The pandemic has hit retail hard, with shopper habits more fragmented than ever. Premal Patel, Vice President Managing Director of Catalina UK, shares five strategies that can help convert shoppers into buyers in the post-lockdown world.
Over the past 18-months, the shopper landscape has changed significantly. Our Catalina Global Database of over 430 million shoppers tells us that more than 50% of shoppers have switched brands over the past year. They are shopping less, with grocery trips down by 12%, but spending more, favouring frozen and staple foods, over fresh perishable goods.
Retailers have also had to face an increase in multichannel shopping and a rise of new competitors over the past year, further fragmenting their customer base. Today, as lockdown restrictions ease, there is increasing pressure on retailers to regain lost footfall and secure their customers’ loyalty long-term to boost the bottom line.
With so much choice around how and where we now shop, regaining custom is not an easy task, but digging into the data, and truly understanding what makes your customers tick, can create a significant competitive advantage. If retailers can turn shoppers into buyers, and buyers into loyal fans, they can sustainably grow their sales.
By combining customer data with proven analytical models and evolving multi-channel options, as well as constantly measuring success, retailers can deliver hyper-personalised customer engagement and win loyalty for the long-term.
Here are a few ways that retailers can adapt to win back their custom, and boost their post-lockdown sales:
1.Refresh your data:
Shopper habits have changed dramatically due to the pandemic, with many shifting their lifestyle, buying habits and priorities. Retailers can no longer afford to rely on historic data. Today, it is more important than ever to take a fresh look at your data and redefine what success looks like. Look at your target customers – and potential new customers – and consider their changing media and shopping behaviours at every single touchpoint. Consider how and where you want them to engage with your brand. Are they investing in healthy or ethical eating? Are they shopping online more? Retailers must identify the key habits that are driving purchases and use this information to shape their engagement with customers.
2.Follow the Customer’s Lead:
Once you have gathered this data, you should use it to shape customer engagement strategies. Let emerging and lasting trends, such as ethical eating, pave the way. Be led by whatever it is that makes your customers reach for their wallet. It is essential that retailers link product offers or loyalty programmes with shifting purchasing preferences and trends. Retailers can then stand out by presenting personalised offers that meet those needs or trends for individuals, strengthening their connection and demonstrating that they truly understand their customers.
3.Be future focused:
Retailers can be more future focused and forward thinking than ever before thanks to predictive analytics tools. Today, specialist software can take data and make smart predictions about how the customer will interact with your business in the future in order to help you develop a long-term loyalty programme and create new and exciting solutions to engage your customers. It’s a window into how your customers think and behave and can help ensure that you are one step ahead, ready to capture vital sales in the future.
4.Personalise your engagement:
With all this data and insight at your disposal, a one-size-fits-all approach to customer loyalty simply will not do. Once you have identified how you want shoppers to interact with your brand before, it’s time to optimise and personalise your message for your shoppers. From incentives for multi-buys, buying an additional product from a favourite brand, or giving them a chance to win with an interactive gaming feature, loyalty today needs to be about more than just points. It’s time to get personal.
5.Bring back the joy of shopping:
If ever there was a time to bring back the joy in the shopping experience – whether online or instore – it is now. Delivering the best customer experience, both on and offline, is crucial. How retailers engage with customers between visits will significantly impact on their sales. Look at ways you can give customers an experience or offer that they will remember – one that adds value and prompts a truly engaging interaction with your brand. Give them a reason to enjoy shopping with you time and time again.
Customer loyalty has always been a key way that retailers can engage with shoppers and boost sales. But with consumer habits constantly evolving, retailers must be able to adapt quickly and find ways to use their data to win back customer loyalty. Those that embrace personalised, added-value incentives, will be the ones that see a healthy bottom line return in 2021 and beyond.