In the light of recent events that left everyone wondering how to come out of the situation and cope up with it. The pandemic however has been one odd situation in the last few decades, and in fact if you think about it, due to the rapid technological evolution Retail industry has to go through a lot of changes which give birth to new challenges every now and then.
With the best thoughts, we are starting off with 2021 and hoping that it will be better than the past year for the retail industry, still, there are certain questions that constantly buzz around, for example: what are these new challenges? How is the retail industry preparing to deal with consumer aspirations and their growing demands? Is the industry ready with new strategies to deal with competition?
Let’s take a look at a few major challenges that the retail industry will face in 2021.
Rapid digital growth
Digital disruption is ongoing, and it is most likely to grow over the upcoming years which is not surprising, given the fact that the whole pandemic situation has put everyone in a position where consumers now prefer e-commerce platforms more than going into the stores to buy what they need and put their life at risk. This health crisis has affected consumer mindset and while people do wish situations to get better and that things can go back to normal as soon as possible, there is a sense of comfort in shopping online and getting products delivered to your doorstep. Even though many customers prefer in-person shopping experiences more, they usually research the product online before stepping out. This can be an opportunity for retailers to grow their business online and take advantage of digital disruption. The transition may not look easy but it's better to start now than to regret it later.
According to Forrester, 69% of U.S. customers shop more with retailers that offer consistent customer service online and offline.
Adapting new normal protocol to ensure maximum safety for customers and staff workers
This is a huge thing now to make sure stores are following all the safety precautions, since the malls and local markets are open now, chances of virus transmission are always high, and in order to avoid any such things to happen, there are a number of things retailers have to follow, such as:
a. Avoid crowding and allowing only a few numbers of customers to enter the store at a time.
b. Encouraging all customers to maintain social distancing by at least 6 feet.
c. Encouraging customers and staff members to always wear masks.
d. Regular sanitation and disinfecting the entire store to maintain hygiene.
e. Encouraging customers and staff members to sanitize their hands and a regular temperature check should be conducted when the customers enter the store, Etc.
Increasing customer expectations and maintain customer loyalty
This is the most important one after taking care of all the safety measures, with the new normal retailers have to also deal with the new customer expectations and keeping up with demands isn’t easy. Paying attention to details is much needed and keeping a close check on customer signals is important to maintain your customer relationship. This is a factor that is constant, in the sense that consumer expectations can and will keep changing, sometimes quicker than your expectations. Now more than ever, the retail industry will have to focus more on delivering a positive customer experience, as this is the glue that will hold your customers and their loyalties towards your brand or company together. For Example: Start Customer focus groups that can put all their energies into understanding what and how your customer feels about your overall services. Provide customer survey cards or add a suggestion box for your customers. These are just some of the examples that make a huge difference leaving a long-lasting impact on customers that you are interested in their feedback and care about their inputs and expectations.
Customer feedback is everything
With the health crisis, digital disruption, and ever-increasing customer expectations, paying attention to customer feedback can help you overcome many challenges. As discussed above, customers now focus more on online reviews and feedback provided by other customers about your product/services. Their decisions are highly affected by what other people have to say about your brand. Customers now switch brands and companies in a click, with an overwhelming number of choices and growing competition, retailers need to focus on customer feedback.
According to a study published by Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when brands offer experiences personalized to them.
Offering personalized services can potentially help customers and the business all the once. For example: when a customer visits your website, based on their past purchases, you provide them with suggestions. Or if it's a new customer signing up for your online business, provide them a questionnaire including questions about their choices of colors, occasions, size & fits, and mood. It's a great idea that is incorporated by most of the brands these days to help customers save time and energy in browsing through multiple choices. Also, sending them reminders about their cart items and offering them discounts to come back and finish their shopping or just a nudge that the items in the cart they left behind may get sold out soon.
Retailers have fair chances of coping up with what has happened in the past and make up for the loss by following these important points and by delivering a positive customer experience and also by avoiding anything that might even slightly trigger customers to give bad feedback and online reviews.
At Dropthought we believe that to build a sustainable relationship with a customer, we must value their feedback. We believe in building a situation-based and feedback-centric client engagement plan that will not only help businesses to leverage the data collected abundantly but also if done right this can turn into a long-lasting opportunity to keep your customers intact and keep the revenue bar up and running. Your customers can express their opinions through the surveys and provide suggestions about your services, staff behavior, hygiene factors, and more throughout their customer journey.
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