The ongoing economic uncertainty is creating several challenges for retailers. It has made consumers more frugal, negatively impacted overall sales in the U.S., which rose just 0.4% in April. This clearly indicates they are becoming more spend conscious due to the increased cost of living.
In addition, recession fears continue to be a point of concern for retailers. To remain resilient throughout economic challenges and maximize sales, retailers must stay prepared to weather any anticipated slumps. This requires the ability to analyze trends and shoppers’ habits on a frequent basis, staying up to date while more accurately planning for the future.
Evolving with changing customer preferences allows retailers to thrive in today’s retail environment. However, to plan and stay prepared for the future, it is essential to utilize consumer behavioral data and build a strategic action plan based on information.
For instance, despite the significant drop in sales, ecommerce sales grew 8% in April, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, likely as a result of thrifty consumers seeking better deals online across various platforms. What can retailers learn from this?
It clearly indicates that regardless of tightened purse strings, shoppers are still ready to spend for great deals that they find are valuable to them. While brick-and-mortar is making a comeback, ecommerce is still significant. Discounts and offers on products that fit customers’ specific needs can positively impact purchasing decisions. However, simply offering generalized discounts may not be enough in today’s hyper-competitive envionrment.
Retailers need to be able to offer individualized discounts and curated product suggestions for their customers based on their purchasing habits, frequency of visits, budgets, and preferences. Importantly, they need to be able to curate these offers regularly.
Harnessing Real-Time Insights
Retailers can leverage real-time data to create individualized offers for their customers. For example, if customers often purchase a product of a specific category or brand, a retailer should be able to identify this and create special offers to suit customer demand. This can be achieved through cutting-edge automation and real-time information.
Personalization has long been on the list of retailers’ priorities to stand out from their competition. However, in order to unlock its true potential, retailers must holistically involve it at every touchpoint of the customer purchasing journey, including in-store experience, product suggestions on e-commerce platforms, pricing, discounts, and offers.
Modern clienteling and CRM tools, which are integrated with other retail solutions such as POS, ecommerce platforms and order management systems (OMS), allow retailers to segment customers based on their interactions across all platforms. This allows retailers to gain valuable insights about their customers and curate offers.
Deploying a single solution that can create universal customer profiles linked to all sales platforms can simplify operations and provide retailers with a competitive advantage, further strengthening their omnichannel capabilities.
Creating Unified Commerce
To take omnichannel to the next level, consider connecting your back-end systems with customer-facing platforms through a single retail solution. This can provide a clear vision in one place, allowing you to identify gaps and channel your focus in priority areas. You can also leverage this strategy to manage performance and provide the ultimate customer experience consistently on each platform.
When a customer’s desired item is out of stock in store, retailers can update this through mobile POS connected to their tech stack. When the item is back in stock, associates can send curated texts and emails to customers, updating them about the product’s arrival, while also suggesting the same item during the customer’s ecommerce interaction.
All this can help retailers increase sales significantly by selling products that they’ve been long waiting for. By not spamming customers with generalized emails, but only sending curated, relevant communications, you create meaningful interactions. This also boosts loyalty by making each interaction valuable.
Retailers that win the loyalty of their existing and new customers will more easily thrive through the economic slowdown, scaling sustainable growth.
Amber Hovious is VP of Marketing and Partnerships at Teamwork Commerce