Make shopping fun again in 2012

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A new year has started, full of good intentions, new wishes, new hopes,... One of the hopes I cherish for this year is "make my shopping experience fun again". Why? Well last year I came home, more than once, frustrated after shopping: because the lady at the counter had a bad day, because I could not find what I was looking for, because I saw so few innovation, because I was far from being treated as a king,... Retailers, here are 5 essential tips to make shopping a bit more fun again in 2012. 1. Say hello "Hi Sara, how do you do? What are you looking for today? Can I help you?" Having travelled to Australia and the USA, we -Europeans- are sometimes surprised, overwhelmed by the friendliness and personal welcoming in shops. And yes sometimes the personal welcoming feels "fake". But to be honest: I prefer this instead of a retailer who can hardly mutter "thank you" at the end of the buy process.

2. Put functionality on top We are all looking for convenience. So make it your customer as easy as possible. Design the processes and flows in your shop around your customer. Think of the moment of payment, opening hours, parking, interior and design, comfortable chairs, large fitting rooms, etc.

3. Turn waiting time into fun. Why would you want to shorten the waiting time? The longer a customer stays in your shop, the more time he has to discover all your offerings, the more time you -as a retailer- get to convince that customer and sell your stuff. So make sure he wants to stay longer, enjoys waiting. Think of: o The queues at the checkout of the supermarkets. o Husbands waiting in women's clothing stores. o Moms waiting in the local soccer canteen while their kids are playing soccer.

4. Add some element of surprise Could you think of something that your customer can taste, feel, listen to, try out or take home as a memorabilia? Something he wouldn't expect and turns a smile (even it's a small) on his face.

5. ... and smile!