The recovery has dominated the news cycle and the recovery in retail is no exception. Every day we see images of shoppers returning to stores, reopening restaurants, and travelers returning to beaches and popular destinations.
People are getting back to work and their routines, but what does this mean for the countless merchants who have embraced e-commerce to stay afloat? What about business owners who have redesigned their model from retail to direct-to-consumer, and grown because of it? How can these businesses survive the retail recovery?
Fortunately, there are a number of avenues available if you want to go back to the traditional model while still maintaining the growth and tools you adopted during the pandemic. With technology comes integration, and you can enjoy the best of in-store and e-commerce experiences.
Ecommerce Tools to Build a Better Business
In e-commerce, data drives everything. Customer profiles generate unique experiences for consumer engagement and turn clicks into sales. For businesses just new to the power of data-driven marketing, it can be an invaluable tool for digitally interacting with customers. As the world closed its doors in 2020, many of these online experiences replaced in-store opportunities. As the world reopens, customers crave personal interaction and service, and data can help that experience.
By creating pipelines to drive in-store sales data to e-commerce tools, you can continue to deliver personalized shopping experiences. These tools can then process that data and turn it into something real, on a scale otherwise impossible without machine learning tools. The trends and preferences of hundreds of thousands of consumers need to be addressed in real time to keep you up to date, a task impossible without a digital tool to handle the sheer volume of data.
Use various channels to reach new audiences
Some consumers hated the move from personal experiences to e-commerce, while others fully embraced the increased attention and investment in digital shopping and mobile commerce. When merchants entered e-commerce, they opened up to new customers who preferred the virtual environment. From now on, it will be important not only to support them, but also to use the lessons learned to better serve customers who prefer an in-store experience.
Retailers who have adopted a mobile-focused methodology in e-commerce have seen one of the biggest successes over the past year, and this trend isn’t going away anytime soon. As such, maybe it’s time to consider developing an app to tie in-store experiences with the convenience of e-commerce. It may also be time to direct these online consumers to stores with tailored opportunities, bringing them into a setting where merchants have their full attention.
Use technology, but don’t throw away what works
Consumers crave convenience, and 2020 has shown us how quickly they will adapt to new technologies. Digital wallets, personalized product recommendations, and one-click shopping have had a huge impact on reducing cart abandonment and improving the customer experience. While stores create a unique environment, advancements in e-commerce have made it more convenient and faster than ever.
Payment tools from Apple, Google, PayPal, and Samsung have all played a role in transforming the payment experience. Customers no longer have to endure tedious entry of billing information, often making purchases with one click. This same convenience can be brought to your physical store by ensuring that your checkout / POS can accept mobile payment apps.
There are countless tools on the market that can handle the massive amount of data needed to deliver personalized customer experiences. These same tools can and should be used when reopening stores and returning customers.
Brands that have seen growth in 2020 have already taken a huge step in adapting to changing times and new consumer needs as the retail industry picks up. This adaptability shouldn’t stop at the store checkout. Investing in technology will allow you to stay on top of current trends, keep customer needs up to date, and adopt the latest tools to streamline your business while continuing to grow.
Zee Aganovic is the CEO and co-founder of HiConversion