Now, more than ever, personal shopping has taken on a whole new meaning, audience, and demand.
Personal shopping has long been a hallmark of high-end fashion houses. In its early days, having a dedicated personal shopper was all about learning what’s in vogue, what’s befitting for a certain occasion, and how to properly pair items to create an entire ensemble.
But now, particularly in the era of COVID-19, personal shopping has taken on a whole new meaning, audience, and demand.
Grocery and carside service have been trending hot in the past few years. Other types of retailers have taken notice and have also employed similar strategies, including alcohol delivery, food subscription boxes, and restaurant delivery. Suddenly, the concept of personal shopping was reaching beyond fashion for the rich and famous, and COVID has enabled the trend to grow leaps and bounds.
The obvious benefit is that adding a personal shopping service to your lineup can create more revenue opportunities. But the benefits go far deeper than surface-level sales. Retailers also stand to capitalize on the “persona” aspect of personal shopping to get inside the customer mindset and learn more about their preferences, including why and how they shop.
Defining the personal shopping experience
Personal shopping can take on many appearances and functions, depending on the retailer. Some may take an individualized approach with a retail employee taking on the role of shopping consultant. This is most common in the fashion world, where employees will curate selections for the customer and provide recommendations on outfit choices.
Then there’s the digital approach where employees fulfill a customer’s shopping list, which is the case with popular services like grocery pickup.
Both are correct in terms of defining what personal shopping is, yet the two offer strikingly different ways in which the service is executed.
For example, London-based Harrods offers by-appointment personal shopping services, where shopping teams track down specific jewelry pieces and showcase them in a private runway event for the customer. They also offer one-on-one fittings with a designer to tailor the experience to the individual.
Along a similar avenue, high-end retailer Lane Crawford offers personal shopping services that go beyond the store’s walls. Customers can arrange to have their shopper secure a number of services on their behalf, including makeup artists and hotel reservations.
And then there are businesses or individuals that do nothing but shop on the behalf of others. From tracking down the perfect gift to stocking up for vacation or holidays, personal shoppers serve to simplify the shopping process and influence purchases.
No matter the approach a personal shopping service takes, the end result often remains the same: to improve the buyer experience by offering convenience, expertise, and overall value.
Making a business case for personal shopping as a service
Retail revenue is becoming increasingly driven by experiences, which makes the concept of personal shopping one worth exploring.
Competition from other brick and mortar stores and e-commerce stores alike continues to increase, and many businesses are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to catering to their customers. This means that the way in which products, services, and experiences are delivered could be considered just as important as the products themselves.
One outlet that many retailers are finding favor with is simply to give more personalized attention to the shopping experience. And, taking this concept a step further, this attention comes in a form the customer desires.
Some customers crave the convenience of handing over a shopping list, paying for goods online, then spending less than 30 seconds picking up their completed order.
Others want the one-on-one conversations with stylists or consultants in selecting an outfit, CBD supplement, or shampoo that’s made for their hair type.
And others may not know what they want from a personal shopper, but they’ll remember a good experience when they see it. This is often the case for ultra-lux brands that will open a store for a client after hours or fly a specific piece of jewelry to a prospective buyer in another country for a private viewing.
Being able to meet your customers’ personal shopping expectations in a way that’s impactful to them creates a trifecta of tangible business benefits:
For boosting revenue
Adding services to the retail environment serves to increase revenue, whether through ongoing customer loyalty, average ticket size, or both. It gives retailers another way to serve their existing customer base while also attracting new customers that may be interested in the personal shopping aspect.
This is especially important for retailers that aren’t part of the high-end segment. For more mainstream stores or retailers that cater to more of a mass audience, loyalty isn’t as easy to come by. What’s more, stores where the average customer spend isn’t as high may also find that personal shopping can help to boost on-the-spot purchases.
Lane Crawford is an excellent example of this. The retailer reported that more than 50% of in-store sales is the direct product of their personal shoppers. At times, a customer’s sale can easily become 100% greater than what it would have been, as single clothing pieces can transform into entire outfits with the expertise of an in-store shopper.
For developing new growth opportunities
A personal shopping strategy isn’t just about boosting revenue and loyalty, but also for discovering new ways to expand and grow the business.
In a sense, personal shopping acts as a data collection tool in that it allows employees to get deeper inside the customer experience. Just as data-driven experiences are designed to provide a personalized approach to shopping, adding a personal shopping service can also serve up options that are specific to the individual’s needs.
The data collected by personal shoppers can then be used to give retailers insights to why products sell or don’t sell. Stores can better target their products to their audience and curate a better selection of goods that will sell faster and maximise their in-store real estate.
What’s more, personal shopping could be seen as a viable way to bring people back into the brick and mortar format. Online channels have been dominating the retail world in recent years, leaving many physical locations to suffer from lack of foot traffic. Increasing the personalized nature of the in-store experience could be an effective tool in improving the entire customer journey.
For improving the customer experience
The shopping experience matters just as much as the products themselves, according to 80% of one survey’s respondents. We’ve already seen many retailers transforming their stores from being a physical place to store products to more of an experiential environment where buyers become immersed in the brand.
Personal shopping contributes to this trend by providing the individualized experience. There’s still a lot of room for growth in this arena, and until it becomes a saturated service, retailers can count on it as a competitive advantage.
READY TO OPTIMIZE YOUR RETAIL LOCATIONS FOR PERSONAL SHOPPING?
Personal shopping is proving to be a valuable service for retailers and buyers alike. When retailers can improve their data collection and reliability by getting inside the shopper experience, both sides stand to gain from the greater value and offerings the store delivers. If you’re ready to optimize your physical retail stores to meet new customer demands, contact our team today to learn how our services can help you.