Sometimes, shopping brings our dreams closer to reality: whether it’s a beautiful dress that enhances a woman’s best features, a tailored suit that speaks of a man’s success, or a fancy house with great curb appeal. This irrepressible urge to “own” is often driven by a desire to be content, impress others, or to treat ourselves. Oddly enough, though, this need to purchase has less to do with the items themselves and far more about the way they make us feel.

In today’s hyper-saturated markets, choosing a brand that will succeed in making ourselves feel our very best is rarely an easy decision. As most people hope to buy dreams, not merely products, retailers must constantly offer an exceptional customer experience while ensuring that they offer added value to the marketplace. People rarely fall in love with a brand at first sight: they’d rather test it out first before making up their minds, which will likely change over time. This article discusses the importance of making each brand interaction truly matter, providing the key ingredients to selling dreams, and offering the customer experience your clients deserve.

Constantly Reinvent Your Brand

50% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t anticipate their needs, according to Salesforce. Customers’ heightened expectations can be explained by the significant technological advances of the last decades and the top-notch customer experience retailers have accustomed their shoppers to. For instance, before Amazon Prime introduced free shipping within 24 hours, most retailers used to charge high shipping fees with no guaranteed delivery date. Amazon has created new expectations for customers: they realized they could make their purchases faster and cheaper. By improving the customer experience, they have ironically contributed to making customers even more demanding. Retailers should thus stay proactive and bet on the right tools to run their business successfully. Investing in cutting-edge technology can help you adapt to your customers’ ever-changing needs, and offer a customer experience that shoppers could only dream of.

Consumers don’t always know what they want, but retailers must. Curated shopping enables sales associates to make relevant suggestions based on customers’ personal taste, in the same way a personal shopper might. Selling dreams also means constantly offering a little something extra, making the need to merge the online and offline worlds seamlessly all the more important. In store, for example, sales associates can use clienteling solutions to both become product experts, and nurture a relationship with their customers. Did you know that some modern clienteling tools even enable shoppers to store a visual catalog of all their purchases, and view curated looks that are privately published to them by their favorite associates?

Retailers can also easily reinvent their brand by investing in a scalable e-commerce platform, giving them the tools they need to differentiate themselves from the competition online while preserving the unique identity of their brand. For instance, frequently changing the slider of your home page can give a fresher look to your page, without being too time-consuming.

Adapt to Your Customers’ Shopping Habits

Retailers who want to delight their customers should focus on how customers perceive their brands, and refine their strategy over time. If you constantly adapt to the way your customers shop, they will have a positive image of your brand, and you will be more likely to gain their loyalty. Unified commerce is the key to offering the customer experience modern consumers crave: with the online and offline worlds becoming one entity, retailers can sell the way customers decide to shop. From merchandise management to customer engagement and retail analytics, retailers are faced with multiple challenges on a daily basis and need to pick the software provider that will meet, if not exceed, all their criteria.

Create Memorable Customer Experiences

A superior customer experience is one that will not only encourage further store visits, but that will also make you want to tell others about it, creating free advertising for your brand. In fact, 87% will share a good experience, and a whopping 95% a bad one: retailers have no other choice but make a favorable impression. For instance, knowledgeable sales associates equipped with customer engagement software are not just a “nice to have” anymore: they’ve become a must-have, with more and more customers expecting associates to never leave their side. Thanks to this method, customers feel appreciated as they’re the center of attention, and store associates can continue building a 1:1 selling relationship with them, without ever being disrupted.

What’s more, customers are four times more likely to turn to a competitor if the problem is service-related, versus price or product-related. Unfortunately, unexpected events will sometimes occur, but what truly matters is how your staff handles problems. Words should always be chosen carefully, and going the extra mile to ensure your customers leave on a high note is essential. Training staff on the right words to use and not use (e.g. “this is the wrong department”, “I’m new here”, etc.) can also be an effective way of reducing embarrassing incidents. If you want to ensure that the customer experience doesn’t turn from dream to nightmare; you need to prove to them that their satisfaction is what matters to you the most, even more so when something unpleasant happens. All in all, the passion for the products you sell will always translate into your brand, which shows the importance of selling dreams instead of simply releasing products. Modern consumers need more than just “retail therapy”; shopping needs to be a fun, enjoyable experience that brings them joy. Selling dreams means crossing the boundaries of imagination and constantly exceeding customers’ expectations.