It is said that a crisis often brings out the best in you.
After enduring months of unprecedented roadblocks and frustration, businesses are starting to bounce back and accelerate their rebuilding efforts.
“The changes that had been slowly happening over the last few years have been hyper-charged by this pandemic. It almost feels like we have had 10 years worth of progress packed into the last couple of months.”
This observation could not be any more accurate. Retailers have started embracing digital channels with a speed that was considered next to impossible until a few months back. Businesses are adapting to the changed buyer behaviors and customers are getting acclimatized to the altered purchasing journeys.
Statflo’s Enterprise Customer Success Manager Samantha Wagar, co-hosted a panel discussion with Tracpoint’s VP Client Services Patrice Ciccone, Glympse’s Chief Customer Officer Rob Foley, iQmetrix’s Partner Marketing Manager Mary Beth Cooke, and VoiceComm’s Chief Growth Officer Justin Drage to shed some light on what the new digital experiences in retail look like.
The panel covered:
- Actionable insights and tips you can implement today to fuel your digital presence
- How to adapt and succeed in a post-quarantine retail environment
Seven key takeaways from this discussion:
1. Automation is essential for a smooth curbside and contactless delivery experience
Using technology and automation will help retailers to increase safety, reduce transaction times, and improve customer experience when it comes to curbside and contactless deliveries.
Implementing multichannel communications to cater to a broader spectrum of customers ensures there is minimal confusion.
2. Appointment-based store visits are the new norm
Appointment-based store visits guarantee a secure, uncrowded shopping environment. This exercise limits the number of shoppers present in the store at any given time and helps your customers to shop without feeling rushed or unsafe.
Adding appointment booking and appointment support features to your website, apps, and other channels will make it easier for your customers to schedule their visits.
3. An omnichannel strategy is pivotal to sales and customer loyalty in the current climate
Owing to the tech evolution over the past few years, your customers expect to be able to make a purchase or get information from any place, at any time, and from any channel. This expectation makes it essential for retailers to be present wherever their customers are making their purchasing decisions.
The dynamics of the customer-business interactions have shifted dramatically and can no longer be viewed in the binary context of online and offline. To succeed in this atmosphere of uncertainty, retailers need to employ a mix of brick-and-mortar channels, online platforms, and omnichannel journeys.
4. Personalization and segmentation are key considerations for a successful customer outreach program
A good customer experience versus a mediocre customer experience will make or break customer loyalty. Nurturing relationships with customers so that they keep coming back to you is of paramount importance.
Blasting a generic scripted message to your entire list of customers will do more harm than good. Sending personalized messages to target groups segmented based on purchase behavior will ensure higher chances of success.
Be conversational and human in your customer interactions and don’t forget to keep it casual.
5. Leverage social media platforms to educate customers
In this current climate of uncertainty and panic, social media can be an excellent, inexpensive tool to instill a sense of confidence and assurance in the minds of your customers.
You can leverage social media platforms to educate your audience on the different measures put in place to make their in-store experience safe. This will help in driving more traffic to your stores.
Social media can also be used to increase employee advocacy, to share your story with your communities, and to manage online reviews.
Share local content and easy-to-understand graphics of vital details and changes about the various store locations of your business.
6. Restructure KPIs and evaluate employee accountability metrics to boost employee morale
Involving employees in decision-making opportunities and encouraging transparency in communication will help your staff members feel safe to work in stores.
Ensure the continuation of tools and processes introduced during the lockdown period so that the frontline workers can count on their safety being your top priority.
The customer waiting period and transaction times can continue to be one of the key metrics for performance evaluation.
7. Keep in mind the target audience demographics when planning the omnichannel strategy
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for adopting an omnichannel strategy in retail. The crawl-walk-run strategy can help determine what channels to use to guide the customers along with various phases of their customer journey.
Taking a long-term approach when planning your omnichannel strategy is crucial. The easiest place to start with this regard is your existing customer base. Encourage them to subscribe to your various marketing channels and tailor your strategy as per their feedback.