Retail Guide to Success: Ease & Speed

May 11, 2018

The grand collection of tips in 101 Ways to Rock Your Retail Customer’s World is meant to inspire retailers in the age of digital and brick and mortar but how do we know that these tactics work? Along with black Friday-like news of shuttered stores and bankruptcies, there are retailers who are giving consumers exactly what they want; EASE and SPEED. Pay attention to these success stories and take inspiration to the next level by building a better offering for your customers. Consumers are rewarding the stores and brands that innovate and adapt.


Ulta Beauty opens a path to purchase with timely emails for specials on their website. Recipients of “Beauty Break” have a 4-hour window (10am-2pm CT) to spend a certain amount at online checkout. In doing so, they become eligible for a free sample set of the day. These sample sets typically include prestige beauty products from quality brands. The daily emails incentivize purchase with the opportunity to try new products within a beauty brand line. Ulta’s limited-time offers, bundled with samples, foster a sense of urgency and exclusivity among email shoppers.


Target’s recently launched subscription box service, “Baby Cat & Jack” is a quarterly offering, timed with the start of every season. The retailer mails subscribers six to seven apparel items that have not yet been released in store, at a low $40 price-point. Target gives subscribers the ability to return any unwanted items online or in-store, for a seamless, no-hassle experience. The store’s wildly successful beauty box subscription is currently sold out, confirming the consumer’s appetite for such an offer. How does Target’s box subscription program stand out from others? It’s the ability to easily return unwanted items for credit.


Kroger is introducing “Scan, Bag and Go” into 400 grocery stores later this year, granting customers the convenient ability to scan items as they walk the aisles, with either a handheld scanner or their smartphone using the Kroger app. Once customers have finished shopping, they are directed to self-checkout kiosks to redeem coupons and calculate the total. The shopper pays at the kiosk and is on their way. Kroger anticipates shoppers moving to an in app payment system, avoiding the need to stop at a kiosk in the future. Kroger is thinking outside the box with “Scan, Bag, and Go,” bringing new technology into the store and giving customers a unique shopping experience, saving time.


Athleta has introduced a “Give-It-a-Workout-Guarantee,” allowing customers to buy an item and give it a test-run in their real-life workout. If the product doesn’t meet their customer’s standards, Athleta grants them the opportunity to return their item for a full refund, at any time. Bottom line, Athleta is building trust and brand loyalty among customers with their satisfaction-guaranteed return policy.


Keurig now gives beverage drinkers the ability to opt-in for automated reorder and delivery of their favorite libations. Customers choose frequency of delivery and receive a 25% discount on every order. This free service takes the worry out of reordering, and fosters a longer-term, mutually beneficial relationship between Keurig and consumers.


Harrods, the luxury retailer in London, offers shoppers a wide variety of services throughout different departments. In beauty, customers have access to a Wellness Clinic, Urban Retreat, Roja Dove and Salon De Parfums, providing shoppers with multiple outlets through which to pamper themselves. Its Concierge services extend into gourmet food and beverage with Food & Hamper Orders, The Tea Tailor and even personalized sourdough bread. Foodie dreams come true when experts make order to the customer’s exact preference. And Harrods services don’t stop there. The accessories department features Bespoke tailoring, watch repairs, cobbler services and a Made-to-Measure lounge. Top that off with gift-giving services and furniture and interior design consultation, and Harrods impeccable personalized service sets the bar high for all other luxury brands.


Safeway grocery stores have partnered with Sunoco gas stations to offer fuel discounts based on shopper spending at check out. For every $100 spent at a Safeway store, the shopper receives 10-cents off per gallon at the pump. Customers rack up as many rewards as they wish, though gas discounts are limited to the first 20 gallons of fuel per purchase at the pump. With the Safeway app, consumers review their accumulated rewards and redeem them at the pump by simply entering their phone number. This partnership fosters brand recognition and customer loyalty with a rewards program that encourages repeat purchase.


Walgreens wows customers with an extensive, helpful app that has prescriptions as the gateway, through which customers can scan and refill prescriptions on the app, track history and activate pill reminders. Through the app, any user can consult with a doctor or pharmacist day or night—at no charge. Users have the ability through the photo features to upload photos for printing, personalize photo cards and create custom photo décor, then pick up their purchase at the location of their choice. Customers “clip” coupons and view weekly circulars, look up items, compare prices and check store stock. In addition, while browsing on the app, they can find a nearby location where the item is in stock. Finally, Walgreens makes check-out a breeze. Shoppers present their rewards card to redeem all the coupons and offers they preselected in the app. Walgreens and their app are making it easy and convenient for customers to keep coming back.