Recovery has dominated the news cycle, and the retail recovery is no exception. Every day we see images of customers returning to stores, restaurants reopening and travelers returning to beaches and popular destinations.
People are returning to work and routines, but what does this mean for the countless merchants that embraced ecommerce to stay afloat? What about business owners who have rethought their model from retail-focused to direct to consumer, and grew because of it? How can these businesses survive the retail recovery?
Fortunately, there are a number of avenues available if you want to transition back to the traditional model while maintaining the growth and tools you embraced during the pandemic. With technology comes integration, and you can experience the best of both store experiences and online commerce.
Ecommerce Tools to Build a Better Business
In ecommerce, data powers everything. Customer profiles drive unique experiences for consumer engagement and turn clicks into sales. For businesses just discovering the power of data-driven marketing, it can be an invaluable tool for interacting with customers digitally. As the world closed down in 2020, many of these online experiences replaced in-store opportunities. As the world reopens, customers are craving personal interaction and service, and data can help drive that experience.
By creating pipelines for driving data from store sales to ecommerce tools, you can continue to deliver personalized shopping experiences. These tools can then process that data and turn it into something real, at a scale otherwise impossible without machine learning tools. Trends and preferences for hundreds of thousands of consumers need to be processed in real time in order for you to stay current, an impossible task without a digital tool to handle the sheer volume of data.
Use Diverse Channels to Reach New Audiences
Some consumers hated the change from personal experiences to ecommerce, while others fully embraced the increased attention and investment in digital shopping and mobile commerce. When merchants moved into ecommerce, they opened themselves up to new customers who preferred the virtual environment. Now, it will be important to not only support them but also use the lessons learned to better serve customers preferring an in-store experience.
Retailers that embraced a mobile-first methodology in ecommerce have experienced some of the greatest success over the past year, and that trend will not go away anytime soon. As such, it may be time to consider developing an app to link in-store experiences with the convenience of ecommerce. It might also be time to drive those online consumers into stores with tailored opportunities, bringing them into a setting where merchants have their full attention.
Use Tech, But Don’t Throw Out What Works
Consumers crave convenience, and 2020 showed us how quickly they’ll 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, advances in ecommerce 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 checkout experience. Customers no longer have to endure the tedious data entry of billing information, often completing purchases with one click. That same convenience can be brought to your physical store by ensuring your checkout/POS can accept mobile payment apps.
There are countless tools on the market that can manage the huge amount of data needed to deliver personalized customer experiences. These same tools can and should be used as stores reopen and customers return.
Brands that found growth in 2020 have already taken a considerable step in adapting to changing times and new consumer needs in the retail recovery. That adaptability should not end at the store checkout. Investing in technology will ensure you can stay on top of current trends, keep the needs of customers up to date and embrace the newest tools to streamline your business as you continue to grow.
Zee Aganovic is the CEO and Co-Founder of HiConversion