Keeping customers in the internet age

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In the age of internet shopping and the ability to order an item at 9pm and have it delivered to your front door the next morning, I believe high street shops need to work even harder to make us, their potential customers, leave our homes and spend our hard-earned cash in their store.

Those shops that we would normally travel farther afield for, like out-of- town retail parks and garden centres, need to do even more to keep our custom.

Let’s face it, these days you can buy everything on the net so I’m amazed at how many shops still seem to have a non-customer-friendly attitude and don’t realise that a little more effort could lift more people off the sofa and into their stores.

Without customers a store or brand is nothing, so it’s important to keep the people who buy your products happy.

I’ve been in many stores in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas where you don’t even get a thank you at the end of a transaction. This usually means they won’t be seeing me again.

I believe a way to make sure that people will return to your shop time and time again is to offer a unique and, more importantly, memorable (for the right reasons) customer experience.

I have found one store in the area that is absolutely getting it right.

Year after year it goes above and beyond to create a great customer experience and at this time of year a visit feels more like a day out rather than a place to do a bit of shopping.

I’m talking about Keydell Nurseries and Garden Centre at Horndean. If you’ve been there you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

A great place all year round with excellent customer service, but it particularly comes to life as summer turns to autumn.

On each visit I’m amazed at the time and effort that is put into making this a unique place to shop.

Last week I took my daughters to visit the advertised Halloween Walk. What a great idea. Before you go in a sign reads ‘Young children to be supervised’ which may give you an idea of what to expect.

My daughters loved it and when we reached the light at the end of the tunnel they asked if we could go through it again, so we did.

Then there is the much-loved Christmas shop where the eyes of my girls were opened wide staring at the various lights, displays and decorations.

We’ll be returning again nearer Christmas when they’ll have real reindeer to pet and Father Christmas to visit.

It can be so easy for stores to brush aside the importance of a meaningful, fun and memorable customer experience, but Keydell has got it just right.