Many nations are either at the end or are close to the end of their lockdown periods. As such, businesses have begun re-opening in order to get the wheels of their economies rolling again. Operations at full capacity is still quite a ways off however, as strict cleaning regimens and safety protocols must still be adhered to during the recovery period. Regardless, the consumer shopping journey has changed dramatically, and is unlikely to return to the way it was before the outbreak.
Retail has been seeing a fast and dramatic change throughout the last decade. The digitisation of everyday life has changed the way consumers and businesses see the world. COVID-19 has merely accelerated this digitisation and has prompted e-commerce into a new era. While many have experienced significant financial losses as a result of the pandemic, the coronavirus has also brought with it interesting new opportunities in the market to rise, such as marketplaces, business optimisation and innovative e-commerce subchannels.
It is times like these that show retailers how loyal their customer base really is and how they are doing in earning that loyalty. Retailers who are able to stay engaged in a personalised way and provide an experience with multiple layers of value will generally have a loyal customer base that sticks with them even during these trying times.
However, never forget that these are tough times. As such, marketing teams need to be extra sensitive when interacting with customers. Understanding what problems your customers are faced with now and tailoring the right messaging and offerings around exactly that will help them understand what their favourite brands stand for and build deeper, stronger relationships.
Even after the pandemic subsides, customers will still be cautious with their spending. As economies begin to re-open, spending will gradually increase. But for the time being, most will be thrifty with their cash as uncertainty still hangs in the air. The global economy has taken a significant hit during the pandemic and consumer spending will likely change as people grapple with changing working situations and decreased discretionary incomes.
In order to provide a more empathetic experience for the customers, discounts, promotions, and other marketing incentives will be key to open up consumer wallets once again. But that’s not the only thing, low cost and free delivery services that offered convenience and value long before the coronavirus will now become a necessity for all retailers to ensure consumers’ peace of mind and maintain spending. Retailers will need to find easy and fast delivery service partnerships as most consumers will likely ere on the side of caution and continue to prefer delivery over brick & mortar retail.
The past few months have proven that retail cannot wait for a global crisis such as a health pandemic to prioritise the customer experience and loyalty. Crises such as these cannot be predicted by anyone. As such, businesses need to expand their core offerings into multiple layers of value that can appeal to consumers during such a crisis. Make your offerings personalised and convenient. By doing so, you will provide consumers with a safety net and reassurance during uncertainty and solidify your brand as a helping hand during times of need.