Appointment calendar

It seems like things are always changing, so you may need to improve customer experience through alternative ways of in-store shopping.

Appointment-based shopping was a necessity for some retailers during the pandemic. This protected their employees and customers by limiting the amount of people within the store. For some specialty retailers, this was essential in keeping the doors open because of their products and services have never been a good fit for ecommerce.

If you had to provide appointments for your customers, then you already know how this works. For those of you that haven’t, you should consider it as a way to provide a more personalized experience. Shoppers enjoy convenience, so it’s no surprise that they want an exclusive experience, especially when shopping at a specialty store. They want your undivided attention and will pay more for it.

What Is Appointment-Based Shopping?

Customers make appointments online or over the phone to shop in-store or through video conferencing. Yes, shopping via video, which can be just like an in-person experience. Also, there’s the option of customers setting an appointment and shopping alone. The appointment gives them piece of mind that their needs will be a priority.

The key here is that appointments can be structured or unstructured. This gives your customers more choice and adds to the convenience of the appointment.

Benefits of Offering Appointments

Many of the restrictions of the past two years have been lifted, so appointments don’t necessarily limit or reduce in-store traffic. However, having an appointment system in place does prepare you for any unforeseen events, such as a pandemic.

More importantly, providing structured appointments builds a deeper connection with customers. It’s a more curated experience. In all, adding appointment-based shopping provides a VIP experience without the need for a major investment.

Younger shoppers shy away from salespeople. This is where an unstructured or self-guided experience can really come into play. The customer simply checks in and roams at their leisure. A salesperson can check on them to answer any questions they may have or offer suggestions and alternatives.

Whichever way you choose, it creates a more comfortable experience that people tend to rave about to their family and friends.

Some Things to Consider

Adding a scheduling calendar to your website is relatively easy to implement and maintain. With this system, you can set appointments for anyone that calls the store directly.

Ever consider a short time slot for after-hours appointments? Customers will feel like they have the store to themselves and a personal guided tour.

Scheduling employees to accommodate appointments can also be structured or unstructured, but needs to align with their daily responsibilities. Some employees may prefer taking appointments, while others shy away from it. Gathering their input can alleviate any potential headaches that may come as the process evolves.

Your salespeople won’t feel hurried or pulled in several directions at once. They can focus on one sale and make the most of it. Also, they can collect important information regarding products and services that questionnaires fail to gather. This kind of engagement with employees and customers makes appointment-based shopping an invaluable service. 

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