Tips from Experienced Retailers on How to Improve Customer Experience


The retail sector is expected to continue to experience enormous challenges in the new decade. More Company Voluntary Administrations (CVAs) and liquidations are expected resulting in mass store closures and redundancies. Grim times indeed. 

But not all retailers are suffering equally and there are examples of brands who are opening new stores and appear to be doing very well from the outside looking in. And many of the brands who are struggling are formulating plans to reverse their fortunes before they need to consider the nuclear options of CVAs and liquidations. Delivering great customer (CX) is often heralded as the key to success in brick-and-mortar retail and there are many articles on how that might be achieved (including some on our own blog).

Given the time of year and the fact that it is the end of a decade of great upheaval in the retail sector, we thought it would be interesting to scour the web for useful advice on the topic from actual retailers and other industry gurus. The following are some of the most insightful thoughts and advice we found. 

Hopefully they provide some inspiration and guidance or at least get the cogs turning as to how you might improve customer experience in your stores and ultimately, continue growing market share.

I would sum the general theme up in the following sentence:

"Technology is important but focus on investments that empower or free up store associates to do their jobs better, which is helping the customer have a great experience." 


Claudia Nappo  

Retail Director at L.K.Bennett

On technology... Focus on what it does for the customer and go back to what value it is adding. Is it speeding something up or saving costs, or helping the customer in some way?” 

“With stores you really have to make the experience come to life. Just offering 20% discount or drinks aren’t going to draw them in any more. They want something different.”

Read more from Claudia 


Bill Simon

Former `CEO of Walmart

The retailers that will be successful in the future will be those who use technology to help support and enable fundamental operations and service propositions.”

Read more from Bill


Also read: "Closing the Feedback Loop should be a Goal of Great CEM!


Bob Phibbs 

The Retail Doctor, Author, Keynote Speaker, Podcast Host

"How to compete with Amazon and against online retailers isn’t easy but the reality is it is no different than competing against other brick and mortar retailers.

Until and unless you create an engaging shopping experience based on providing your shoppers with a sense of discovery, a sense of fun, a sense of belonging and a sense of pride, you’re pretty much like 90% of your competition trying to make money from the same brands they are."

Read more from Bob


Ian Palmer

Retail Director at Rohan

"Rather than spend more money on getting new people in, we could spend a bit more time on the shop, the layout and how we present ourselves within the shop to make more of the people coming in."

Read more from Ian


Mary Dillon

CEO at Ulta Beauty

"It [retail transformation] is truly about the seamless intersection of the physical and digital journey... and frankly decreasing the friction of commerce. Just make it easy.”

Hear more from Mary


Theo Paphitis

Retail Entrepreneur and UK Dragon's Den Star 

It will inevitably be survival of the fittest, through hard work and relevance.  Brands that don’t rely on just one aspect of their businesses, but instead ensure that the technology supports the stores, that the product and the price points are right, and most importantly that customer service really is excellent.

Read more from Theo


Natalie Berg

Retail Analyst, Author and Founder at NBK Retail

“The most successful retailers today are those that view their stores as assets not liabilities. 

As contradictory as it may sound, they understand that the key to growing ecommerce sales is leveraging their physical infrastructure.

Read more from Natalie


Heather Gibson

Brand Experience Director at AllSaints 

We believe that, over the next couple of years, personalised customer care will be key to improving brand experience. One-to-one correspondence, proactive contacts, multilingual agents and bespoke solutions will differentiate brands in the fashion industry."

Read more from Heather


Harry Rose

Editor of Which? Magazine

"Giving shoppers a great in-store experience is more important than ever if brands want to thrive on the High Street.

"Our findings go to show that if retailers can deliver great value, quality products and first-class customer service, customers will keep coming back."

Read more from Harry


Peter Cross

Customer Experience Director at John Lewis 

“We’re reinventing the department store to make us stand out from the competition. Our goal is to offer customers unrivalled access to expertise and impartial advice in a way that is uplifting and inspiring.”

Read more from Peter


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About the Author: Oisin Ryan
Oisin is the Founder and CEO of ServiceDock, which helps brick-and-mortar businesses drive customer loyalty and acquisition by enabling them to deliver improved customer experience and service.

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