again, give them an alternative to staring down at the news feed they've already refreshed countless times that day and you'll be surprised by the results. When presented with decent content, most people will take the opportunity to engage with it, at least the first time.

Some popular ideas to consider are interactive games or some form of innovative delivery of company news updates of recent developments regarding your brand. You can present these on a digital monitor or an interactive touch screen to get your customers more involved, or you can even engage your customers via their own smartphone.

Key Tip: Get your customer to share or post something out from a social media account. Do you have a seasonal Snapchat Geofilter? Promote your users to check it out with a fun visual ad. Are you encouraging users to check-in somehow? At the Golden State Warriors games, before game time when fans are perusing Oracle arena, fans are encourage to visit a dedicated area where if they show they checked-in on Facebook they get a piece of Warriors branded gear.

Forget The Promotions And Sales Pitches

Too many companies think they're best shot at entertaining their audience is by bombarding them with advertising material and sales pitches. And we can understand why; after all, every business wants to maximize its potential for future conversions.

However, there are plenty of ways to engage your audience that don't revolve around advertising or sales. Try to get creative and focus on maximize your audience's experience rather than your potential to make more money.

Key Example: Camping, a bar in Buenos Aires, Argentina, allows their guests to play songs from a virtual jukebox simply by connecting to the local Wi-Fi server using a smartphone or tablet. This has become a unique aspect of the bar, and offers people an opportunity to engage with the venue while they eat/drink.

Keep It Lightweight

Whatever creative way you've come up with to engage your retail audience while they wait, try to keep it simple. Remember to keep in mind the average wait time for a customer (this can be as little as a few minutes) and where they'll be waiting (will they be queuing up at a register or sitting down in a waiting room?). It's always best to error on the short side and give your customers a complete experience than overshooting the mark.

Let's imagine the average wait time for your customers is five minutes. Plan an activity that lasts roughly three to four minutes and be sure to provide a repeat option for anyone who has to wait longer than the average wait time or wants to repeat the activity even after they're done waiting.

Key Myth: You might have heard humans now have an attention span smaller than a gold fish, at around eight seconds. Don't be worried by this, as many researchers claim the selective sustained attention, also known as focused attention, can be upwards of 10-20 minutes. So keep your call-to-action simple to catch someone's interest, but then if you've created an experience that intrigues them, they'll give you some of their valued time.

So, now that you've brainstormed some creative ways to engage your audience, it's time to set the plan in motion. Go look at your audience in your retail environment when they're waiting, document what they're doing, and start experimenting with some creative ways to keep them engaged in that time. 

Image via iStock


Topics: Customer Experience, Retail

Companies: Signet


Neil Rieger / Neil Rieger is the Creative Director at Signet, an enterprise software company, where he helps lead professional design services, product design, and marketing along with consulting clients on content strategy, management, and measurement.
wwwView Neil Rieger's profile on LinkedIn

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