In this blog series we are taking a look at how different industries can bounce back better from COVID-19 by leveraging lessons learned over the course of the pandemic about consumer behavior. This installment will look at one of the most diverse segments that has experienced mixed fortunes during the pandemic and still needs to bounce back with care: retailers (and their electronic counterparts). You can check out the previous posts here.
Truth be told, the retail industry had been in flux for a number of years starting even before the pandemic. The gradual shift to digital commerce, the closures of brick-and-mortar locations and the doom and gloom surrounding shopping malls were strong winds that buffeted retailers around the world. The pandemic significantly amplified these trends. Clearly this was partially fueled by economic reasons; lockdowns and restrictions made closing store locations a painful but obvious choice. Perhaps more disruptive, however, was the social impact, as health concerns may convince people to continue shopping from the reassuring safety of their computers.
The more the scales tilt towards online revenues, the harder it will be for retail chains to preserve a delicate balance: maintaining enough of a physical presence to preserve mindshare and attract in-person shoppers while investing in a coordinated online sales strategy that can outperform a dozen store locations. The alarms are sounding for retailers that are outside of the top 3 in their field, due to two troubling trends: 1) There has been consolidation around larger e-commerce platforms, that benefited enormously from their wide product range and strong fulfillment capabilities, and 2) The bonds of customer loyalty have weakened during the pandemic, like muscles that haven’t been used. This creates opportunity for competitors who have been active and effective, for example, over social networks.
- The pandemic forced the remaining holdouts, who had avoided online shopping, to overcome their reluctance and start buying. This means that the addressable audience of your online strategy has grown.
- Mobile phones, in particular, became the device of choice for many shoppers, a habit that can be expected to stick as convenience is addictive.
- With entertainment and travel options limited throughout the pandemic, a bigger slice of household spending is available for shopping and there is still pent up demand to spend. Retail shopping provides the desired instant gratification for such ‘revenge shopping’.
COVID Business Recovery: We Have Your Back
Anagog’s unique Mobile Engagement Platform allows retailers to hyper-personalize their engagement with their customers as part of their mobile app strategy, based on a variety of first-party data. You can offer each individual customer benefits, discounts, recommendations and content that are relevant to them based on their preferences, interests and hobbies, and deliver those offers at the right time for them to be useful and welcome. Keeping all the relevant data about a user’s shopping behavior available on the phone, instead of uploaded to a cloud, allows you to target users with very specific offers without compromising their privacy. By combining all that with their real time context and location, you can also approach them when they are most likely to be approachable or leverage the best of both worlds and drive traffic to the stores while preserving the convenience of online shopping.
- Browsing is back: Even shoppers who reluctantly accepted online shopping during the pandemic will find it difficult to go back to fighting traffic and standing in line in order to visit the store. However, it remains challenging for online stores to replicate, or even substitute, the beloved in-store browsing experience. Seeing and touching products, feeling the thrill of an unexpected discovery or the excitement of a great deal on a product that’s usually priced higher; these are examples of what consumers love about physical shopping. If your brand has physical retail stores, this excitement should be preserved and cultivated. Shoppers buy more and buy impulsively when they are in-store. With Anagog’s real time engagement and rich range of first-party data, you can lure shoppers back in with intriguing offers and timely reminders.
- Where they go, you go: Even before the pandemic, 51% of shoppers with retail apps said they used them while in the store, so you are right there with them. This means that with Anagog in your app you can give them a more personalized shopping experience than they can get on their PC, and supercharge that with the real time context of knowing in which specific store they are (maybe even which aisle). Blending push notifications and in-app messages you can reward churn-risk customers for their loyalty, entice them to increase their basket size with tactical discounts based on their purchase behavior or steer them towards accessories that would work with previous purchases. There is a lot you can do to improve their experience and your performance.
- E-tailer Special: Experience matching: Even if you are an e-tailer with no physical locations, your app is likely to be used in-store for product information, reviews and price comparisons. Take it as a compliment and respond with love by offering more than just attractive prices (which can be matched). With hyper-personalized in-app messages you can offer them loyalty points, personalized coupons, queue-less checkout, expedited shipping and other product customizations, so you can close the sale before they leave your competitor’s fitting room.
- Finger on the pulse: Different customers will emerge from the pandemic in varying phases, due to individual circumstances (financial or other). With Anagog you can use the freshest first-party data and real time behavior (app and real world) to engage customers with Retention, Awareness and Loyalty campaigns, until they exhibit purchasing intent. This will allow you to reconnect individually and strengthen the relationship with each customer.
Contact us ensure you get a bounce in your top and bottom line.