Retail: how Covid-19 has transformed your loyalty levers in your omnichannel journey
Published on 26 March 2021
Online sales, click and collect or ship-from-store... Hard hit by the health and economic crisis, the retail sector has adapted by accelerating its omnichannel transformation. As the boundaries between physical and digital stores become increasingly blurred, having a truly unified customer journey is the most successful response to changing consumer behavior. But offering a fluid and unique customer experience through traditional loyalty programs, which have been undermined by the crisis, is no longer enough to ensure a customer's unfailing loyalty. It's time to dig deeper and deeper into the relationship! Explanations.
Loyalty : a lasting and personalized relationship!
Loyalty is the art of creating and maintaining a lasting and personal relationship with your customers. A key concept, but sometimes overlooked: the "personal relationship". Stores have many digital tools at their disposal to offer a unique and truly customized experience to their visitors.
This "personalization" is largely measured in the support offered to customers and therefore in the additional services that the brand will put in place such as e-booking, click & collect or consultation of the state of stocks in real time. The benefits of this strategy ? Customer searches that lead to products that are adapted to them, time savings in their customer journey, optimization of the store's efforts to convert them and a relationship of trust that generates commitment. It was a revolution, it is now a prerequisite to generate cross sell and upsell, or to improve its conversion rate.
Mobile application: the cornerstone of a personalized customer experience
To start thinking further, you have to think mobile. The long hours of confinement and curfew have really made m-commerce and social selling take off, just like the figures published by FEVAD in its 2020 e-commerce report: 41.3% of online purchases were made from a smartphone. And at the same time, this time spent on mobile gives more time to compare offers, to test new brands, etc... It is therefore particularly important to take care of the purchase on mobile, the final step of a mobile customer journey that should be optimized and ritualized by proposing for example:
- responsive catalogs, updated according to availability in store
- product descriptions and customer reviews thanks to QR codes
The use of Beacons is also a good opportunity to get to know your customers better while they are in the store. This wireless sensor works with Bluetooth technology and can locate mobile devices up to 70 meters away. If the retailer's mobile application is installed on the visitor's smartphone, it will automatically detect the signals emitted by the beacons. The mobile application can then record all interactions, track the customer journey, and trigger marketing actions, such as sending a discount coupon by SMS to trigger a purchase, information pushes or an invitation to participate in an event. The point of sale can not only track and measure its traffic, the time of visit, the path traveled by the customer, but also identify the most frequented departments. Beacons allow retailers to improve their in-store services and thus increase customer satisfaction. For example, thanks to Beacons, a salesperson can be warned in advance of a customer's arrival to pick up a purchase and thus anticipate his request by bringing him his order directly. This is an additional step in personalization, but also in the humanization and deepening of the relationship, necessary when social links become distended…
Deploy a customer centric strategy with better data management
This is the main challenge for loyalty in 2021: to succeed in creating a lasting relationship. According to the Symmetry of Attention 2021 barometer, only 42% of customers say that companies show consideration for them. 44% even said they were frustrated in 2019, according to Bazaarvoice's Shopper Experience Index, when retailers don't offer them relevant personalized experiences.
It is difficult to build a personalized relationship without taking into account the history of exchanges. Sometimes siloed, the management of sales channels can be unified with the help of management solutions. These solutions transport sales and customer data throughout the purchasing process, synchronizing sensitive data and ensuring consistent processing quality and the same level of information, regardless of the channel used by the customer. The benefits? Centralized management of purchasing behavior: popular products, stores visited, payment and delivery preferences. Far from just transactional behavior, these solutions also measure activity on social networks and recommendations.
This centralized and cross-channel vision makes it possible to define membership groups based on past activities and naturally leads to targeted loyalty actions: dematerialized loyalty card, physical card, membership in a club with a sponsorship program, free or paid program, gift certificate. In terms of loyalty, the benefits and rewards can be varied. Another tool not to be neglected to accompany the customer's life cycle is the use of emailing or SMS to welcome them, celebrate their birthday or even follow up on a long period of inactivity.
At the end of the circuit, management solutions will also make it possible to centralize loyalty programs (rules engine, points management, scoring, benefits management) and to adjust their effectiveness as best as possible.
Customer centric strategy: listen before you act
In order to deploy successful actions, customer feedback systems remain the best levers for understanding their expectations and adapting your services in near real time, in a context that never stops changing! Satisfaction surveys, needs analysis, and barometers must be rethought to highlight new issues (health safety issues) or the quality of new omnichannel services (mobile application, click & collect, etc.). This is the best way to constantly monitor the best possible experience throughout the customer journey and anticipate dissatisfaction. When used properly, these devices can even help you reinject an essential element into your customer journey: fun and surprise, two elements that your customers are increasingly expecting after more than a year of social restrictions...