Service Essentials that Continue to Win with Consumers
April 27, 2022
As we round out year two of these historic times, the approach to retail will be forever changed – punctuated with a strong focus on online shopping more than ever before. This has been a popular shopping choice for years, but the pandemic is continuing to focus retailers on compressing their innovation cycles. Purchases will be made through apps, chat, social commerce, and even personal shoppers transacting over email for clients– especially for hard to find or limited-edition products. With supply chain challenges persisting, the shopping experience must always remain innovative and creative to sustain the bottom lines of brands who have endured the pandemic. Buyers may even find themselves in sensory overload from sitting in front of their computers and devices more than ever, and it will be up to each retailer to differentiate their brand and drive consumer behavior towards their bottom line.
As brands look to capitalize on this retail revolution, retain loyal customers and attract new ones – there are several key strategies that will drive results right now:
- Be Honest and Authentic in Your Connections: Research shows that the coveted Millennial and GenZ consumers want to engage with brands that have a definitive point of view on social, business, and environmental topics. As a brand, you cannot be non-committal or neutral on important generational issues. Part of being authentic is to find a way to consistently express your brand values, so you connect with your desired consumer . Athletica is a great example of a brand that is leading with a core social statement. When you log into Athletica’s app, the first screen you see is that they are a “Proud Certified B Corp”. You do not see products, offers, or other advertising. Instead, you see this strong statement about their commitment to a social movement that balances their supply chain, employees, and environmental impact with their profit. This is another way to connect with the heart of your consumers and drive that authentic brand connection.
- Create an online customer journey that is efficient, but highly personal, insight-driven or purpose-led. That means upgrading photography, increasing available chat, and AI investments that allow consumers to get to smart recommendations quickly, and highlight a strong brand point of view. As an example, leveraging purchase history to create a beautiful, immersive, personal, must-have themed list with a connected list of TikTok or Instagram-related content, or offering a specialized set of experiences that are crafted around a set of product offerings like a great hiking experience with the products that make it extra special.
- Client-centric focus: Lululemon has enjoyed a profitable ride through the pandemic fueled by their long-standing relentless focus on being client-centric. Their commitment to target personas, active social media presence supporting these personas, collaboration with influencers who understand these personas, and the client-oriented approach is driving their successful strategies. This important concept is utilized by most of the profitable pandemic retailers.
- Highly Responsive Customer Service through all platforms. If you offer chat on your website or through your app, it better be responsive with very short wait times and not a generic bot. Right now, consumers want – and expect – care, accuracy, and immediacy in communication. A great chat environment paired with a human investment can dramatically improve speedy resolution and engender customer loyalty.
The traditional shopping approaches will continue to be important, but retailers must find new approaches to tap into consumer sentiment, create trust, and build customer loyalty as customers adapt their shopping habits to today’s rapidly changing and easily influenced consumer journeys. Retailers have an opportunity to deliver what every consumer wants: shopping experiences powered by exciting, new moments that surprise and delight and ultimately help recapture the thrill of shopping.