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How Retailers can Increase Customer Engagement in the New Normal

How Retailers can Increase Customer Engagement in the New Normal

How will retailers win post COVID-19? With the increasing adoption of eCommerce and customers going mobile first – omnichannel customer engagement may just be your winning strategy in the new normal

Coronavirus has accelerated retail digital transformation, and eCommerce adoptions that already taking place.

The crisis has increased online shopping, adoption of brand apps, usage of digital payments. and reduced in-person retail interactions. This has led to customer engagement solutions playing a critical role in helping retail brands master the art of marketing automation with a personalized human touch.

Learnings from the lockdown

While the retail industry saw a significant spike in online sales, it’s difficult to predict if the habit will be long-term.

Let’s take a look at supermarkets

Online grocery services, which was fundamental to a successful lockdown, saw an unprecedented demand. However, with long virtual queues, no delivery slots, delays and missing items, short-term business was good, but it didn’t translate into long-term brand love.

If supermarkets want to up the game, they need to focus on personalization. Imagine if, while waiting for a queue, you’re sent inspirational content or a reminder based on your previous purchase.

A look at retail brands

Fashion brands, on the other hand saw more online orders with people hesitant to try on in-store. Virtual trials may become a thing of the future but in the short-term, curated purchase recommendations and an engaging online shopping experience play a key role in engaging customers.

One trend that stood out was – personalized retailer, and brand content has taken the forefront, and shown this is not the time to stop engagement with customers.

Shift from sales to human messaging

Brands have mostly moved away from sales-focused messaging to more informative, light-hearted or reassuring content – making it more human.

According to a recent Marketing Week survey, 41% of UK shoppers said they engaged at least once a week with a brand or retailer’s mobile app, while 42% via a retailer’s website and 28% via a brand’s website.

Relevance, personalization, and value of content clearly matter to shoppers. This has only been heightened during the pandemic, when many brands have excelled with the level of personalization and relevancy of their content.

Chat apps powered omnichannel communication

Messaging apps, with SMS and Email as a failover have enabled richer, customer engagement.

Many messaging apps offer design “carousels,” which are prebuilt smartphone layouts for displaying retail products. Most importantly, some messaging apps enable customers to purchase goods from menus and make secure digital payments, as well.

Club Comex RCS Campaign example

SMS has been the staple, lightweight communications tool for quickly connecting to customers. The value of SMS (relative to voicemail and email) has been a combination of high open rate, quick responses, and ease of use across smartphones. However, such information tends to be basic, usually constricted to one-way notifications consisting of texts and URL links.

But when used alongside chat apps, you could enhance your engagement with emojis, pictures, videos QR codes, and menus.

The top must have chat apps and channels to help your boost customer engagement include:

WhatsApp — This is the most widely deployed messaging app across the globe. In many markets such as India, Brazil, Mexico, the UK and Italy, up to 95% of smartphone users have WhatsApp installed, making it a must-have.

Apple Business Chat — This app allows rich, private conversations between customers and businesses via the native Messages app. Many brands indicate that the majority of their best customers have Apple devices, and overall usage of Apple Business Chat has increased in 2020 as more customers use virtual means to communicate.

RCS Business Messaging — If you are looking to reach android smartphone users, the value of RCS is that natively and users do not have to download a client, reaching roughly 70% of the global market share.

WeChat — This messaging app is largely confined to users with a Chinese affiliation, and supports payments linked to Chinese banks. WeChat is viewed as the global leader of conversational commerce messaging apps for retail relative to functionality.

Strategies to boost customer engagement post-lockdown

Address your customers’ needs

  • Be empathetic and supportive: Showcase your brand’s values by caring for your customers
  • Be where your customers are: Adopt an omnichannel engagement strategy, and expand home delivery options and contactless options
  • Be mobile first: Migrate customers to digital channels to stay safe and on trend
  • Be agile: React to customer sentiment and proactively engage

Tactical steps based on customer data

Segmentation based on lockdown behavior

Your customers’ shopping habits have changed. It’s time to relook at your customer data and identify those segments.

Source: Kantar UK

Personalize your communication

Once segmented, personalize your messaging as per changed shopping habits. For each channel and segment identified, know the best channel and furthermore best time to send your messaging campaign.

React and adapt with insights

Set campaign goals and analyze customer behavior and sentiment to ensure empowered marketing communications. Understanding the brand journey and buying process for each customer will help you support them with the appropriate messaging.

Navigating through the new normal

So, while in-person communication has reduced, to navigate the new normal retail brands need to empower themselves to humanize their digital interactions.

While it may seem like a lot to do – segmentation, personalization and omnichannel automation – marketers can easily navigate through the retail landscape with an omnichannel powered customer engagement hub such as Moments. Empowering and enabling you to create digital connections at the right moment, with the right message on the right channel.

Boost your omnichannel customer engagement campaigns