By Akshay Deogiri
The COVID pandemic took its toll on all types of businesses. Even big brands had to face a lot of challenges in recent times. The retailers, in particular, bore the brunt of the devastating economic slowdown. The speed with which the virus is spreading is taking a lot of enterprises by surprise.
But such times of great crisis are also times of fine opportunities. The retailers have to reorganize their strategy for the future. They cannot afford to be complacent as the consumer market has become volatile. These enterprises have to focus on enhanced customer experiences at any cost.
Research shows that retail sales fell in 2020 by 9.6 percent due to the crisis. Consumers have become more discerning about their spending. Besides, customers became more demanding due to confusion, fear, and social isolation. Also, masks and lockdowns did not boost their shopping morale.
Small and big businesses have to pick up the gauntlet in such circumstances. They have to be resilient and innovative new solutions. These strategies have to benefit the customers by delivering an efficient shopping experience. Besides, the safety of retail shoppers has become paramount.
Enhance the customers’ experience by prioritizing their needs. Do not neglect health and hygiene standards at any time. If you believe that things would go back to normal once, there is a vaccine in the market, or after the herd immunity jumps in, you’re mistaken.
People would still be in the claws of doubt and fear. Moreover, the requirements of customers who are coming out of months of lockdown would be unique and demanding. So how can you keep up with the shopping experience and boost your sales after the pandemic?
In part one of this two-part blog, we reveal three key strategies to improve the overall quality of retail services. Follow along below:
Make customers your priority
Businesses design and deliver high-quality products and services. They all aspire to win over a loyal customer base. Irrespective of real-world situations, the consumer is the king. These buyers aspire for robust products at affordable rates. So, you have to ensure value for money without any slack, even when your delivery system or workforce is not up to the expectations.
The modern customers are also ambitious and discerning. They are very demanding about quality, speed, and reliability. As a retailer, it is your job to live up to such enormous expectations. And you can do so only by offering the best products. Thus, you need to partner with suppliers who can provide reliable products without delay or excuses involving pandemic.
Your retail store might get a boost of orders from customers who are weaning out of the lockdown. You ought to keep the required resources in hand to deal with this traffic. For instance, your website might get loads of visitors, and your server should handle the traffic.
The customer develops an affinity for durable products. But he or she is also on the lookout for pleasing shopping experiences. So, your services have to factor in this reality without any bias. Make sure you build a strong brand value based on the consumer’s perception.
But at the same time, never lose track of the fact that you cannot rest on old laurels. How your brand performed before the virus outbreak has little to no effect on customers. According to many studies, loyal customers shifted to other reliable brands that offered products even during desperate times.
Provide engaging content with QR codes
The COVID crisis has been a revealing experience for both retailers and buyers. The shoppers are cautious about the nature and quality of products. They are also keener on getting all the information about these items. Do not expect consumers to place orders in the future casually.
Yes, retail businesses have to engage the customers in an impactful manner. They cannot be complacent or negligent of the customers’ preferences. The best brands have to be proactive and offer detailed information on the products. Expand the digital assets and ensure a memorable and informative experience for the buyers. Capture the markets’ pulse at the right time and capitalize.
Provide online shoppers with product descriptions, ratings, and reviews. These might congest the look of the packaging or your brochure.
The best alternative is QR codes. Use attractive QR codes for information, contests, discounts, and more. Moreover, the customers can get all the required details on a sale without talking to a salesperson. Remember that even after the pandemic, the fear of social contact would stay longer.
Thus, QR code based information sharing would be a better alternative than hiring more staff to deal with customer queries. For example, Nissan launched QR codes on the vehicle windows for the customers to learn more about the vehicle without talking to a salesperson.
You can also enhance the customer’s experience through transparency. You can take the initiative and be upfront about the pricing. Do not surprise the buyers with hidden charges and dubious cost estimates. Be a friendly company and win the consumer’s loyalty with reasonable, transparent prices. Also, do not be shy about sharing your brand’s reputation and worth. Customers love to shop at retailers who have higher ratings and rankings. Share these positive reviews, and reassure the buyers of your positive brand image.
Offer a personalized experience
Modern shoppers like to stand apart and make a fashion statement. They are also very conscious of their specific tastes and preferences. As a retailer, you cannot ignore the customer’s needs anymore. Due to the COVID pandemic, the personalized shopping experience gained prominence.
If you are wondering why, it is because of one word – choice. Yes, customers enjoyed a variety of purchase options via social marketing, e-commerce, QR code-based TV commercials, and more. As they recover from social distancing, they look for more choices to ensure a degree of freedom. And you have to provide such an enriching and healthy experience at any cost.
Invest in technology and design a multi-channel strategy. Engage the customers across various touchpoints. Participate in online commerce with vigor and deliver products safely and securely.
Personalized experiences ensure seamless interaction for the customer. He or she will show a desire to come back to your store or website for more purchases. But you have to make the engagement and delivery models more efficient. Improve the front-end experience to create a powerful brand.
Create customer profiles to track their needs, tastes, and choices. Support them on social media and drop in a surprise welcome email or e-coupon. Empower the checkout staff, and systematize the customer-facing operations. You can also choose a QR code checkout to facilitate self-service and rely on feedback and analytics to deliver a tailor-made service. You can use technologies that enable zero-contact payment processes too. For instance, Paypal uses QR codes to offer contactless payment.
Akshay Deogiri is an SEO Outreach Specialist at Beaconstac, enabling businesses to bridge their gap between the digital and offline worlds through custom QR codes.