Written by Stephanie Chan, July 24, 2020
As Covid-19 continues to be a threat to many countries around the world, the impact on physical retail stores will continue to suffer as lock downs, quarantines and store closing continue. While consumers are not able to shop in their favorite brick-and-mortar stores, many have turned to the online version of their favorite retailers, or have found more competitive options in their product searches. In fact, customer conversion rates have surged during the pandemic and customer acquisition cost have lowered significantly in the US. This is an opportunity to engage existing customers and snatch up new ones by beefing up the e-commerce platform, leverage paid ads on media, improve customer service, and monitor customer behavior trends to take the appropriate action.
Beef Up E-commerce Platforms
Some retailers depend on brick-and-mortar store sales and don’t have a well-designed or well-maintained e-commerce platform to support the flood of new customers. Customers who previously bought in-store have now converted to online shopping, and it is imperative that the platforms are simple and facilitate easy and fast transactions. Adding an app on the E-commerce platform will also help existing and new customers to browse and eventually purchase. Another method to enhance the platform is to add additional payment options to accommodate various types of customers and their purchase habits. For example, adding options for split payments may help people during economic downtime and gain loyal customers.
Leverage Paid Ads on Media
With online sales booming, customer acquisition costs are significantly lower and conversion rates are higher, at least in the US. More people are turning away from their usual brands and buying cheaper retail private brands. Which in turn, gives way to opportunities to boost current digital marketing efforts. At the same time, experimenting with new methods of customer acquisition won’t hurt as much as the stakes are lower. The bottom line is, more digital ads will generate awareness and convert to sales for your business if done properly.
Good Customer Service
Excellent customer service will be the key to success. It is not only about selling good products, but offering the advice, answers, and even compassion to customers who are most likely stressed under the Covid-19 conditions. Customers also expect fast and concise responses when they are trying to get essential supplies urgently. Therefore, multiple channels of communication should be implemented so that customers have various ways to contact customer service. It is also important to be available with fast response times when the customer are in need.
Make sure everything is clear on the E-commerce platform for your retail business, including pricing, policies, process, and methodologies. Discovering some policy issue after a purchase or upon a return will leave negative impressions and steer them away from coming back.
Monitor Customer Behaviors
Customer buying patterns and brand loyalty have changed amid the pandemic. Retailers should monitor existing customer behaviors in order to formulate strategies to retain and improve their loyalty. A good customer feedback system should in place to find out how customers view your brand and the online platform, so you can make adjustments rapidly as a response to the fast-changing dynamics in the current market.
While brick and mortar retail has taken a hit during the pandemic, E-commerce has benefited via increased engagement and transactions, potentially a semi-permanently shift in customer buying behavior as well. It is paramount that retailers embrace this change and invest in their E-commerce side of business by improving the platform, advertising, better customer service, and monitoring customer behaviors. By doing so retailers can reduce the impact from Covid on business operations, reclaim revenue loss from physical retail, and prepare for new trends that may emerge after the pandemic.
Written by Stephanie Chan, July 24, 2020