At times shopping for shoes can be a rather stressful experience… queuing to find the right colour and size, trying them on to see if they actually fit, and then queuing up again to pay.

But forward thinking retailers are now designing more customer friendly store designs which incorporate a range of digital features, making the customer experience more pleasurable.

When I was shopping last week, I experienced first-hand a retailer that is already delivering a customer experience which is both slick and efficient – Schuh.

Schuh are now rolling out digitally enhanced stores which offer several features to make life easier for their customers, as well as improving customer engagement and encouraging brand loyalty – because, if like me, when you have a great customer experience, you are potentially going to share this with your network.

 

A better customer experience

After walking into the Schuh store I found something that I liked the look of and wanted to try. Admittedly it was reasonably quiet – but a helpful sales assistant asked if I needed assistance. Rather than ‘disappearing out the back’ to check on the stock availability she was quickly able to check for stock using one of the scanner stations in store. This gives a view of stock across the business (both web and bricks and mortar). Apparently some of these stations are also customer enabled, which means during busy periods you can self-check. Critically my sales assistant didn’t leave the store floor to search for the shoes, because someone else is dedicated to doing this job in the stock room. After a minute or so the right size and colour was duly picked for her to collect, taking no time at all.

After trying on the shoe I did decide to purchase. Again, no hassle here, as the assistant was able to complete the transaction there and then using a mobile point of sale device, which included printing a receipt as well. Schuh also offer e-receipts. Finally, the cherry on the cake – I was told that I had 1 year to bring the shoes back if I was unhappy! The customer experience was seamless and easy. It definitely make me want to a) tell others and b) shop there again; two highly desirable outcomes for any retailer.

 

Schuh guest WiFi improving customer service and social share

Schuh also now offer a guest Wi-Fi system via provider Purple WiFi which enables customers to join their secure private network. The system can be accessed via social logins or a short form. Customers can then be directed to its ‘Find My Size‘ page, where they are able to check stock availability.

The WiFi will be used to encourage more social interaction as customers can be directed to the social tools they use such as FaceTime to engage with friends over their potential purchases. Schuh already recognise the growing importance and benefit of social interaction when people are shopping – take a look at their blog or Twitter feed to see the social interactions they regularly receive and the power of positive shares.

Schuh store in High Wycombe

Ticket to success?

According to Retail Week Schuh have been trialling these new store features over the last 18 months. They believe they will see a rapid ROI as the new stores are already out-performing the old ones. From a consumer perspective the experience was a great mix of traditional sales service combined with enhanced technology to create a seamless customer experience.

Sophie Fraser