This is the time of the year when people across the globe take a break from their usual routine and spend some quality time with their friends and family. It’s also the time when consumers throng retail stores to get their last-minute shopping done. However, this year is different. With the ongoing pandemic, consumers are largely sticking to their homes and getting their shopping done online.
According to a Mckinsey study, during the pandemic, 75% of consumers were found to have changed brands. This is an interesting behavioral insight. It means that consumers became more open to try other brands which they wouldn’t have done in the normal scenario. The reasons here could be many such as better digital experiences, better offers, or it could be as simple as they were bored and wanted to try a new brand.
How can retail marketers turn this situation to their advantage? How can they drive growth during this year’s pandemic-struck holiday season? Let’s see how:
How Retailers Can Drive Growth During the Holiday Season
1. Deliver Next Best Personalized Experiences
As consumers are confined to their homes, offline store visits will be minimal. The only way retailers can drive growth, in this case, is via their online offerings. If they can optimize their digital assets such as their website to attract customers, they can recover the business momentum that they lost when the pandemic was at its peak.
A great and simple user-friendly website or mobile app is the first step to consider.
Secondly, the digital asset should be ably supported by a martech tool such as a Customer Data Platform (CDP). A CDP has the ability to can easily integrate with your existing martech stack and stitch user data across channels, devices, systems into one central location. The unified view of each user gives ample insights that markets can use to craft next best experiences.
Personalization is the crucial final step that affirms a customer’s loyalty to a brand. A personalized next best experience speaks volumes of how much a brand cares about each user. Using the CDP’s unified view, retail marketers can easily understand each customer’s needs and craft their next best experience accordingly.
2. Leverage Digital Channels As Per Customer Preferences
Customers have their own preferences when it comes to which channels they want to use to interact with brands. Either it could be website channels such as web push notifications or it could be email or SMS or even a chatbot. Different customers have different channel preferences. If marketers can recognize this channel propensity of their users, they can deliver their personalized marketing campaigns only on these preferred channels. Users will definitely appreciate this gesture and understand that the brand exactly knows where to get in touch with them.
A CDP can again help marketers here by giving them channel propensity insights for each individual user. For example, if a user’s preferred channels are email and SMS, you need to make sure that you engage with him/her only on those channels.
3. Go All Out On Social Media
Social media is every marketer’s best weapon that needs to be used wisely. The right move can work wonders for your brand and help in boosting customer acquisition. The wrong move can tarnish your brand’s reputation and negatively impact your business.
During this pandemic, many retailers are making use of social media to spread awareness about the dos and don’ts about keeping COVID at bay. A carefully crafted campaign that resonates well with your customer is what you should be aiming for. Once that succeeds, your brand’s reputation will automatically surge in the eyes of your customer. And they will mostly consider your brand when they choose to buy some product that they want.
A great example of this is the US retail giant, Target. Target created content around COVID and posted them on its YouTube channel. The video content featured a playlist that aimed at helping shoppers during COVID, health and safety tips, and measures taken by the company to make the in-store shopping experience safe and smooth. Therefore, instead of focusing on selling its products directly, the company used an approach that emotionally connected with consumers.
4. Create a Consistent Digital Customer Experience
A consistent omnichannel digital experience gives the assurance that a brand is serious about retaining customers by giving them the best experience across channels. Regardless of the number of channels that a customer uses, marketers should design and deliver a consistent experience on each of these channels. The idea is to provide your target audience with a cohesive, seamless, and consistent experience irrespective of the channels or devices that they use.
As a retail marketer, you can again use a CDP to assist you in providing a consistent digital customer experience. Extracting valuable insights from a CDP’s unified view can enable you to tailor your personalized messages on a user’s preferred channels and also keep them consistent.
For example, customers who prefer to interact with your brand via website channels should only be engaged on those channels. Engaging them on channels such as SMS or chatbot will not elicit a response. Moreover, the messaging needs to be the same for each channel. It cannot be different for different channels.
This holiday season is unlike anything that we have seen to date. It’s time that retail marketers get on to the digital bandwagon and fire on all cylinders to drive growth for their respective organizations.
“You can’t wait for customers to come to you. You have to figure out where they are, go there and drag them back to your store.” – Paul Graham
By Bijoy K.B | Senior Associate Marketing at Lemnisk