Changing consumer behaviour has caused a shift in the retail industry recently. This may not sound different from the norm, but it is, especially when considering how quickly retail trends accelerated in 2020. Data analysts reported that changes predicted to happen over years instead became established within mere weeks. In May 2020, with the lockdown’s impact on high street shopping, online sales accounted for a record-breaking 33.4% of all retailing. Now, over the peak Christmas shopping season, retailers must continue advancing their digital experiences to stay relevant and maintain customer relationships, when they have become more critical than ever.
The value of strong digital experiences
This year, to gain a competitive edge, retailers need to bring the atmosphere of the sparkling, seasonal window display to their digital touch points – and to make the consumer experience seamless, whether they are converting from offline to online, or shopping purely online. Despite the rising complexity of the customer journey, 86% of shoppers rank convenience as their primary motivator for online purchases. As a result, retailers need to create digital experiences that meet consumer demand for speed, efficiency, and engagement. To do this effectively in a period of rapid change, brands must rely on in-depth consumer insights to gain an understanding of what, when, and how shoppers are buying online.
Reconnect with consumers through online experiences
Convenience and engagement don’t look the same for every customer. This is why having a real-time view of consumer habits and being able to swiftly innovate digital experiences in response is crucial. Most likely, retailers have a rich store of historical data, from both offline and online channels, which they can leverage to determine seasonal trends. Using this when personalising the digital experience is key, particularly in the uncertain times we all now live in. By identifying and delivering shoppers’ wants and needs, retailers can dramatically improve the online shopping journey, connecting with customers in a way that generates on-going loyalty.
How retailers can future-proof the digital experience
Predicting customer behaviour and how to respond to their wants and needs can be difficult, especially if retailers have marketing tools and data silos that aren’t unified effectively. A Customer Data Platform (CDP) can be key to using all relevant information to connect with long-term customers and also target new ones. These platforms provide a flexible way to integrate with all customer touch-point applications – including the website, apps and emails – to ensure a seamless personalisation experience. It is essential that retailers monitor the behaviour of their consumers – especially as they are now having to prioritise ecommerce – and a CDP will give them the ability to activate the data collected about their purchasing preferences, which can in turn help them to make decisions to enhance the customer journey with precisely targeted and personalised recommendations.
During the most competitive shopping period, retailers who innovate their online experiences will stay relevant this festive season. By placing an engaging, personalised, and convenient consumer journey at shoppers’ fingertips, brands will not only witness significant boosts to their seasonal revenue, but implement processes that can strengthen digital experiences in the months and years ahead.
Steve Carrod, Co-Founder and Managing Director, DMPG