Is your company in the business of customer service? Are you aware that now, customers are looking for more? Just being polite and selling them a product is not going to cut it with today's savvy shopper. If it were, the world of online shopping would be forcing more closures of brick and mortar stores because of a lack of in-store purchases. But currently, the exact opposite seems to be true. According to DIGIDAY UK, there is an uptick in physical retail sales globally because people are looking for a shopping experience, not just to be sold an item. Target, for example, reported their sales increased by 6.5% through an increase in foot traffic to their stores. And Walmart reported that they saw their strongest sales in a decade at its physical stores.

People want to touch and feel products, to interact with others, to have choices explained to them. All of these things give them more of an experience than online is currently set up to give them. How can companies offer people more than just a product for sale? We have witnessed changes over the years of companies trying to add additional services within their walls to enhance the shopping experience. Bookstores like Chapters and Barnes & Noble have added coffee shops through partnerships with Starbucks. Another example is a trend in high-end boutiques of adding salons to their clothing shops. Electronics stores are adding gaming centers and offering product enhancement courses to enrich the shopping experience.

While those features are great, what people seem to be yearning for is a purchasing experience. People want to try your products. To test to see how easy those products are to operate and to see if it will work for their lifestyle. Do you have a sample product on display? Do you encourage interaction with the products you sell? Do you allow them to have fun with that tablet or is it tethered, forcing them to set off an alarm and giving them a negative reaction just for wanting to experience the product? Consumers want to see how a product will interact with their lives. They want to utilize it as they would at home, then fall in love with it so they can justify handing over their hard-earned money.

Encourage your team to help your customers do all those things while keeping your loss numbers in line. Train your team to have fun with the customer, to listen to their story, to really hear how this product might enhance their lives. Everyone has a story to tell. Maybe they are making the purchase for their child achieving amazing school grades. Maybe it's the first present they've purchased for their new partner. Perhaps they have had the worst month ever and need this purchase as a pick-me-up for themselves. Whatever the need, they will remember if your team takes the time to listen and to help them find just the product to make the best purchase today.

And the key to this experience is simple, don't think about the sale. A strange thing to say when I know all your bottom line thinks about IS the sale however, it is true. Focus on the customer, their wants, their needs, and the things that bring them joy. If you do that, you will easily identify what you have in the store that can enhance their lives and they will thank you for the experience, leading to a sale organically. How many times have you walked into a store for one thing but walked out with something totally different than you thought? And all because an associate took the time to find out what you needed and sold you the best product to fulfill that need? They asked you questions, helped you relax, and made the whole experience fun and enjoyable. That's where the magic lies; just make it an experience that leaves them wanting more. Teach your team to have fun and really get to know the people that walk in your store. Through this experiential approach, not only will you see an increase in sales, you will also be building brand loyalty, one experience at a time.